Save Spoons: Don’t Make the Bed!

No, really—it’s healthier!
Untidy beds may keep us healthy

Research sug­gests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unap­peal­ing to house dust mites thought to cause asth­ma and oth­er allergies.

A Kingston Uni­ver­si­ty study dis­cov­ered the bugs can­not sur­vive in the warm, dry con­di­tions found in an unmade bed.

The aver­age bed could be home to up to 1.5 mil­lion house dust mites.

The bugs, which are less than a mil­lime­tre long, feed on scales of human skin and pro­duce aller­gens which are eas­i­ly inhaled dur­ing sleep.
The warm, damp con­di­tions cre­at­ed in an occu­pied bed are ide­al for the crea­tures, but they are less like­ly to thrive when mois­ture is in short­er supply.

‘Small glands’
The sci­en­tists devel­oped a com­put­er mod­el to track how changes in the home can reduce num­bers of dust mites in beds.

Researcher Dr Stephen Pret­love said: “We know that mites can only sur­vive by tak­ing in water from the atmos­phere using small glands on the out­side of their body.

“Some­thing as sim­ple as leav­ing a bed unmade dur­ing the day can remove mois­ture from the sheets and mat­tress so the mites will dehy­drate and even­tu­al­ly die.”

In the next stage of their research, the sci­en­tists are putting mite pock­ets into beds in 36 hous­es around the Unit­ed King­dom to test their com­put­er mod­el and will inves­ti­gate how peo­ple’s dai­ly rou­tines affect mite populations.

Build­ing fea­tures such as heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and insu­la­tion will also be altered to mon­i­tor how the mites cope.

Dr Pret­love said the research had the poten­tial to reduce the £700m spent treat­ing mite-induced ill­ness­es each year in the UK.

“Our find­ings could help build­ing design­ers cre­ate healthy homes and health­care work­ers point out envi­ron­ments most at risk from mites.”

Dr Matt Hallsworth, of the char­i­ty Asth­ma UK, said: ‘House-dust mite aller­gen can be an impor­tant trig­ger for many peo­ple with asth­ma, but is noto­ri­ous­ly dif­fi­cult to avoid.”

Pro­fes­sor Andrew Ward­law, of the British Soci­ety for Aller­gy and Clin­i­cal Immunol­o­gy, agreed.

He said: “Mites are very impor­tant in asth­ma and aller­gy and it would be good if ways were found to mod­i­fiy the home so that mite con­cen­tra­tions were reduced.

“It is true that mites need humid con­di­tions to thrive and can­not sur­vive in very dry (desert like) conditions.

“How­ev­er, most homes in the UK are suf­fi­cient­ly humid for the mites to do well and I find it hard to believe that sim­ply not mak­ing your bed would have any impact on the over­all humidity.”

Sto­ry from BBC NEWS:

Pub­lished: 2005/01/18 00:18:00 GMT

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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