It’s one of the first tips on every productivity list: Make your bed to start your day off on the right foot. Whether you commit to the chore every morning or only a few days out of the week, what is a seemingly simple task can also lead to a sense of increased productivity, giving you more zest to tackle your to-do list.
But one scientist is saying that making your bed may not be the best way to start your day — in the name of health.
You might already know that there are a plethora (we’re talking 1.5 million) of dust mites joining you every night in bed — and while they’re not exactly harmful, they can trigger asthma and allergies.
Researcher Stephen Pretlove told BBC News several years ago that leaving your bed unmade in the morning may keep the mites from setting up shop in your sheets. Dust mites live in warm, moist environments, so by leaving the bed disheveled, you’re more likely to disrupt their perfect living arrangements.
“We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body,” said Pretlove. “Leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.”
However, the director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, Carolyn Forte, doesn’t believe leaving the bed unmade will help to prevent mites from hanging out in your sheets. Since most homes are naturally already slightly humid, mites will continue to survive in these climates, Forte said.
However, she does suggest throwing back your blankets to let the area air out while you have your morning coffee. Once you’ve finished your other early-hour tasks, you can make your bed. She also recommends that people wash their sheets every other week and replace their pillows every two years.
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