Allergies, Asthma, Insomnia, Dust & your mattress
Do you or your children suffer from any of the following
Did you know bed bacteria has now been linked to cot death?
Further, did you know each time you move on your bed, bacteria, dust mites, micro maggots and the allergenic excrement they produce are churned up and inhaled or blown into your mouth, nose, eyes and skin; hence the common early morning symptoms of dry mouth, sneezing, coughing, sore red eyes, itchy skin and runny nose... yes, I was grimacing at this point as well.
Considering we spend one third of our lives in bed
it's not surprising that dust mites thrive there; they eat your dead skin, you see. Up to 2,500 mites have been counted in ONE gram of dust. That equals more than 1 MILLION mites in a queen size mattress!
And let's not mention what else is in the dust... all right, we will . Recent studies have found that common household dust contains a mixture of pesticides, heavy metals, flame retardants, solvents and hormone disrupting chemicals. Together these form an invisible toxic hazard that scientists have only just begun to study, but already are concluding that, for health's sake, we need to drastically reduce our exposure.
So, how unhygienic is your bed?
For the non-allergic and respiratory healthy amongst us, this insight into our bed companions is unpleasant. However if you are one of the many with allergies and/or breathing problems, this discovery may be the break through you've been waiting for. Why? Because it indicates that much of your suffering is less to do with your health than it is the ill health of your mattress.
Research suggests children who sleep on old mattresses during the first year of life are more at risk of developing breathing disorders such as asthma. A study by The University of Auckland showed that wheezing at ages 3.5 and 7 years was more common in children who slept on a used mattress in the first year of life.
Considering we moult a bathtub of skin and sweat hundreds of litres while sleeping every year, leak urine (and other fluids), and yes, admit it, sometimes go to bed without washing, it should be no surprise that our mattresses are rather toxic places.
Other allergens, while less repugnant than the creepy dust mite, are being found to cause equally serious problems. For example, it has long been known that the spores of certain fungi--particularly the types commonly known as molds--can trigger allergic reactions. But just how prevalent such problems may be is only now becoming clear.
Even older studies revealed the presence of a fungi (Aspergillus fumigatus) within test mattresses; a potentially pathogenic mould to humans that produces pneumonia like disorders upon inhaling spores. This particular study ended with the warning: "Relatively large numbers of fungal species, represented by large numbers of spores, are present in mattress materials..." *
Mould, like the dust mite, favours the mattress as a domicile because of what we provide to it; sweat. That's right, every night the average adult will perspire up to a litre of moisture into their mattress, and although much of this will evaporate enough remains for mould to germinate; a fact even truer in high humidity zones.
The problem with the solutions
Although solutions have been attempted (e.g. rubber mattress covers, steam cleaning), tests have shown these are only partially effective (as little as 10% effective). Steam cleaning a mattress even exacerbates the mould problem; although lethal to dust mites, the mould thrives further in the extra moisture.
The carpet is not to blame
Some solutions have focused efforts elsewhere to eradicate the problem, the carpet for example. Yet latest studies reveal that the carpet is not the source of our growing respiratory health problems. Instead the carpet acts like a filter, trapping dust and toxins that would otherwise continue to float about in a home with hard surface floors. These dust toxins can then be removed by suitable cleaning.
Yet research into the mattress as a core problem area has largely been neglected--Until now.
Now new technologies, products and processes are set to eradicate the toxic mattress dilemma
Through a process of extraction, intense UV irradiation, and application products designed to prevent dust-mite reappearance and neutralise mould spore germination, the bed may again soon become the place it was always meant to be: A Safe Place To Sleep.