There are few things more universally recommended by parents and productivity experts than making your bed in the morning.
It makes you look like less of a slob, and gives the room a “complete” vibe before your scramble out the door.
But according to a 2006 study recently cited by the Loop, taking the time to make your bed doesn’t only help your peace of mind, it also makes a cosy, comfortable home for Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, better known as dust mites.
There are a mind-boggling 1.5 million dust mites — each .02 millimetres long — in any given bed.
They survive on moisture that collects in the air, as well as by snacking on the skin cells that slough off of you while you sleep. Their microscopic poo is an allergen, triggering breathing problems like asthma.
And an unmade bed is less hospitable to the little creatures.
“We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body,” Kingston University professor Stephen Pretlove said in a statement. “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.”
If you must make that bed, do so just before you go to sleep, since that will minimise the time for dust mites to flourish.
Understandably, the housekeeping community is divided about the findings.
At Medical Daily, Dana Dovey contends that you should probably continue to make your bed in the morning.
Dovey cites “Power of Habit” author Charles Duhigg, who says that making your bed in the morning starts a chain reaction of reasoned, responsible decisions for your day, and “The Happiness Project” author Gretchen Rubin, who says that the domestic ceremony of making your bed is an easy way to get the day started with a positive gesture.
Good Housekeeping cleaning expert Carolyn Forte says that since dust mites are already all over the place in the room, the unmade bed strategy doesn’t make that great of a difference. Instead of leaving it untidy, Forte recommends throwing back your bedding in the morning to let some moisture out, plus washing your sheets every other week and going at your mattress with a vacuum when you make the swap.
Sounds like something that mite help, right?
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