Want to kill dust mites? Stop making your bed, researchers say

Want to kill dust mites? Stop making your bed, researchers say

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LONDON — Turns out, all the times you ignored your mother's pleas to make your bed growing up may have contributed to better health.

That's because an unmade bed allows the millions of dust mites that reside where you sleep to die off before you hit the sack again, according to a new study.

House dust mites — responsible for aggravating allergies and asthma — thrive where it's warm and damp and particularly crave scales of human skin, according to researchers with London's Kingston University.

While that statement may keep you from ever climbing under the covers again, take heart in the fact that they cannot survive where there is no moisture — and an unmade bed creates a dry climate where the mites eventually die, the researchers found.

"Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattresses so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die," researcher Stephen Pretlove told BBC News.

To gather their findings, researchers developed a computer model that tracks what elements in a home reduce or promote the presence of dust mites in beds, BBC reports.

#poll

Pretlove said their research could lead to the reduction of reported illnesses known to be induced by the presence of dust mites.

"Our findings could help building designers create healthy homes and health care workers point out environments most at risk from mites," he said.

The next step for the team: planting mites in beds across the U.K. and putting their computer model to the test. They'll look at how people's daily routines impact the mites, as well as test out elements, such as heating, insulation and ventilation, to see how much each contribute to the survival or eradication of the mites, according to BBC News.

But before you rush to unmake every bed in your house, take note: Some experts scoff at the idea that simply keeping your bed messy can eradicate the problem.

"I find it hard to believe that simply not making your bed would have any impact on the overall humidity (in your home)," said professor Andrew Wardlaw with the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

And with that, I dare you to go take a nap.

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Jessica Ivins

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