LifestylePrevent bacteria from multiplying in your bed

Prevent bacteria from multiplying in your bed

Bedding that hasn't been changed for a long time is a habitat for mites and their droppings.
Bedding that hasn't been changed for a long time is a habitat for mites and their droppings.
Images source: © Getty Images | Riska

3:57 PM EDT, October 29, 2023

To get a good night's sleep, it's essential to pay attention to your bedding. Regular cleanups and maintenance can help prevent bacteria and mites from multiplying. Few people are aware of some basic rules to keep their bedding clean.

Most people understand the health risks of not changing bedding frequently. Dust, dirt, and dead skin cells accumulate on it, providing an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. As we spend a large amount of time in bed, it's paramount to follow some crucial guidelines to ensure better sleep and well-being throughout the day. Even if maintaining our sleeping environment seems like a chore, it's a small sacrifice for our health.

You should change your bedding more frequently than you think

While there's no better feeling than diving into clean, freshly washed sheets, the constant process of washing and ironing them can be tedious. Sheets take a while to dry and finding space to hang them can be challenging for some. It's best not to emulate the one-third of the British population who only wash their bedding once a year, according to a 2020 study conducted by Hammond Furniture. Bedding and sheets should be changed at least once a week, or at most every two weeks, and subsequently washed (at a temperature of 140-194 degrees F) and ironed to eliminate all microbes.

Impacts of dirty bedding on health – recognize these symptoms?

Infrequent changing of bedding can create a breeding ground for mites and their feces, which can be harmful to health and trigger allergic reactions. If you experience nasal itching, throat irritation, burning eyes, sneezing, or rash, it might be due to infrequently changed bedding (and possibly an allergic reaction, which should be checked by a doctor as soon as possible). Choosing bedding made of natural materials is also beneficial as it's better for the skin and easier to clean.

Skip making your bed in the morning for a healthier lifestyle

Contrary to popular belief, it's not a healthy habit to make your bed immediately in the morning. Research conducted by Dr. Stephen Pretlove demonstrated that in houses where beds are regularly made, dust and mites are more prevalent compared to those where residents occasionally do not make their beds. After a night's sleep, bedding remains warm and possibly damp if you sweat a lot overnight. When folded in such a state, especially if covered with a bedspread, it fosters an ideal environment for bacteria and mites.

It's best to make your bed at least an hour after waking up. An excellent practice is to air your bedding in the fresh air before folding it. Half an hour should suffice. This way, you can eliminate a significant number of harmful microbes and keep your bedding smelling fresh.

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