Part 2: Managing Stimulants 1.0. Indoor Air Environment.
Are you aware of the risk of disease that common indoor air pollutants can cause? If your answer was no, you are in the majority. Most people are unaware that these dangers even exist.
When it comes to virus or viral infections, temperature and humidity levels play an important role in infection growth. This is why viruses like the common flu spread differently according to seasonality and various geographical climate. The general rule being lower temperature and high relative humidity are associated with higher virus activity. Bringing to light an interesting dilemma where healthy sleep is concerned, as lower temperatures and increased humidity levels are recommended for deep sleep to occur.
HOW TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
Allergens, toxins, and potential viral infections will all have a negative impact on sleep, so the question becomes what do you do to maintain a healthy sleep environment when it seems we are facing even greater threats now than ever before. To effectively create your healthy sleep environment it is important to address each stimulant individually.
VIRAL INFECTION & SLEEP
Viruses are the one stimulant that thrives in what we define as an ideal sleep environment, which makes it important to tackle this stimulant first. Backed by scientific research, the most tried and true method to eliminate viruses in the air is through high-efficiency particulate air filters or HEPA filters. HEPA filters are proven to be able to remove particles from the air that are the size of virus droplets.
You can incorporate HEPA filters into your home as a part of your overall HVAC system or you can use portable air purifiers. When we made the decision to come back into the office as a team after lockdown, we added portable HEPA filter units as a protocol to keep the office safe. These units are especially important in your sleep environment where you are at rest for 6 to 8 hours and relying on quality sleep for your daily recovery. Important in selecting an air purifier is considering the size of the room and the clean air delivery rate. Most manufacturers will display recommended room sizes and air exchange rates in their manuals. Some systems will integrate additional measures such as UV lights, which may contribute to ozone production.
Tackling the viral infection part of the indoor air quality, as concerning as the pandemic has been, is the easier part of cleaning your indoor air. Using a HEPA filter also solves the issues of dust and micro-particles that may affect respiratory health.
VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCs)
The most challenging stimulant to combat in your environment are VOCs and toxins that regularly emit from your household products, and specifically, the highest risk of experiencing these stimulants comes from your mattress.
Why is your mattress the one item that introduces the highest levels of VOCs to your household? Simply put, mattresses contain higher densities of chemical foams than most other household furniture, with the added issue that your body’s largest organ, your skin, is in direct contact with your mattress while you sleep.
The off-gassing of mattresses are stimulants that increase the activity of your central nervous system which is associated with the effectiveness of restorative sleep. The key to restorative sleep is to reduce the activity of the central nervous system while you are asleep which puts your brain into recovery mode and activates the body’s nightly cleansing of toxins. If you are actively introducing these stimulants via your mattress, your central nervous system never gets the opportunity to release the toxins you encountered during your daily activities.
Ideally, your body will go through its nightly cleansing and the central nervous system will begin to activate as your body knows it is close to waking time. This deep REM sleep is what assures the most effective recovery.
THE IDEAL SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
Your ideal sleep environment will address the elimination of all stimulants to maximize the central nervous system’s slow activity throughout your sleep cycles, this is what we accomplish at Essentia.
There are great dangers associated with chronic exposure to indoor air toxins that reach far beyond interrupting and reducing the effectiveness of sleep recovery. We are learning that poor indoor air quality is increasingly associated with several gastrointestinal diseases suggesting a possible association between air quality and the human gut microbiome. Many of these effects remain unexplored with very little research being allocated to this, however, more institutions are recognizing the vast negative health impacts related to indoor air toxins and are beginning to research these effects.
At Essentia, our research is clear that clean air contributes to healthy sleep, and this is at the core of all our products.