Untidy beds may keep us healthy

Ruffled beds may look messy, but are actually healthy

Failing to make your bed in the
morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe.

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.

Many mites

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 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.

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