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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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 flickr.com

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Kenny Kline

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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