Scientists Reveal Why Making Beds Can Be Harmful to Our Health

Scientists Reveal Why Making Beds Can Be Harmful to Our Health

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.


People who are allergic to dust mites may suffer symptoms that include coughing, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, skin issues, and even asthma. In fact, dust mites are one of the most common causes of childhood asthma around.

How to Reduce Exposure to Dust Mites

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.

Featured photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker via

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Kenny Kline


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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.


3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.


6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.


9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.


Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via

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