Health News

Is your bed making you sick?

Did you know we spend roughly a third of our lives in bed? That’s why it’s important to make sure your bed is fit-for-purpose. After all, quality sleep (or lack of it) can impact on your physical and mental health.

“Poor quality or older mattresses – especially sprung ones – tend to sag over time and can contribute to back problems and impact the quality of your sleep,” says Richard Tucker of award-winning mattress brand Leesa Sleep.

“It’s important to think not only about the bedroom set-up or bedding, but what’s under the sheets too – such as your mattress.

“Your bed and its ability to offer a good night’s sleep doesn’t just impact physical wellness, but also your mental health. We deal with enough strains on our health, so the last place we should be concerned about getting sick is in our own beds.”

5 housekeeping tips for a good night’s sleep

Neil Robinson, a sleep expert at bed brand Sealy UK, shares his tips for making sure your bed stays in tip top condition and a dust-mite free zone!

  1. Clean your mattress

You should clean some mattresses every six months to prevent dust mites, dead skin and dirt accumulating. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt, hair and crumbs, following up with baking soda to deodorise the mattress.

  • Declutter under your bed

Items under the bed can become magnets for dirt and dust which, in turn, can cause problems, especially if you’re prone to dust allergies. Keep the space under your bed clutter-free or invest in some under-bed storage.

  • Air it out

Dust mites love warm, moist environments. Throw back the covers and remove the pillows from your bed for at least 20 minutes every morning.

  • Make it minimalist

A messy bedroom not only looks unpleasant, but did you know it can make you more anxious and even disturb your sleep?

  • Don’t forget the small stuff

Many mattresses need to be turned every three months to avoid sagging and increase their lifespan. If you have a memory foam mattress, rotate your mattress head to foot instead.

3 ways to optimise your bed for health and wellbeing

  1. Invest in a good mattress

“Think about how you slept last night: were you comfortable and did you feel supported? If not, it’s probably time to think about getting a new mattress,” says Ruairi Giles of luxury bed-maker Harrison Spinks.

“On average, you should look to replace a well-maintained mattress every eight years, depending on its quality.

“The wrong type of mattress can put excessive pressure on your joints and spine, causing a restless night’s sleep, poor posture, and stiffness. For this reason, it’s important to choose a premium quality mattress that has a high spring count as more springs mean more support.

“A good mattress will support your whole body, alleviating the harmful pressure on your joints and keeping the spine perfectly aligned. Remember, no two spines are the same, so beds should be tailored to adapt to the contours of your body.

“A pocket-sprung mattress contains individual springs and each spring is in a fabric pocket. This provides much more support and comfort than an open coil mattress, where each spring is lined together within a wire frame.”

  • Good hygiene

Did you know the average person sweats almost enough to fill a 330ml can of fizzy drink every night?

“To manage the high levels of skin bacteria that accompany sweat, the material used to stuff your mattress is very important,” says Ruairi.

“Foam is a relatively good material for absorbing the moisture lost while we sleep, but isn’t as effective at evaporating it. The sweat is often stored at the mattresses core, making it the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. While foam mattresses may be comfortable, they don’t offer the best sleeping environment when it comes to breathability. After all, you can’t just put your mattress in the washing machine!

“By choosing a mattress that boasts a host of natural fillings, you are helping to keep your sleeping environment fresh and hygienic. There’s a misconception that the fibrous nature of natural mattress fillings mean they’ll house more bacteria, but this isn’t the case.

“Mattresses containing natural ingredients such as cotton help improve the quality of your sleep by keeping you dry and cool. Wool and hemp regulate body temperature and are resistant to mildew, as well as keeping beds fresh, dry and hygienic. Wool also absorbs 23% more moisture than foam!

“A top tip to keep your mattress fresh is to leave the duvet turned back each morning to allow for evaporation to happen. That’s it; we’re giving you the perfect excuse not to make your bed in the morning!

“Overall, when you are looking for a new mattress the most important factors for maintaining health and wellbeing are comfort, hygiene and support. If you sleep well, you feel well.”

  • Get the perfect pillow

According to research carried out by The National Sleep Foundation, 91% of those polled rated high quality pillows as essential for getting a good night’s sleep.

“Inappropriate pillows don’t support the anatomy of the human body so it’s not surprising that sleep science has turned to pillows as a major focus,” says Noel O’Connor, who founded the brand reflexpillow to help relieve back and neck pain.  

“While your mattress may support your lower spine, the soft tissue of your upper spine and neck need even more support.”

Noel spent 15 years carrying out pressure sensitivity tests on feather, memory foam and polyester-stuffed pillows before creating ‘Reflex Foam’ – the magic formulation of materials needed to create what he describes as the optimal pillow. 

He has recently launched the Perfection pillow, with a head dip designed to keep the spine aligned and a dedicated shoulder slot to help naturally eliminate the key causes of sleep deprivation, teeth grinding, neck and back pain, tossing and turning, insomnia, snoring and sleep apnoea.

lyndahamiltonparker
Lynda Hamilton Parker is a Scottish PR expert and independent publisher

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