Instead of making the bed every morning, we might be better off leaving the blankets wadded up at the foot of the mattress.
That’s because a neatly made bed provides a haven for dust mites, which can cause allergies and asthma or exacerbate asthma symptoms.
The news first broke in 2006, when a study suggested that dust mites thrive in a neatly made bed. The topic was recently revived when media discovered that researchers at Kingston University in London had concluded dust mites don’t fare well in unmade beds.
Why are the microscopic bugs so averse to a messy mattress?
Dust mites need a warm, moist environment to survive, and our sleeping bodies snuggled under the covers every night provide just that. If we hop out of bed when the covers are still slightly damp from our bodies, then pull up the blankets and tuck in the corners, we’ve just trapped all that heat and moisture underneath the covers. And that’s prime real estate for the nearly 1.5 million dust mites found in the average bed.
In contrast, allowing the bed to air dry creates less hospitable conditions for the tiny bugs. That’s good news for the many people who suffer health problems as a result of dust mites, which feed on (spoiler alert: this is gross) old skin cells that have flaked off our bodies and produce a substance that can trigger allergies.
While the idea of tiny bugs eating your dead skin might sound disgusting, it happens all the time.
There are several steps you can take to help prevent mites from thriving and reduce your exposure in the process.
Don’t make the bed. If you really and truly can’t stand to let the bed remain unmade all day long, at least allow the mattress to air dry while you’re getting ready for work, and make tidying the bed the last thing you do before leaving the house. But ideally? It’s best to just learn to live with a messy bed.
Wash sheets regularly. Aim for every other week at a minimum, and be sure to use hot water.
Wash pillows, too. At least once every six months, send down or fiberfill pillows through the washing machine. It’s also a good idea to replace pillows entirely every two years.
Keep the mattress clean. Make it a habit to vacuum and air out the mattress every time you wash the sheets (If that feels like too much work, then make sure to clean the mattress at least a few times each year).
Invest in a dust mite cover. These plastic covers are fairly inexpensive and can help ensure that dust mites don’t find their way into the mattress.
Choose a metal or wooden bed frame. Mites can’t live inside these substances. Avoiding cloth headboards will eliminate some dust mite habitat.
Pick the right mattress. Some mattress brands are better at accounting for dust mites than others. Whenever you’re in the market for a new mattress, do your research by reading reviews and asking questions of retailers that specifically pertain to dust mites.
Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.
But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special — one that will bring you closer together.
The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.
While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!
While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!
If You’re Staying In
Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.
If You Want to Get Away
Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!
New & Exciting Experiences
Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling – experience.
Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
Experience white water rafting.
Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food making skills, and enjoy something new!
Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.
Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!