Apparently everything from our mattresses to our sheets could be making us sick...
Your bed may seem like the safest place in the whole world – but according to science, it could be responsible for a whole host of health problems, from aching joints to chronic colds.
Bed specialist Dreams commissioned a scientific study that analysed samples of eight-year-old mattresses – and found that disturbing levels of bacteria, yeasts and moulds live in the material.
Lovely news, right?
Apparently, the microscopic particles we regularly share our bed with can be responsible for a number of health problems, including backache, shortness of breath, chronic rhinitis, allergies and infections.
Dr Lisa Ackerley, the University Professor and environmental hygiene expert who oversaw the study, said: ‘Most people would be rather surprised by the things you can find in an old mattress. Mould spores and bacteria build up over the years and although invisible, you could be breathing in these harmful spores at night.’
It turns out that repetitively cleaning our sheets and pillows won’t do a thing to help, either.
‘Due to the amount of human contact with the average mattress, it’s inevitable that microbes and unwanted guests will develop over time,’ Dr Ackerley added. ‘People tend to focus on cleaning the things they can see – pillows and sheets, but the mattress itself can be a hotbed of potential illness.’
But don’t despair – apparently there are five things we should do to improve the health of our bed, and in turn, the quality of our sleep and health:
1. Open bedroom windows when possible and leave the duvet pulled back for a few hours after waking up, to allow the bed to cool faster and restrict the growth of mould and bacteria, not just in the mattress, but around the window themselves.
2. Put bedding on a hotter wash, as higher temperatures kill germs and dust mites more effectively.
3. Replace your mattress every eight years.
4. Use a mattress protector to reduce the amount of bacteria absorbed by the mattress – plus, you can wash it too.
5. Check your bed frame twice a year, to make sure your mattress is sitting on the bed properly.
So there you have it – if you constantly suffer from back pains, colds and coughs, it may be your favourite place in the world that’s causing it. Time for that mattress check-up…