See why not making your bed first thing in the morning could be good for your health.
Inside: Learn why waiting to make your bed in the morning can be healthy.
You know that time when you’re a kid visiting your great-grandma’s farm in North Carolina, and when you get tucked into bed, you better be in the position you want to be in because the mound of quilts pin you to the mattress.
And then after being there for about 10 minutes, you realize you forgot to go pee. And the harder you try not to think about it, the worse it got. Yep, and your only option is the chamber pot because there’s no way you’re going to the outhouse after dark.
And you know it’s going to be SO cold when you crawl out from under those toasty covers.
I have many memories at my Mama Minnie’s farm. In the farmhouse, the only heat source was the pot-bellied wood stove out in the main room. I can remember that stove being so hot the sides would turn cherry red.
The kitchen – detached from the main house was always bustling with cooking and baking going on throughout the day. The ovens and baby pot-bellied stove kept it toasty warm.
At a later time, they built a dog-trot style porch to connect the kitchen to the house. That burst of cold winter air was chilling as you passed from one to the other.
I use to sleep with my Mama Minnie when we stayed at her farm. Her bedroom was in the back of the house and always cold – all the bedrooms were. They kept the doors shut to keep the heat in the main areas.
But we were so snuggled and warm under all those layers of covers we never thought about it – unless you had to get up during the night to go pee.
You’ll find differing opinions on whether or not to make your bed every day. Despite what you may think about making your bed every morning, there are some reasons not to – and they pertain to your health.
Making your bed first thing may be good for mental health. But it turns out it’s better for your overall health if you don’t.
Reasons why you shouldn’t make your bed right away
Cheryl Mendelson says this in her book, Home Comforts:
While you are sleeping, you breathe about two pounds of moisture, along with breath odors and flocks of microorganisms, into the air, your pillow, and your bedding. You also perspire, perhaps a cup’s worth, and exude skin oils and body smells. And you use up the room’s oxygen and replace it with exhaled carbon dioxide. When there are two or more people in the bed or the room, these effects are multiplied. All this explains why, if you sleep with closed windows, the room has a characteristic stale morning smell (although you might not perceive it until you leave for a few minutes and then return.) Unless you leave the bedcovers pulled down and the windows open for an hour or two, the moisture you have left in the bed either does not evaporate or evaporates very slowly, which makes for an environment in pillows and mattress in which dust mites, molds, and other microbial life have more of an opportunity to multiply. Opening the windows lets in new air to dilute the pollutants (microbial and particulate), carry them off, and bring in fresh supplies of oxygen.
Seriously, the thought of my bed being a cozy, comfortable place for dust mites to multiply grosses me out. And that’s what happens when we crawl out of bed and make it first thing.
A study by Kingston University discovered that dust mites couldn’t survive exposure and the dry conditions of an unmade bed.
Dr. Stephen Pretlove said,
Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.
While we’re sleeping we sweat and shed skin cells creating a damp and humid atmosphere where dust mites thrive. When you get up and make your bed, you retain the moisture that would otherwise dry out if the bed remained unmade.
How to help keep dust mites away
While it’s impossible to eliminate dust mites from your home, you can help reduce the numbers.
- Allow your bed to air out 1 – 2 hours before making it.
- Open the blinds and even windows in your bedroom if it’s nice out.
- If you have a ceiling fan, use it to circulate air.
- Wash your bedding once a week (every two weeks at the most).
- Use the hottest water setting on your washer to wash sheets, pillowcases, and blankets.
- If you have bedding that you can’t wash, run it through a 20-minute heat cycle in the dryer on a medium-high setting.
- Use allergen-proof mattress covers and pillow protectors.
After I get up in the morning, I pull the covers back to the foot of the bed. I open the blinds to let the sunshine in. If it’s pretty outside, I open my windows and let the fan run to create a gentle breeze. Doing this helps keep your bed feeling and smelling fresh until your next change of sheets.
I leave the room like this while I see Pete off to work. Then I eat breakfast and have my morning devotions + quiet time. When I’m done, I go back, get dressed, and make the bed. This routine allows the bed to air out for at least two hours. If it hasn’t been two hours
If you have to leave for work, instead of making your bed right away, go through your morning routine, and make your bed right before you leave the house. Making your bed as the last part of your routine can give you at least an hour of airing out time. That’s better than nothing.
If you suffer from allergies, dust mites may be causing them. They have eight legs making them anthropods like spiders, and they are too small to see with the naked eye.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has a list of all the symptoms that can come from dust mite allergies.
My great-grandma was doing it right all along
Mornings at Mama Minnie’s old drafty farmhouse weren’t much different from mine. They raised the windows first thing and let the rooms and beds air out until after breakfast.
Then my great Aunt Elizabeth (Mama Minnie’s daughter who never married) went to each bedroom, closed the windows, and make all the beds.
That my friend is why it’s okay to make your bed or not. Heck, this may cause you to never make your bed again.
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For more information on keeping up a house check out Home Comforts.