By Raven Fon
Does your morning routine include making your bed? After reading this article, your rise-and-shine ritual might just change.
Most of us were raised being taught to make our beds. It was one of the things that had to be done before going to school, probably right after breakfast. As we grew into adulthood, the lesson stayed with us, “get up, and make your bed.” Even though the deliberate action of tidying up one’s bed every morning can prove beneficial to our mental well-being, it can be damaging to our physical health.
I’m sure you’ve heard of dust mites, unless you have been living under a rock (which very well may contain dust mites). If you have heard of them but don’t know what they really do, let me explain. Dust mites feed off your dead skin cells and perspiration, and can trigger asthma and contribute to allergy issues. Most of these microscopic relatives of spiders live in your bedding, your mattress, and your pillows- over a million of them, in fact. It’s difficult not be grossed out when you think of a million of these invading your personal space at night.
The American Lung Association says, “Dust mites are not parasites; they don’t bite, sting or burrow into our bodies. The harmful allergen they create comes from their fecal pellets and body fragments.” That’s right, dust mites, dust mite poop, and dust mite “parts” are causing you to cough, sneeze, and sniffle. And guess what? When you make your bed, you are helping them to thrive.
Dust mites happily exist in damp, moist environments. When you make your bed as soon as you wake up, you are trapping the warm air and moisture into the bedding, creating a very habitable space for dust mites. Research published in the journal Experimental & Applied Acarology explains that by creating a drier environment, we can decrease the dust mite population in our homes. Specifically, by leaving your bed messy you can reduce asthma and allergen triggers.
As I mentioned before, making your bed does promote a healthy mental state, but many other things do as well. Personally, I only make my bed if I have company coming over and need to tidy the rest of the house as well. Otherwise, I leave it as is. If you are concerned about the dust mite population in your bedroom, consider these two options:
1.) If you simply must make your bed, try doing so as the last thing before leaving the house. Give your sheets some time to dry out from the previous night’s tossing and turning.
2.) Once a month, sprinkle baking soda on your mattress, allow to sit for five minutes, and vacuum off. This helps sanitize your mattress as well as remove those nasty allergens. Also, it’s a good idea to wash your sheets and pillowcases every couple of weeks- more frequently if you live in tropical weather.
If you don’t suffer from asthma or have allergies triggered by dust, then I wouldn’t worry too much about dust mites since they are a part of our lives. If you find yourself coughing, or having trouble breathing while in bed, try leaving your bed a mess for a while, as well as using baking soda as described above.
So remember, the next time someone says you should “make your bed,” tell them “science says otherwise.”