This Common Household Item Might Be The Reason You're Not Getting Enough Sleep

In this increasingly hectic day and age, sleep is more important than ever. Experts regularly recommend at least seven hours of it, and if that wasn't nearly impossible on its own for so many people, it needs to be restful sleep as well. You might blame your lack of good sleep on your frequent exposure to blue light via your phone and TV screens, but it's possible that there could be another culprit originating in your laundry room. If your laundry detergent contains lots of chemicals, they could be hanging onto your bed linens, and breathing them in could negatively affect your ability to get rest.

A 2011 study published by Environmental Health Perspectives found that all of the tested scented laundry detergents released some toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. These can contribute to several health problems, including headaches, nausea, and damage to the nervous system. Further, because manufacturers aren't required to list the chemicals present in such fragrances, most people may not know what they're exposing themselves to by using them. In addition to fragrances, sometimes the surfactants required to allow the laundry detergent to mix with water are toxic, and features such as "brighteners" might secretly use bleach — a notoriously toxic substance.

Toxins to avoid in laundry detergents to ensure better sleep

Certain surfactants, usually those containing the suffix "eth" in their names, contain a harmful neurotoxin called 1,4-dioxane. It's often a byproduct of these surfactants rather than one that's intentionally added, meaning manufacturers don't have to list it on their product labels. Naturally, neurotoxins affect the nervous system which could impact your ability to sleep peacefully. To avoid this potentially deadly chemical, look for a laundry detergent without synthetic ingredients.

Most of us already know to avoid too much exposure to items like bleach and formaldehyde, yet these harmful substances are often hidden in chemical laundry detergents as disinfectants and so-called "brighteners." Frankly, you should know when you're cleaning with bleach or using formaldehyde. Both are known to be not only irritating to the skin but also to the lungs. If your skin is itchy, your throat feels scratchy, or you can't breathe from inflamed allergies, your sleep will be disrupted.

However, most toxins from laundry detergents are found in fragrances, which can contain any number of unnamed chemicals, including phthalates to make the scent last longer. Not only are these carcinogenic but they're also known to upset your hormonal balance, which could cause night sweats and headaches. Choose fragrance-free detergents to avoid these dangers completely, and opt for naturally-sourced detergents whenever possible. Eco-friendly brands include Branch Basics, NaturOli, and Thieves, which is infused with essential oil scents. Further, ECOS is also a safer alternative for people on a budget.