Ahhhhh, your bed…
Thoughts of soft sheets and fluffy pillows provide us with a feeling of comfort and relaxation. People (me included) assume that their beds are a hygenic refuge because they wash their sheets once a month. We spend our days walking around and coming in contact with all kinds of suspicious-looking muck and not everyone is inclined to take a shower before bed. The result: our beds are the least hygenic thing we come across day in and day out. Which poses a very important question…What exactly is sleeping in our beds with us each night?
You dirty dog, you…
Consider this: One third of dog owners allow their dogs to sleep in bed with them. “Fido is well kept. I gave him a bath last month.” or “A dog’s mouth is cleaner than its owners.” I’m afraid these are antiquated statements that just aren’t true. We can’t blame ourselves. Cute and cuddly, we believe our animal friends to be the perfect sleeping companion. But ponder this: Dogs and cats step in poop, dirt, trash..you name it..they step in it. Yuck! Not to mention the serious licking that goes along with the settling down on your pillow for the night. Hot summer nights equal tons of animal dander and shedded fur which can cause sinusitis and allergies galore. Parasites and bacteria have been known to nestle into the sheets after a day on your pet’s back. So while we all love a little cuddle time with our pets, we should probably keep them off the bed. I know, say it ain’t so.
Yeah, you too…
We’re no cleaner than our dirty pets. We excrete half a pound of moisture a night. We shed skin scales, sweat up a storm, and cough and sneeze into our pillows nightly. Let’s not forget the grime on our bodies from the day. Believe it or not, feces and urine is frequently a visitor as well. 1 in 10 women and men under the age of 25 wash their sheets only 6 times a year! Ewwww! Just our own filth can cause respiratory illness, fatigue, sinusitis, irritated eyes, and asthma. Not fun!
Ok, now that I’ve totally grossed you out and and probably scared you to death, let me tell you the easy fix….
- Wash your sheets and comforter at least once a week in hot water between 120-140 F, and dry on high.
- Vacuum your mattress at least once a month.
- Don’t forget the pillows. Experts say up to 10% of the weight of an unwashed pillow can be made up of dead skin and mites (sick!). Fungi and dust mites vacation in dirty pillows as well. You can clean your pillows every two weeks by washing them or taking them to the dry cleaners. Every three to four years it’s probably time to purchase a new pillow (Yes! I finally have a good excuse for this).
- Finally, we can’t avoid discussing the mattress. Something we give very little thought to, and yet a major reason why our beds can become toxic and wreak havoc on our health. The majority of mattresses are manufactured with polyurethane foam which has been known to leak volatile organic compounds. This chemical is absorbed through the skin and causes respiratory illness and heart problems. Organic cotton mattresses are a cleaner, greener solution to avoiding these troubling ailments. Be sure to flip your mattresses regularly and frequently clean all stains and air dry in the sun.
Our beds should always be a clean, stress-free escape from the outside world. While sleeping, our bodies get the most repair work done. We boost our immune system, keep fatigue away, and revitalize our mental energy. Just a few changes can greatly increase your chances for a better night’s sleep so you can rest easy.