We all know how important a good night's sleep is, so why not make it that much better by making the bed just right. Our home guru Sara Lynn lets us in on how our bedding contributes to the quality of our slumber.
A study by the National Sleep Foundation says 75 percent of people get a better night's sleep when they're resting on clean sheets. So, what's a clean sheet? Most of the research suggests that to keep your sheet clean, you should wash them once a week.
If you think this sounds excessive, think of your bed like you would your own personal hygiene. Would you wear the same clothes for several weeks unwashed? We spend more time in our sheets than we do in our clothes, yet we wash them less. We wouldn't wear the same clothes everyday as that would be considered not hygienic, so why do we wear the same sheets for weeks on end?
Why Wash Your Sheets?
All those germs you carry around with you in the day don't disappear when you crawl into bed. Instead, they get a nice warm environment to rest in for eight hours a night. While you sleep your body sheds dead skin cells, you secrete oils from your skin, and you sweat. This can ultimately lead to living organisms existing in your bed.
Dust mites are the most common living thing in our sheets. They depend on moisture to survive so are most often found in enclosed bedding such as pillows and duvets.
Dust mites feed on our dead skin cells and dander, and since we shed off about 10 grams of dead skin a week, there's a lot for them to eat. Cats and dogs create far more dander for dust mites to eat, so if your pets are sleeping in your bed, you need to really be conscious of washing your sheets weekly.
We don't want to get to carried away, but we need to talk about body fluids. Whether it is sweat, semen, or drool, your bed is susceptible to bacteria brought on by body fluids.
The truth is that these body oils can become a breeding ground for bacteria, but are relatively harmless. It's been said that you are more likely to become uncomfortable sleeping on an old pillow before you can get a serious infection from it, but why take the chance.
Best Washing Method
To keep your bed in the best condition you should wash your sheets every two weeks in hot soapy water and dry them completely through in the dryer.
Note: There is some debate here as high temperatures can weaken fibers, so buy the best sheets you can afford and they will last longer.
There is no room for cold water washes or air drying when it comes to sheets. Bacteria and germs can live through a cold or even warm wash, so you need to be sure to wash all your bedding on a hot cycle with an appropriate laundry soap.
From there, you want to tumble dry all your bedding in the dryer. Dust mites can be killed with a ten minutes exposure to temperatures - near 105 °C (221 °F) - in household clothes dryer.
All this to say, wash your bedding, and wash it more often if there is reason to do so!