When my husband Todd first started to exhibit electro-hypersensitivity (EHS) symptoms, he experienced terrible muscle and joint pains, like a combination of severe fibromyalgia and arthritis. It took us some time to figure out that the bulk of the reactions were due to exposure to EMFs. Part of what helped us figure it out was our bed. Although Todd experienced some pain during the day, every night right after he got into bed, the pains would become excruciating. He was having to take some pretty strong medication in order to be able to fall asleep. Night after night, he writhed around for hours until the drugs kicked in and he succumbed to a fitful sleep.
One night, although exhausted, Todd jumped out of bed after being in terrible pain for a couple of hours. Pacing around the house to find refuge, he finally lied down exhausted on the floor of our breakfast room. Within minutes, he fell asleep. The next night, it happened again. After being in pain for awhile in bed, Todd left and went to lie in the breakfast room and fell asleep. He said that although he still had some pain, it was substantially better sleeping on the floor in the breakfast room. What was it about our bedroom that was causing him pain?
We had noticed a couple of years prior that we both reacted in various ways when exposed to chemicals, so our home was already chemical free. We used only natural green products for cleaning, and we kept several air purifiers in the home with deep carbon media to filter out chemicals. Although our bed was several years old and well de-gassed from chemicals, we had lined it with a carbon sheet to absorb any residual chemical odors and also had several zeolite packs in every room to absorb any stray chemicals. Our bedroom was very green and clean from a chemical standpoint. So what was it that was causing Todd pain?
Although we knew about the dangers of too much or prolonged EMF exposure, we didn’t pay much attention to EMF fields other than avoiding wireless technology. We had wired systems for our phone and internet. After some brainstorming and trying to figure out the problem with the master bedroom, we wondered whether the circuit breaker box that was on the other side of the wall from the master bedroom had anything to do with Todd’s pain. All of the wiring in the house terminated at the box, so there was a large concentration of wiring in the master bedroom ceiling and in the wall a couple of feet from the head of the bed.
We ended up purchasing various meters to measure the EMFs around the home and determined that the master bedroom did indeed have higher EMF readings than the other rooms in the home. We dragged our mattress into the breakfast room, which happened to be in the corner of the house furthest from the master bedroom. However, strangely, much of Todd’s pain returned when sleeping on the mattress when compared to sleeping on the floor. Trying to find answers, I combed the internet for terms related to EMFs and beds. I found my answer in an article in Scientific American, which talks about how the modern coil-spring mattress is a perfect antenna for electromagnetic waves.
The article gives compelling arguments regarding a correlation between sleeping on coil-spring mattresses and metal beds and cancer rates. The article cites a “2007 study in Sweden conducted between 1989 and 1993 that revealed a strong link between the incidence of melanoma and the number of FM and TV transmission towers covering the area where the individuals lived.” Although the strength of the EMFs from the towers are fairly weak, the researchers discovered that they are being amplified by metal beds. 1
According to the researchers, Hallberg and Johansson, “Horizontally polarised radiation emitted from western-type FM broadcasting towers may interfere with a human body at night during sleep. This is a logical consequence of wavelengths normally used for FM and TV broadcasting. A metal-containing mattress may act as a half-wave antenna.”
The researchers also found that in Japan where metal beds are not popular, and which uses “somewhat lower frequency for their FM-radio, including bandwidths of 76–93MHz,” the cancer rates are only a fraction of that in the U.S. or European countries. This means that if you sleep on a metal bed or coil springed mattress, especially in a “so-called developed [country] currently using Western FM bandwidths of 87–108MHz,” you are basically sleeping on an FM/TV broadcast antenna. 2
With a better understanding of what was going on with the bed, Todd vowed to not use the metal coil mattress again. As we wanted to take the time to properly research a healthier replacement bed and save up adequate funds, Todd spent the next few months sleeping on the floor. It was not easy for him as it happened to be winter, so he did his best to sleep on multiple layers of blankets on the cold concrete-slab floor. Although he was cold each night, his nightly excruciating pain subsided. Over the next few months we researched bed options. We eventually ordered a wooden platform bed frame and a mattress made of wool and organic cotton, which took an additional couple of months to arrive after placing the order.
The new wool bed felt very expensive to us at the time, especially because it was an unexpected expense we hadn’t really had time to budget for. But in comparison, this new bed was in fact cheaper than the metal coil spring mattress it replaced. But the real cost of our old bed was much higher than we could have imagined. With it’s metal coil springs, it truly was an EMF antenna – and we were sleeping on it every night.
The body does it’s repair and detox work at night, so it is so important to give your body a clean environment to recuperate. And to top it off, most people spend about a third of their lives sleeping. So we feel that in order to get the best sleep possible, the bedroom should have no chemicals, no noise, no light and no EMFs. We treat our bedroom as a sanctuary so we may get the best night sleep we can.
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