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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 June 13, 2019

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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