New year, new you. We here this cliche a lot with dieting in January with resolutions. But what exactly does a “new you” entail with healthier living? It seems more and more we see organic and natural in our daily products including skincare, food, and beverages. But it also includes organic sleeping agents like mattresses, pillows, and sheets.
Looking up a simple definition of organic is anything relating to or derived from living matter. In food or farming, it is produced without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial ingredients.
When we take care of our whole self, our whole body is rewarded. Healthy sleep leads to better cognitive and emotional behavior along with physical care for our heart and mind. Exercise fads go in waves with the newest and shiny trends attracting our attention. In January, we all sign up for cycling class, Zumba, or aerial fitness. But what goes into our bodies is where we need to start.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Standards Board, “‘organic’ is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act.” For USDA certified organic foods, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, plus additives are addressed. “Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.”
The USDA organic standards require strict regulations on multi-ingredient food without artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. According to the USDA, “processed organic foods may contain some approved non-agricultural ingredients, like enzymes in yogurt, pectin in fruit jams, or baking soda in baked goods.”
Jaclyn London, a registered dietician, provides a helpful look into decoding USDA's labels in an article from Good Housekeeping. "For a product to carry the USDA organic label, a third party must verify at least 95% of the ingredients as organic. The phrase 'made with organic ingredients' means at least 70% of the ingredients used counted as organic." Again, it goes back to the production of the product versus the food itself that makes it organic.
Follow SMART Goals
- First, look at your grocery budget to make certain you can swing an organic food budget. It costs more for organic choices because it costs more on the production side. Set goals why you want to make a change.
- Look for the green USDA Organic seal on products. Without this seal, it is not considered organic. You can then review your recipes to see how organic fits.
- After reviewing your budget and taking inventory of the USDA Organic selection at your local grocer, see if you can make an attainable plan. Ease into organic living without starting from scratch. Spices are a good way to phase out when empty with a shift to organic.
- You cannot eat organic 100% of the time. If you are invited to a family or friend’s house, do not bring your own food unless you have strict dietary restrictions. Instead, embrace the opportunity to teach others by complementing the host and asking for their recipe. Try it at home using organic ingredients.
- Time-sensitive. There is no easy way to change your entire eating and drinking habits. Start small and set goals along the way. If you are eliminating dairy to start out, celebrate the win and move on to the next group like meat or grains.
Your first natural step in switching to organic food is to make a grocery list and menu plan for the week. Take the time to plan everything out so you are not overbuying. It also is wise to not waste your current pantry items so try eliminating what is in the cabinets first.
Move On to the Bedroom
The Sleep Foundation states “to qualify as an organic mattress, the bed should contain organic and/ or natural materials with reputable certifications. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) are considered the leading certifications for organic components.”
How long ago did you purchase your mattress? Pillows? Sheets? It may be time for a fresh beginning. So where do you begin searching?
A popular mattress choice when trying to become healthier is looking for natural materials like latex or cotton. However, Our Sleep Guide suggests mattresses like Avocado Green Mattress. They not only use natural materials but are also organically certified. Crib mattresses are available as well with Avocado’s product line.
Pillows can be a tricky choice because there are so many options and so many types of back or neck issues. There is a choice for all sizes and sleep ailments with organic materials including latex, birch, and charcoal.
Weighted blankets have been all the rage for anxiety and 2020 left a lot of anxiety to carry over in 2021. Organic weighted blankets are made of velvet, hand knitting, cotton, or glass beads. Though the materials may sound strange, each is made with the highest quality certified organic products in mind. Same with sheets with satin and cotton options.
For now, the safest bet is to do your research. Take this guide and start reviewing what is in your cabinets and in your bedroom to shift towards a healthier lifestyle for your whole body. Make a budget, follow SMART goals, and journal what changes you notice.
At the Alaska Sleep Clinic we diagnose and treat thousands of cases of sleep apnea every year. For a free 10 minute phone consultation with a sleep expert click the link below and be on your way to getting quality sleep every night so you feel energized everyday.