“Make your bed!” You hear it in your sleep, don’t you? That reminder from your mom that the bed needs to be made before you start your day? For most, making the bed is still an activity they do every day. Well, almost. In an unscientific study, seven of 10 people said they make their beds most of the time, two said they never make the bed and one said she makes it every day, like clockwork.
What about changing your sheets? In the survey, most said they changed the sheets on the bed at least every other week, while a few said they only change the sheets when they absolutely need to. Albie, a scuba instructor in Miami, said he learned an important lesson about changing the sheets at least twice a month when he was in college. His roommate and visitors were constantly complaining that their dorm room had a bad odor. They searched and searched for the source, only to find it was coming from Albie’s bed, actually his sheets. He didn’t remember when he had washed them last. From then on, Albie is diligent about making sure those sheets get changed and washed.
You spend a third of your life in that bed, about 2373 hours a year. You’re in that one place more than any other single place in your life. Think about what that means. No matter how cold you make your bedroom, you sweat as you’re sleeping. You shed skin cells, which provide food for dust mites and other microscopic creepy crawlies. It’s enough to give you nightmares, if you think about it too much. Those dust mites, along with any allergens you might have carried to bed on your body, like pollen in your hair, can result in an allergy attack, skin rash or other health issues.
So how often should you change your sheets and should you make your bed? Dust mites live in warm, moist, dark environments, like under the covers of your bed when you leave it. But researchers and health experts are mixed on whether you should make your bed or not. Most experts say you shouldn’t make the bed as soon as you get up. Instead, they recommend opening up the bed, pushing the covers back, so the sheets dry out, removing the cozy living quarters of the microscopic bed mates. It’s ok to then make the bed after half an hour or so of airing.
Other experts say whether you make the bed or not, you’re still going to be exposed to dust mites and so on, so it doesn’t matter.
Washing the sheets, however, is something the experts do agree on. The recommendation is to wash your sheets at least every two weeks; it’s best to wash them every week. If you have environmental allergies, changing the bedding is even more important, especially if you’ve been outside; you can carry allergens on your hair, skin and clothing. Wash the sheets in hot water to make sure the micro-organisms are killed off.
Your bed is a refuge from the world. Since you’re spending a third of your life there, it’s important to make sure it’s not only comfortable, but healthy. So wash those sheets and make your bed (after waiting half an hour)!!