Retreating to the sanctuary of your bedroom after a long day may be good for your sanity but is it good for your body? There are many hazards that may lurk in your bedroom and affect your health. Here are 15 ways your bedroom could be making you sick.
1. Dust Mites
Dust mites live in your pillows, mattress and bedding and their feces can irritate you, causing cold-like symptoms, asthma and allergies. To reduce dust mites, wash your bedding regularly, vacuum the mattress, use allergen-proof bed covers and replace your pillows once a year.
Mould spores can cause allergies and respiratory problems. Mould can build up in your pillow, overwatered plants and in the walls and it loves humid conditions. Keep humidity low, water your plants only when the soil is dry and clean your bedding and bedroom regularly.
3. Bed Bugs
When bed bugs bite, they leave itchy red marks on your skin. Inspect your bed regularly for blood spots, bug exoskeletons and bedbugs themselves and if you have an infestation, call a pest control company.
Your pets’ fur is a breeding ground for bacteria and can also carry mould, dust and other allergens. Give them their own beds to sleep in. This way, you’ll never have to fight for space in your bed either.
Pollen is a seasonal allergen that can enter your bedroom through open windows or come from plants in your bedroom. Reduce pollen by using an air-conditioner or fan rather than sleeping with the windows open and choosing non-flowering plants for your bedroom.
6. Volatile Organic Compounds
Synthetic petroleum-based foam or polyester in your pillows, mattress and bed linen, as well as cleaning products, cosmetics and air fresheners can release volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which may cause headaches and irritate your eyes, nose and throat. Use cotton bedding, pillows and mattresses made of natural latex and eco-friendly cosmetics and cleaning products instead.
You may lose as much as 100 litres of sweat a year in your bed. Your sweat can help spread bacterial infections, so wash your bedding in hot water at least once a week. Sheets made of natural fibres will also absorb sweat more readily than polyester blends.
8. Pillows That Have Lost Their Shape
When your pillow loses its shape, it won’t provide the support it’s supposed to and you may end up with a stiff neck, back and shoulders in the morning. If you fold your pillow in half and it doesn’t spring back into shape, or if the indentation of your head is permanently in place, you need to get a new pillow.
9. A Worn Mattress
When your mattress is worn and sags, it won’t properly support your body and you may develop backaches. Replace your mattress every five to ten years or as soon as it develops a valley in the centre.
10. The Carpet
The carpet in your bedroom harbours dust mites, dust, animal hair, mould spores and other microscopic particles that can cause allergies or irritation. Vacuum and shampoo the carpet regularly to keep it clean or replace it with wooden or laminate floors.
Paraffin candles release harmful chemicals such as toluene and benzene when they burn. Opt for soy or beeswax candles instead, avoid metal-centre wicks and open the window a little when you’re burning candles. You can also get plants that purify the air.
12. Your Shoes
Your shoes track dirt and all kinds of nasty substances into your home. Take them off before you enter the bedroom or, even better, as you enter the house.
13. The Vacuum Cleaner
If your vacuum cleaner doesn’t have a HEPA filter, it will simply spray all the dust and pollen that it has sucked up right back into your bedroom. Get a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter and bags made of HEPA material.
14. The Humidifier
While a humidifier can relieve problems caused by dry air, it can also help mould to grow. Change the humidifier’s water every day and clean the water container at least once a week to prevent mould.
Beeping and flashing electronic devices interfere with your sleep. Keep the TV in the living room and store your phone, laptop and other electronic devices switched off and away from your bed.