If you're interested in reading more on ideas presented in the article below, I suggest reading Move Your DNA, Expanded Edition. If you'd like movement instruction via video, start with Daily Movement Multivitamin.
I’m always trying to clean up my act, but of utmost priority was getting rid of the mold I found growing underneath pad we were using to sleep on. Oops.
I love floor sleeping for both the firmness of the surface and for the way I have to use my body to get down and back up again. But, I also can’t have mold growing underneath our beds. So, we decided to build futon platforms based on this futon platform available from Big Apple Futon. (Before you ask, no, I don't have plans. We just winged it.)
Because we’re also trying to create a less toxic home, I decided to skip the polyurethane and make my own sealant out of olive oil and beeswax.
I have a friend who is deathly afraid that I will turn crafty and turn KatySays into a crafty blog. I've sworn to my friend that I haven't and I won't. But still, I had a lot of fun chopping this block of beeswax into small pieces,
and adding it to heated oil (for one bed I used sunflower oil and the other olive to make them slightly different colors).
Since I find the small movements necessary for crafts tedious, my favorite part was getting the wax onto the wood.
The application process was one of the most challenging movement sessions I’ve had in a long time. Think four hours of different squats and arm-reaches, outside in the sun, kids running about the place. It was grand.
In the comment section of a post I wrote about transitioning to sleeping without a mattress, someone had written something about the off-gassing of the pad I was using. I googled "flame retardants mattresses" and HOLY CRAP. I had no idea about the research on flame-retardants and that they’re found in children and in breast-milk, and are pretty much bad news. (Unless you’re on fire, then I imaging they sound pretty great.) This is just another reason I'm glad our home is furniture (meaning couch and tv-watching chair) free. Furniture is lousy with flame retardants. If you were looking for a reason to go furniture-free, read Flame Retardants Linked to Lower IQs, Hyperactivity in Children. I know, I'm just a flame-retardant free freak. (Inside joke.)
So new objective: find a new mattress that was both thin and firm, as well as chemical-free. We found cotton and wool futon pads from White Lotus Home and now we have these pads up on our futon platforms.
How's it going? Well I definitely preferred sleeping on something really thin and actually on the floor, but I feel like I made a good tradeoff for less chemical and mold exposure. You could easily sleep on one of these mattresses directly on the floor, but you would need to be diligent about getting it up off the floor every day for airflow. If it was just me, and not a family of four, I imagine I'd be sleeping on the floor and rolling it up each day.
But wait, there's more.
Around this time, the huz and I were trying to figure out how to get to bed earlier and stop us from working late (or mindlessly surfing the net). We decided to put our wireless router on a timer that clicked it off at a pre-set time every night. I didn’t realize he had already done this when, after a few days of crazy dreams, I mentioned them. And he agreed that he to had very dynamic bouts of dreaming. Then he mentioned that he had put the timer up a few days beforehand.
There haven't been m(any?) studies on sleeping in a “constant WiFi” environment and dream qualities, although there have been studies on sleep position and geomagnetic activity and how they affect dreams. To be honest, I'd never even considered that my WiFi could be affecting my sleep until I did a literature search as saw that it indeed does (you'll find links to some articles at the end of this post). It’s been two months since we went Wi-Fi free at night and while I haven’t bothered to quantify/qualify my dreams further than what I did the first week, I can say that I am sleeping much more heavily through the night. That is, I used to awaken easily and early—now, when my alarm goes off at 5:30am (my magical walking time)—I’m still sleeping heavily.
Sleep quality aside, putting a timer on electronics decreases screen time, saves energy, consumes less fuel and saves money. There's nothing to lose and many things to gain. And so, happy ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZs!
P.S. I also made these pseudo-"nutellas" for a baby shower but I swear I'm not into crafts and this will never be a craft-blog. The end.
2018 UPDATE: Despite our best efforts, we still developed mold between the wool mattresses and wood frames. We really need to pick up our beds every day if we’re not on high mattresses in our damp climate. So we’ve changed things up again! We’ve now changed to bedrolls that we have to hang daily (i.e. move even more for our sleep). We also moved our sleeping room to the smallest room, and we moved our kids’ play room into the larger, much warmer room. Bonus--this gives us TWO open rooms every day, creating some much appreciated movement-friendly space in our small home. Once again, what we call minimalism could just as easily be thought of as maximalism.
I'm listing just some of the Sleep/EMF research links and paper titles here; search “sleep and EMF” at scholar.google.com (not Google.com) to read more. Also, pay attention to the doses used in many of these studies (e.g. 30 minutes before bed). What's your exposure to WiFi look like in minutes per day? Before bed? Just asking.
- Stimulation of the brain with radiofrequency electromagnetic field pulses affects sleep-dependent performance improvement. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23482083
- Exposure to pulsed high‐frequency electromagnetic field during waking affects human sleep EEG. http://journals.lww.com/neuroreport/Abstract/2000/10200/Exposure_to_pulsed_high_frequency_electromagnetic.12.aspx
- Electromagnetic fields, such as those from mobile phones, alter regional cerebral blood flow and sleep and waking EEG. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2869.2002.00314.x/full
- Effects of mobile phone emissions on human brain activity and sleep variables. http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09553000210132298
- The effect of electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones on human sleep. http://journals.lww.com/neuroreport/Abstract/2005/11280/The_effect_of_electromagnetic_fields_emitted_by.21.aspx