You probably think of your bed as a safe, comfy place that you can retreat to each night to get some much needed and well deserved sleep. In reality though, your bed might not be quite as benign as you assume. If you’re not careful, this piece of furniture could in fact be making you sick.
Keep reading to discover three ways in which this bedroom essential may be harming your health – and to get tips that could help you to protect your wellbeing when you’re between the sheets.
- Inflaming your allergies
Allergies are a common problem in the UK. More than 21 million adults have these conditions, and over half of indoor allergy sufferers suggest their symptoms feel worse when they are in their bedrooms. As The Sleep Council points out, the house dust mite is one of the major triggers for allergic reactions and beds are a favourite hangout of these creepy crawlies. According to figures cited by the organisation, a used mattress typically contains anywhere between 100,000 and 10 million of these tiny creatures. They feed on dead skin and thrive in warm, moist conditions, making mattresses an ideal breeding ground.
If you’re allergic to dust mites, you could experience a range of irritating symptoms, including sneezing, a blocked or runny nose, itchy, red eyes, coughing and wheezing and a rash. Meanwhile, if you suffer from eczema or asthma, you might find the symptoms of these conditions get worse.
The good news is, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the number of mites in your sleeping space. For example, try to ensure that the temperature in your room isn’t too high, and make sure it’s well ventilated. Keep flowers out of the space too as this will help you to control humidity levels, and try not to dry clothes in your bedroom for the same reason. It’s also a good idea to leave your bed sheets turned down during the day to allow the heat and moisture to escape. Regularly vacuuming your room and your mattress is important too, and make sure you clean your sheets frequently and if possible at a high temperature. As a final tip, rather than dry dusting, make sure you wipe the surfaces in your bedroom with a damp cloth. This will help to ensure that you don’t simply spread dust around.
- Raising your risk of back and neck pain
Lots of Brits suffer from back and neck pain, but what many people don’t realise is that their beds could be at least partially to blame. These problems can be triggered by poor posture, and this includes at night during sleep. So, if you don’t have a supportive mattress and pillow, you could be increasing your risk of experiencing these pains.
The NHS advises that your mattress should be firm enough so that it provides sufficient support for your body while keeping your spine straight and cushioning the weight of your buttocks and shoulders. It also suggests sleeping on a firm, low pillow. Using too many pillows can cause your neck to bend at an acute angle, which can lead to discomfort. If you want to sleep in a more upright position, consider using an adjustable bed rather than trying to prop yourself up with extra pillows. This will enable you to maintain a healthier position during the night.
If you think your current mattress or pillow setup isn’t doing your health any favours, now’s the time to make some changes. It’s generally recommended that you replace your mattress approximately every seven years, so if yours is older than this, you may be due a new one. Sagging or lumpy mattresses should also be replaced, and if you share your bed with a partner and you find that you tend to roll towards one another unintentionally during the night, the chances are you could benefit from a new mattress. As a general rule, if you wake up frequently feeling achy and unrefreshed or you’re not sleeping as well as you used to, it’s worth trying a new model. To keep these products in good condition for as long as possible, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and rotate them regularly.
- Preventing you from getting sufficient shuteye
It’s now well known that a shortage of sleep can result in a range of potentially serious medical problems, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Worryingly, it’s thought that around one in three people in the UK regularly suffers from insomnia. Lots of issues can lead to a lack of sleep. From excessive stress, to health problems, to a poor diet, a range of things can get in between you and a sound night’s slumber. However, if you’re not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of shuteye a night, have you considered that your bed may be partly to blame? Perhaps it creaks and wakes you up when you turn over, or maybe it’s simply not big enough for you to stretch out in. According to The Sleep Council, studies have shown that an uncomfortable bed can deprive people of up to an hour’s sleep a night, and in some cases the figure is likely to be even higher.
If you’re not satisfied with your bed, it’s important to look for a better model. Given the significance of these furnishings on our overall health, it’s simply not worth taking the risk of putting up with a substandard model. If you find it difficult to nod off, why not try a design with an inbuilt massage function? For example, our beds come with an NHC Cyclo-Therapy system that can help to relax the body and mind, making it easier to drift off after lights out. It’s also essential to select a model that’s a suitable size.
As these points highlight, beds can represent a real risk to health if they’re not up to scratch. However, by taking the advice in this blog on board, you should be able to ensure that your sleeping environment promotes rather than endangers your wellbeing.