When you fall into your comfy, warm bed and rest your head onto your soft pillow each night are you risking your health? You may be surprised to know yes! According to a recent study from The University of Manchester, research found that both synthetic and down pillows were full of dust mites as well as millions of fungal spores. They described it as a “miniature ecosystem inside your pillow.”
The research project consisted of testing 10 pillows that had been used for 18 months-20 years. The samples came back with each pillow having what was identified as 4-16 fungal species per sample. A few thousand spores of fungus were found per gram, with the synthetic pillows having the highest number of specimen.
The research found dust mites, fungi, and the sweat that many of us produce during our sleep, add to the disgusting problem. The ecosystem needs moisture to survive and our sweat is providing it. Food consumption and developments of the dust mites increases significantly when moisture and humidity are present.
You also shed dead skin and dander constantly–In fact, you shed thousands of skin cells a minute. And if you’re spending one-third of your life with your head on a pillow, it means that’s where a good majority of that excess protein will end up. While this isn’t harmful or something you can avoid, it is what makes your pillow an ideal feeding ground for the dust mites you don’t want there. Once the lights go out, they climb onto the pillowcases to eat what you shed.
5 tips to keep you pillows healthy!
1. If you don’t want to run out and replace your pillows right away, try throwing them in a hot dryer for 30 minutes each week. Many people just wait until “washing day” to do this, but it’s better to just do it once a week. This helps stifle the growth of mites and other harmful microorganisms.
2. Don’t sleep on your pillow with wet hair. The moisture will be a feeding frenzy for the fungus and mites.