Friday,18 August, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1346, (25 - 31 May 2017)
Friday,18 August, 2017
Issue 1346, (25 - 31 May 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Better sleep

Let’s talk about better living! Our interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers

Do you change your bed sheets once a week, every two weeks, or only once a month? Recent studies reveal that poor sleepers may be going wrong in terms of their cleaning habits.

Not only can failing to clean the bed properly negatively affect how well you sleep, it can also result in infections. Ensuring that your bedding and mattress are clean can avoid a build-up of skin cells in them, amongst other bacteria-related threats.

As we spend almost one third of our lives in bed, it’s important to maintain sleep hygiene. Duvets and pillows should be washed at least every two to three months. And mattresses should be cleaned several times a year by vacuuming up dead skin cells, pet hair, and dust. Just remember that we shed five stones worth of dead skin in our lifetimes.

Here is what will happen when you don’t wash your sheets regularly:

- Bacteria can start to build up in the fibres, which can cause annoying whiteheads or patchy pimples, or exacerbate already existing acne, even if you have cleaned your skin. Dermatologists recommend washing your face and body with a good cleanser before bed in addition to washing your sheets every seven to 10 days.

- In addition to attracting bacteria, dirty sheets rub against your skin as you sleep, and that friction can lead to skin irritation or eczema. Dermatologists recommend not using greasy ointments or heavy creams as they are harder to absorb and will transfer to your linens, putting you at risk of more bacteria

- Sweat is one reason beds can be prime places for fungi to grow. One type of mould, cladosporium, grows on damp mattresses and can lead to asthma, pneumonia, and a fungal infection called onychomycosis that can cause skin lesions and crumbling toenails. Even worse, infections or rashes can be transferred through dirty bedding. A recent study revealed that sheets left unchanged for even one week have more bacteria than a bathroom doorknob.

- There may be around 1.5 million pesky mites in your bed each night, and these might leave their mark in the form of welts on your neck, face, arms and upper body or breathing issues. The mites feed on flakes of skin that you shed in your sleep and that accumulate in any location that isn’t regularly cleaned. Wash regularly and store linens in a cool, dry place away from moisture and light to avoid any bacterial build-up. The longer you wait between washings, the harder it is to get rid of mites.

- Since dust mites, mould, and mildew activate allergies or worsen existing ones, you should avoid them if at all possible. Washing linens will kill any bacteria that are already on them. Invest in bedding made from hypoallergenic materials that dissipate warmth and moisture so mould and mites can’t breed. Replace synthetic pillows every two to three years and down or feather pillows every five to six years so bacteria don’t have a chance to build up. You can also wash most down or synthetic pillows as well — just make sure to check the care label before doing so.

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