After a long day, there’s nothing more refreshing than getting some shut eye in the comfort of your own home. But, did you know your bedroom could be affecting your health? Here’s five ways your sleep sanctuary might be making you sick.
Your pillows, sheets, and mattress are the perfect home for dust mites, who thrive in dark, damp environments. The microscopic spiders feast on your dead, shed skin cells that are found all over your bedding. These mites are a common trigger for year-round allergies and asthma. Common dust mite allergy symptoms include: sneezing, runny nose, postnasal drip, and cough.
Unfortunately there’s no way to completely get rid of these pesky mites, but you can significantly reduce how many there are with a few easy strategies including: using allergen-proof bed covers, washing your bed weekly, keeping humidity low, and vacuuming regularly, Mayo Clinic suggests.
Unlike dust mites, you can see bed bugs with the unclad eye. The reddish-brown parasitic insects feed solely on the blood of humans and animals while they sleep. Their flat bodies allows them to hide in small crevices and travel from place to place with you. Although they don’t pose a serious medical threat, they do leave small, itchy bites on your body. Bite marks may take up to two weeks to develop in some people, therefore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to keep an eye out for other clues signaling you may have bed bugs: bug exoskeletons in your sheets, rusty-colored blood spots on your sheets from their fecal matter, and a sweet musty odor. If you have an infestation, it is best to call a professional pest control company.
Dust, Bacteria, & Mold
Clean up your room! All of the items scattered throughout your messy bedroom can collect dust, bacteria, and mold, which can trigger your allergies and lead to other health problems. Cleaning up your bedroom will not only reduce stress, but it will also set you up for a healthy night of rest.
Pollen And Other Allergens
If you have seasonal allergies, don’t sleep with your windows open. This will bring pollen and other allergens into your room. Instead, turn the air conditioner on and set it to “recirculate.” The optimal bedroom temperature is 68 degrees or below, according to director of The Sleep to Live Institute, Dr. Robert Oexman. This temperature not only helps you sleep better, but it also helps prevent dust mites from breeding as frequently.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids that may be found in your bedroom, including paints, wood preservatives, cosmetics, air fresheners, and dry-cleaned clothing. Not much is known about the health effects from the levels of organics in our homes, but some symptoms from exposure may include: eye, nose, and throat irritation, and headaches, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.