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The Bedroom – Healthy Air, Healthy Sleeping

There’s more to healthy air than having it free of chemical pollutants and low in dust.  Healthy air should contain charged particles just the way Mother Nature makes it.  These charged particles are called ions. Ions are molecules of the various gases in the air that have been converted to an ion (ionized) by the addition or removal of an electron. 

Positive ions are created by the energetic radiation from the Earth, decaying radon in the air and cosmic radiation.  Negative ions are made by the lightning in the atmosphere, cosmic rays, radioactive decay in the earth and evaporating water (water falls, pounding surf at the ocean).

Normal fair-weather ion concentrations are 200 to 800 negative and 250 to 1500 positive ions per cubic centimeter of air.  Several hours before a storm, positive ion concentration will increase dramatically, sometimes exceeding 5000 ions per cubic centimeter of air. During a storm, negative ions increase to several thousand while positive ions decrease, often to below 500.

Outside, natural wind events distort the natural ion balance and generate a heavy load of positive ions at the expense of negative ions.  These wind events occur in regions around the world: the Santa Anas in California, the Chinook in Canada, the Sirroco in Italy, the Mistral in France, the Foehn in Germany.

It is well known that these winds and their positive ion charge produce psychological changes in people: increased anxiety, irritability, lethargy, and decreased feelings of well-being.  On the other hand people feel energized, positive, and have an enhanced sense of well-being being when they are at the ocean, a waterfall, or after a thunderstorm and experience more negative charged ions. 

The ion balance can be distorted inside buildings by man-made materials and forced air heating and cooling systems because they serve to discharge the negative ions. This leads to air that is low in total ionization and dominated by positive ions.  Similar psychological effects are seen inside buildings as during these wind events.  Unfortunately, the distorted ionization is often permanent rather than temporary.

In your bedroom synthetic bedding, curtains, carpeting, the forced air heating system, even painted walls contribute to the distortion of natural air ionization.  This distorted condition could be responsible for psychological changes as well as sinus issues.  One study reported that children sleeping with stuffed toys made with synthetic ‘fur’ had sinus issues until the toys were removed or neutralized.  Dressing the toy in cotton clothing can neutralize the positive charge of the toy. 

Obviously, we would all be well served to drastically reduce the amount of synthetic materials in our sleeping space.  Using 100% cotton or linen sheets , solid-surface floors with natural-fiber throw rugs, 100% cotton or natural fiber bedclothes, and furry creatures made with natural fiber are solutions to start with. Finally, keeping the windows open will let in what only Mother Nature makes so well - fresh air and cross-ventilation.