Sleeping in the summer is a real challenge for some people. The main reason – although not the only one – is the high temperatures. A form of relieve the sensation of heat During the hot nights it consists of using the most appropriate sheets according to each region.
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How often do you have to change those sheets? Does the season of the year influence how often they should be washed? The answer to this last question is yes, for a logical reason: in hot weather we sweat more, and sweat makes clothes dirty that come into contact with our body.
We are often not aware of it, but anyone is in contact with bedding for a third of their time. A study British scientists mention that an adult person, while sleeping, can produce up to 100 liters of sweat every year. This makes the bed, according to the document, an “ideal medium for growing mushrooms.”
Body waste and other substances that make sheets soiled
Such contamination is not produced by sweat alone, of course. Much others body waste They end up on the sheets, such as dead cells, saliva, hair, secretions, remains of urine and other substances.
In addition, the amount of body waste that remains in the bed is greater if you sleep scantily clad or naked. This practice is more common in summer but it can be maintained throughout the year as it offers some benefits.
The dirt on the sheets is not limited to body waste: we must also consider the remains of makeup, creams and other cosmetics, animal hair, bacteria, fungi, pollen, dust and a multitude of other particles that people often carry – regardless of it – from their daily lives to bed.
To get an idea, just one piece of information: it is estimated that in a pillow of six years of use, the 10% of its weight corresponds to “shed skin, live mites, dead mites and mite droppings”. To such unpleasant discoveries he had come two decades ago John Maunder, an expert at the British Entomological Medical Center.
The study cited above, for its part, found up to 17 different species of pillow fungi between one and a half and twenty years old. The work analyzed both feather pillows and synthetic materials.
With pillows and their covers, there is the aggravation that they are in direct contact with the face, putting delicate parts such as the eyes, mouth, nose and ears at risk. If one takes into account that, in general, we are increasingly allergic, and that pollen and environmental pollution are two key factors in this sense, the hygiene of the bedding becomes essential.
And that’s not the only thing. Improper hygiene of sheets and bedding can cause skin irritation, eczema and other problems, which in principle can cause discomfort for healthy sleep and, over time, lead to greater inconveniences.
Recommended frequency to change sheets
So let’s go back to the initial question: how often do you have to change the sheets? In general, once a week is a good frequency, as explained in a Article Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and pathologist at New York University School of Medicine.
But in summer, for all that has been explained so far, the recommendation is that the frequency be greater, and that the sheets be changed every three or four days. Or even more frequently, in the case of people who sweat a lot or in regions with high humidity, since the latter favors the proliferation of microorganisms.
That washing, in addition, should be done if possible with hot water, with programs of 40 or 60 ºC, because in this way it really acts against the mites. In the words of John Maunder, “if you wash clothes with parasites at low temperatures, all you get is cleaner parasites.”
Regarding humidity, you have to make sure that the sheets (and all the clothes, really) be very dry before putting them back in the closet. Keeping them moist is also doing mites and other microbes a favor.
Another way to reduce the presence of these beings is, curiously, leave the bed undone, as verified by a study from Kingston University, UK. This is because the conditions on the “inside” of the bed – that is, the space between the fitted sheets and countertops – are the ones that help these pests the most: warmer, humid and darker.
If the sheets and blankets are cluttered, that “inside” space will be smaller. Of course, airing the rooms -the crossed ventilation It is not only effective against covid- and access to natural light is also key to bed hygiene.
Cleaning the mattress, also key
Otherwise, parasites lodge and leave their dirt not only on sheets and pillows, but also on the mattress. Therefore, its cleanliness also becomes essential (in addition to the fact that, according to the National Sleep Foundation of the United States, the mattress should be replaced every six or eight years).
Cleaning the mattress consists of a few essential steps. The first consists of vacuuming -as if it were a carpet- in order to remove as many microorganisms and dirt particles as possible. Afterwards, if sweat, blood, etc. stains are detected, they must be cleaned with soap and cold water.
Finally, it is advisable to apply sodium bicarbonate on the entire surface of the mattress, so that this substance absorbs moisture and neutralizes the odor. And, after about eight hours, vacuum again, to remove the bicarbonate.
This mattress cleaning is recommended every six months, unless there is a significant stain. In this case, it is advisable to act on it before it becomes too dry, to prevent it from penetrating into the fabrics and being much more difficult, or impossible, to remove.
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