Bed bugs aren't the only things hiding in your sheets.
According to a new study by Amerisleep, our beds are a hotbed for bacteria. The study, which had volunteers swab their unwashed sheets over a period of four weeks, found pillowcases contained 39 times more bacteria than pet food bowls at the end of the testing period. And pillowcases that went unwashed for only one week accumulated 17,442 times more bacteria than a toilet seat!
Researchers also took bacteria samples from mattresses that ranged in age from one to seven years. As expected, the number of bacteria on a mattress multiplies as it gets older, leaving the oldest mattresses with more than 16 million colony-forming units of bacteria per square inch. By the time your mattress reaches this milestone, it's time to consider buying a new one. Here are seven tips to help you find the right mattress for you.
And don't forget about your pillows. While a good pillowcase and protector can keep your pillow cleaner, longer, it is still likely to collect dust mites, mould and all sorts of bacteria. Be sure to wash your pillows every six months to cut back on trapped toxins and bad bacteria.
While sleeping on billions of bacteria might make you squirmish, it's important to remember not all bacteria is bad. In fact, our bodies actually need good bacteria to survive.
According to Amerisleep, four types of bacteria can be found in your bed: gram-negative rods which can cause pneumonia; bacilli, which is linked to food poisoning; gram positive cocci and gram-positive rods, both of which are not harmful to humans.
To cut back on bad bacteria, get in the habit of washing your sheets on a weekly basis, always keep outdoor items likes shoes, bags and clothes off your bed and take showers before getting under the covers.