If you make your bed right away after you wake up, millions of dust mites that live on it will be trapped. They feed on your dead skin cells and sweat and can contribute to asthma and allergy issues. An unmade bed will expose the creatures to light and fresh air and will help to dehydrate and kill them.
Dr. Stephen Pretlove from Kingston University School of Architecture offers a simple explanation. When you make your bed, especially immediately after waking, you’re trapping your body heat, your skin cells, and most importantly, your sweat, all over the bed. But leaving the bed unmade exposes the sheets to air and light, drying them out and thus, depleting the mites’ lifelines.
When we sleep we sweat a lot, creating ideal conditions for the dust mites.
The reason why this article tells you to not make the bed after sleeping is curbing the mites number. As many as 1.5 million dust mites live in our beds – it’s not the quantity that is the problem, it’s what they leave behind. Their excretion can irritate dust allergies and cause asthma.
Carolyn Forte, director of the cleaning lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, told Good Housekeeping that since there are dust mites everywhere, leaving your bed unmade might not make much of a difference. But she did say it’d be wise to leave your bed unmade for some time during the morning so the sheets have an opportunity to dry from your nighttime tosses and turns.
As we sleep during the night we sweat and our skin flakes onto the sheets – providing a veritable feast for our bed’s dust mite inhabitants.
If your bed is made directly after getting up, all of the skin cells, moisture from your sweat and dust mites remain trapped beneath the sheets until bedtime.
Forte said making your bed after you eat your breakfast and get ready for the day ahead is a good rule of thumb. Also, wash your sheets every one to two weeks — and don’t forget about those pillow cases.
But if you leave the bed unmade, the dust mites dry up.
“We know that the dust mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body”, Dr. Pretlove says.
So the experts are really recommending leaving the bed unmade for the day. After a day’s exposure to light and air, the dust mites will die, leaving you to breathe easier.