It’s one of those habits that our parents try to instill in us at a young age, teaching us as young children that each morning the ‘right’ thing to do is to make your bed before you set out to face the day. Well, I’m not one to say that your mom was wrong BUT – Scientists are now saying that not making your bed may actually be better for your health!
The discovery focuses on the existence of dust mites, microscopic bugs that are regularly found in the dust that accumulates around our home. These little creatures aren’t rare, by any means. In fact, approximately 4 out of every 5 American homes has detectable levels of dust mite allergens in at least one bed within their home. As if the idea of these bugs crawling throughout your bed wasn’t bad enough, the allergen responsible for triggering allergies and asthma actually comes from their fecal matter and body fragments.
Dust mite allergies may sound like nothing more than a slight irritation or annoyance, often associated with a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, cough, facial pressure or nasal congestion, but in some cases, it is much more serious. In these more severe situations, dust mite allergens may lead to chest tightness or pain, and difficulty breathing.
While there are certain steps that we can take to limit or prevent an accumulation of dust mites in the home, the most obvious being simply to maintain a clean home, new data shows that making your bed may not be part of the solution. In fact, making your bed may actually be encouraging dust mites to take up residence where you sleep.
Dr. Stephen Pretlove and his team out of Kingston University developed a computer model designed to track how different changes that we make within our homes may impact the number of dust mites in our beds. The mites thrive in optimal conditions, specifically in warm, damp environments. Therefore, any changes that alter these conditions can, in turn, send the mites looking for a different location to call home.
“We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body. Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die,” Dr. Pretlove explained to BBC. When we make our bed right after getting up in the morning, we trap the dampness inside created simply by sleeping there.
With an estimated 1.5 million dust mites in your bed every night, it would make sense to take every step possible to try to cut down on this number! So, hold off on making your bed, and don’t slack off on washing your sheets – at least once a week to kill all the germs and remove any unnecessary debris.