Is your bed making you sick?

Is your bed making you sick?

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than snuggling up in your bed after a hard day’s work, but a report suggests you may be in for more than just a good night’s sleep.

CNN report detailed a wide range of bacteria, fungi and allergens that could be making themselves at home in your bed and negatively affecting your health.

“It’s easy to see when a kitchen counter needs to be wiped clean or a floor needs to be mopped, but keeping a clean bed can be easily overlooked,” says Dr. James Malow, an infection prevention specialist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “However, your bed attracts dust, dust mites, bacteria and fungus just as much, if not more, than other surfaces in your home.”

Four out of five homes in the U.S. have at least one bed with dust mites, according to the American Lung Association. And, although dust mites seem pretty disgusting on their own, consider the fact that dust mite feces are also likely sharing your bed and can even cause an allergic reaction for some people. So what are some options for keeping these pests far from your nightly place of comfort? The American Lung Association recommends reducing humidity in your home, covering mattresses and pillows, washing bedding regularly and frequently damp mopping your floors to help eliminate them.

Other bacteria in your bed could include sweat and bodily waste from pets.

“Sheets are exposed to sweat, dead skin cells, saliva, oils and dirt from your body while you sleep,” says Dr. Malow. “If you have pets, the amount of those elements could be dramatically increased. Think of washing your sheets like washing your clothes; you wouldn’t wear the same outfit for two weeks without washing it, and your bedding should be no different.”

Dr. Malow adds that certain parasites can also be spread through bedding, including bedbugs, body lice and chiggers. However, these unwanted sleepover guests can be killed with regular laundering and drying on high heat.

Bed sheets should be washed separately from other clothes and towels in hot water weekly when possible. Be sure they are completely dry before they are put back on the bed, and remember not to leave out your pillows and comforters on laundry day.

Related Posts



  1. *A WORD OF CAUTION RE: BED BUGS*They do not only live in your bed and sheets. They also live in wood, headboards, bed frames, nightstands, carpets, clothing, behind pictures-especially any that are hung above your bed. Just changing your sheets does not guarantee that you will be free of bed bugs in your home. You can be changing your sheets once a week and still not realize that you have them, because they can also live under the mattress and on the box spring. You may not even see them after taking your sheets off or while putting them back on. Bed skirts can hid their existence if they take cover under the skirt. Bed bugs are on the rise, and are extremely hard to eradicate from your home. Google how to prevent bed bug infestation, and if you do spot one, what to do. An important piece of advise–IF YOU SPOT A BUG ON A BED OR IN A ROOM> DO NOT PANIC AND START DRAGGING BEDDING AND MATRESSES AND OTHER ITEMS IN THE ROOM THROUGH THE HOUSE. IF THEY FALL OFF THE ITEM, THEY MAY INFECT OTHER ROOMS IN THE HOME. DO NOT MOVE TO A DIFFERENT ROOM TO SLEEP. THE BED BUGS WILL FIND YOU IN THE OTHER ROOM AND INFECT THAT ROOM, TOO. WHEN WE HAD BED BUGS, OUR ENTIRE FAMILY STARTED SLEEPING IN THE INFECTED ROOM WHILE TRYING TO IRRADICATE THE BUGS. We finally eradicated the bed bugs by using steam and alcohol.

  2. Thank you for your article “IS YOUR BED MAKING YOU SICK’
    My solution to the condition, or eliminating the problem before it starts is; spraying the mattress, headboard, bed and floor with a product called “Orange Guard”. This product safely eliminates dust mites among many other bug problems, has a pleasant smell and can be found in your hardware stores.. It is not harmful to humans nor animals.
    I have been using this product for years with no physical problems to myself. However, it should be used after laundering the bed sheets.

  3. Great article. I use a sanitizer along with my laundry detergent. Spray matter and pillows with Lysol and Febreeze allergen reducer because we do have cats. I also brush my cats daily with an allergen reducer and fur conditioner All if this helps to fight allergens and pests that may be lurking in your bed

    • Hi Carole! I have a cat as well. What allergen reducer do you use on your pet? I’m thinking my daughter might be developing an allergy to our cat, and she won’t even consider staying away from her pet. Thanks!

  4. Hi ,
    Loved this post . Sharing it on my Facebook and Pinterest profile.

About the Author

Brittany Hunter
Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter, health enews contributor, is a specialist of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. She has a degree in Journalism from Ohio University and experience in communications, marketing and public strategies. She loves going to concerts, reading and exploring the city.