Is my Bed Making me Sick?

Most of us love our bed. At the end of a long day it’s a sanctuary where we can retreat to, relax and recuperate. But all is not as it seems, we are not alone as we slumber. There’s a whole lot of bad things in there with us. When you ask the question, is my bed making me sick, the answer is, quite possibly. Also, as you move when you sleep, these bad things move around in the air and you breathe them in. So, what’s in there?

Dust Mite Feces

It’s an awful thought, but it’s quite common. According to the American Lung Association, four out of five homes in the USA have at least one bed infected with dust mites. The thought of dust mites is worse than the reality because they aren’t really a problem in themselves. The real problem is their feces as it is highly allergenic.

 

is my bed making me sick

 

 

Even if you’re not allergic to their droppings, it’s still possible to be affected by them. If you breathe it in, you may find you’re irritated by it. The effects are similar to when pepper gets up your nose or into your eyes. If you get that feeling when you’re in bed, breathing in dust mite crap may be causing it!

Getting rid of these little beasts isn’t easy, but there are some things you can do to reduce them. Keep humidity down in the room and limit places where they can grow. Have less furniture in the room, perhaps get rid of curtains and cover the mattress and pillows.

Keeping bedding clean is important so hot wash it at least once a week. Carpets can also cause a problem, so keep them cleaned or better still, get rid of them. If you have a wooden or laminate floor, damp mop it often.

Mold and Fungi

It gets worse! Yes mold and fungi can be alive and kickin’ in your bed. Bet you didn’t realise you were sharing your bed with that! Well there’s possibly plenty of mold, fungi and bacteria contaminants in there and what’s more, most of it is smaller than the diameter of your hair.

As it’s all so tiny it might not seem so bad, but there was some research which studied 10 pillows aged between 1½ and 20 years old which were still in regular use. Now you’re probably thinking, a 20 year old pillow still in regular use? It does sound a bit extreme, even after 5 years you’d be forgiven for thinking it’d had its day.

Swatches and vacuumed dust was taken from each of the pillows. The results showed the number of species which were isolated from each pillow varied between four and sixteen, the higher numbers being from synthetic pillows. Collectively they found 47 species of fungi!

As you might expect, the conclusion was that given the amount of time we sleep and the fact that pillows are close to our airways there was important implications for those with respiratory disease and especially asthma and sinusitis. The solution to this problem could be to have an air purifier with a HEPA filter next to your bed. Oh, and if your pillow is 20 years old, bin it!

Sweat

Nice thought! Well apparently there’s a lot of it in your bed. We spent around one third of our lives in bed so it easy to see why the perspiration gathers there. But how much? Do you really want to know? OK, you asked – it’s thought you can sweat out up to 26 gallons a year into your bed. If you have some kind of skin infection such as staph, which is easily passed on, you could infect your partner.

It’s difficult to stop the sweating happening. Of course some people are more prone to it than others, but we all perspire, it’s natural, although 26 gallons seems a bit much! To be accurate, a lot of it is exhaled rather than absorbed by your mattress, but even so! It’s not so much about being clean, although desirable, but we sweat whether we’re clean or dirty. The best thing is to keep the room temperature as cool as is comfortable and wash your bedding on a hot wash once a week.

Letting Your Pet into the Bed

How many of us say, when we first get a dog, cat or any other pet, that we won’t let it get on the bed? How long does that last? It really isn’t a good idea to let it into the bed, but you know that don’t you?

If you do let it in it might cause you some problems, particularly if you’re allergic to the stuff that flakes off them, the dander. Then there’s the saliva and their urine. Yes I know your pet is a clean pet, but it’ll still deposit some of that “stuff” into your bed and that could open you up to problems.

There’s a simple solution to this problem – keep them off the bed! Easier said than done, we love our pets and see them as part of the family, so why wouldn’t they be allowed into the bed? Well the alternative is to vacuum the mattress and pillows at least once a week. That will also help to lessen and bed mites and fungus too.

So there you have it, the answer to, is my bed making me sick. It might be the place you go to when you’re feeling ill, but you want to make sure it doesn’t make it worse when you get there!

Source: CNN, Wiley Online Library