Sleep and Sickness

Sleep and Sickness

by Posted on: May 18, 2016Categories: LiveWell 24/7   


We’ve all heard it a million times: if you don’t get enough sleep, you will get sick. Lack of sleep can contribute to a weakened immune system, increased likelihood of weight gain, and even long term health risks such as cardiovascular disease. But what if you are getting your recommended 7-8 hours of sleep every night but still get sick? The reason could be closer than you think.

Your bed contains millions of dust mites, bacteria, and dead skin cells (your body produces about half an ounce every week!) that can increase your chances of contracting a cold, the flu, eczema, hay fever, or food poisoning. After about two years, the weight of your pillow can increase by about 10%  from collected dust mites and their feces. Before you throw away all your bedding, here are a few ways you can clean your sleeping space to prevent sickness.

  • Your sheets should be cleaned with hot water (about 60 degrees) and a high heat drying cycle at least once a week.
  • You should replace your sheets and pillows annually. When purchasing new bedding, look for sheets and pillowcases that are 100% cotton, as well as dust mite protective mattress and pillow covers.
  • Throw pillows, stuffed animals, and extra blankets add more space in your bed for dust mites to spread. Try to eliminate as many of these as possible!
  • If you have down or fiberfill pillow, wash them in a warm, gentle cycle and cold rinse and spin before drying on low heat. In order to keep your pillows fluffy, put a few tennis balls in your dryer with your pillows.
  • Keep your furry friends out of your bed. While they might be your favorite sleeping companion, they can often bring fleas or ticks into your sheets.
  • Vacuuming and dusting your home every week can help you eliminate allergens, bacteria, and dust mites from the area surrounding your bed.

Sources: Mayo ClinicCMU, Woman’s Day, WebMD, Shape, Everyday Health, Huffington Post



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