The Attenborough effect has made us question how eco-friendly the way we live is. But if you've long ago switched to a reusable coffee cup, recycle everything that goes in the bin, and switched to a green energy supplier, you may be – or perhaps should be – starting to consider what the next steps might be in your quest to becoming more environmentally-conscious at home.
The smart money is on creating an eco-friendly bedroom. Why? Well, while the changes you make can give you a more energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly home, some can also help you improve your sleep quality, too. And one, tiny change might even improve your sex life. Win, win.
The good news is that you don't have to spend too much or blow your budget all at once to make eco-friendly changes to your bedroom; small changes can make a difference – we're skipping home improvements such as double-glazing here, obviously.
The obvious place to start is with a mattress. If you're looking to replace yours and have the cash set aside, this is the place to start. There are plenty of eco-friendly mattresses on offer, and the good news is that they are no more expensive than traditional mattresses of comparable quality. The Silentnight Mirapocket Eco Comfort Breathe 2000, for example, has 150 recyclable bottles as one of its filling materials. The sides feature a mesh strip to keep the inner materials freshly aerated, so it's cool to sleep even on hot nights, on despite its plastic content. Good to know if you're an eco-conscious but sweaty sleeper.
If yours is a smaller budget, investing in eco-friendly bedding is one of the cheapest and easiest exchanges that can be made in your mission to become an eco-sleeper. One of the newest on the market, and one of our top duvet picks this year is The Fine Bedding Company's Eco Duvet (opens in new tab). It's made from 100 per cent PET plastic bottles – which would otherwise have spent centuries sat in landfill – in an award-winning eco-friendly factory which uses 100 per cent renewable energy.
Like the mattress made with recycled bottles, you'd never know this 10.5 tog double duvet is formed from 120 plastic bottles; it's soft to the touch, with a light and fluffy fibre filling. Plus, it's machine washable, breathable, and hypoallergenic. Great for eco-conscious allergy sufferers, too.
Next budget-friendly eco-stop: the natural air purifiers that are house plants. Studies have suggested that house plants have the capacity to remove harmful gases from the air, as well as successfully converting carbon dioxide – which, in excess, contributes to global warming – into oxygen.
So, as well as improving the quality of the air that you're breathing while you sleep, adorning your bedroom with house plants will help reduce the presence of excess carbon dioxide, slowing the rate of global warming. Every little helps, after all. Bear in mind that, as a general rule, the bigger the leaves, the better, so make opting for big, leafy varieties your priority.
If you use candles to scent your bedroom, consider a switch to soy-based alternatives, or essential oils, which are free of harmful chemicals found (unfortunately) in many of our favourite candle brands.
Unbeknown to many candle lovers, burning paraffin-based candles not only pollutes the air with nasties, but puts users at the risk of a known carcinogen, so this simple switch will be as beneficial for your health as it is for the planet.
In terms of our favourite essential oils scents, the following come recommended for sleep spaces in essential oil diffusers:
- Lavender – if you're looking for a zen-inducing fragrance to help you drift, seamlessly, to sleep.
- Rose – a natural aphrodisiac. We'll say no more.
- Jasmine – calming and relaxing, this fragrance is perfect for those who need help to unwind.
- Marjoram – the herb of happiness, this is the fragrance for those with a low mood than needs remedying.
While it can be difficult to resist the temptation of cheap, fast-fashion furniture, our attitude towards the disposable – much of which is made from materials that are not responsibly sourced – needs to change if we're serious about reducing our environmental impact.
In the bedroom, this could mean upcycling old furniture or opting for furniture that's vintage or second hand. eBay and Facebook Marketplace are a great starting point for online shoppers, while there are a whole host of goodies to be found at charity shops, car boot sales and specialist second-hand stores
If you are looking to buy new, this should mean ensuring that furniture is made from materials that are sustainably sourced. Look out for the following:
- FSC approved – wood with this accreditation is sustainably sourced and harvested, with high-quality working conditions for employees.
- Recycled materials – it's not uncommon to find glassware, fabrics and other household bits and bobs that are made completely from recycled materials. This not only reduces the energy required during production, but prevents materials from going to landfill.
- Bamboo – thanks to the speed at which it grows, bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials available. So, if its possible to opt for bamboo furniture and accessories, it's recommended that you do so.
Swapping to LED lights is the next thing you can do – and the final in today's easy-switch list. LED bulbs require less energy than fluorescent or incandescent varieties, meaning you can enjoy the atmosphere created by everything from fairy lights to bedside lamps, with decreased reliance on energy.
Conscience clear; sleep quality improved.
- Find more eco info on our dedicated hub page