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Scientists Tell You Why Making Your Bed Is Disgusting — And Bad for Your Health

Scientists Tell You Why Making Your Bed Is Disgusting — And Bad for Your Health

Growing up, I had to make my bed every morning before school, and I absolutely hated it. As soon as I could get away with it, I stopped (much to the chagrin of my mother). Ever since then, I’ve left the bed unmade unless it was clean sheets day or company was coming over.

But now I have a pretty good excuse to give when I’m questioned about leaving my bed in a mess — and vindication for all the years I’ve been stubbornly avoiding the responsibility.

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According to a 2006 study published in the exciting-sounding journal Experimental & Applied Acarology, making your bed (while, admittedly, good for your mental health) makes your bed an extra-comfy home for dust mites.

On average, each bed contains more than a million Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus — the scientific name for dust mites. These tiny critters live in the dark, damp spaces of your mattress and pillows, feeding off of your dead skin cells and pooping (yes, pooping) out an allergen that can trigger asthma-like symptoms.

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When you make your bed in the mornings, you’re trapping millions of dust mites in your bed, protecting them from drying out and dying in the bright daylight and giving them a safe place to eat, poop, and breed. These little guys love being tucked in every morning because it keeps them safe from the sun and alive to continue their disgusting little life cycles the next night.

If, like the lazier among us, you skip making your bed in the morning, you’re saving yourself by exposing the dust mites to the regular atmosphere of your house. Moving air and sun are too harsh for these little creatures. They die, making your bed just a little less gross at the end of the day.

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If after a while you get tired of sleeping on little dust mite corpses, you can sprinkle your mattress with baking soda and then vacuum it every few months to clean out the dead mites and suck up the living ones who have escaped your wrath.

Of course, if you’ve already made friends with the dust mites in your bed, feel free to keep tucking them in every morning. You can also wait a little while after getting up to make the bed instead of doing it right away. Any time you can expose them to the air can help dehydrate them and cause them to start dying. You should also ramp up how often you wash your sheets — but that’s a good idea whether you have a million dust mites or not.

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This information flies in the face of everything we’ve been taught. My whole life I’ve had people telling me that making my bed only had good things to offer me: It starts my day off right, it can lower my stress, and it apparently sets me up to be happier and more successful than I would be if I gave in to my slothful impulses.

Even if we think the news about dust mites is disgusting, it doesn’t cancel out the fact that there are some proven psychological benefits to making your bed every morning. I guess we just have to decide what is more important to us — having a dust mite free bed or giving ourselves a mental leg up before we head off to work or school.

So what do you think? Is making your bed every morning important enough for you to ignore the dust mites in your mattress that are munching on your dead skin cells every day? Or would you prefer to live with a messy-looking, potentially dust mite free place to rest every night?

Featured photo credit: Abbey Hendrickson via flic.kr

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Kathryn Harper

Media Relations Manager

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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.

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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.

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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 Lifehack.org, 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.

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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.

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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 unsplash.com

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