How the Pillowcases in Your Home Could be Ruining Everyone’s Sleep

Fitted bedding

For being the cousin of death as Shakespeare so eloquently considered it, there’s a whole lot of living that goes on while your body and mind are sound asleep. In this relaxed, peaceful, and dreamy state of rest and relaxation, your conscious and cognitive brain dives deep into a slow state of inactivity, while your subconscious goes to work processing the activities, information, and memories of the day, a process known as dreaming. And just as your brain activity slows down from a sprint to a crawl, you body does the same thing with its metabolic processes. Your breathing and heart rate descend into a slow, steady rhythm, your organs slow as well, and most people sleep through the night without waking up to eat, drink or use the bathroom.

So what exactly is your body doing that’s so important during all this time that it’s asleep? Simple; it’s healing. Everyone knows how awful it feels try and function without a good night’s sleep, and that’s because your body and mind didn’t have enough time to recover from the day before. While your body and conscious brain drift off to sleep, they go to work to repair your body, including any wounds, your organs, your cells, and just about everything else. And being your largest organ, sleep is especially important to your skin.

Sleep is the perfect time for your skin to recover from the internal and external environmental stress of the day. A good night’s sleep can do wonders in terms of getting rid of dark circles, returning a youthful glow to one’s face, and healing superficial wounds. And since you spend roughly a third of your life asleep, it’s easy to see the important link between sleep and skin. As such, it should be easy to see why paying careful attention to what you’re sleeping on is just as important as how much sleep you’re getting.

A place to rest your head at night…kind of

Nothing beats the refreshing respite of the cool side of the pillowcase, but pillowcases are actually gross. In fact, they’re just as dirty as your toilet seat. According to a 2012 study performed by biologist Robert Dunn of North Carolina State University, bacterial swabs from household toilet seats and pillowcases are nearly indistinguishable in terms of quantities of bacteria and types of bacteria. Surprisingly — or unsurprisingly depending on who you ask — gut microbes were found in both places. That means fecal bacteria is making itself right at home on pillowcases throughout your home.

And after night after night of sleeping on dirty pillowcases, your skin can suffer as a result. Not only do cotton pillowcases suck vital moisture out of hair and skin that can lead to premature wrinkles and frizzy hair, but all that fecal bacteria can cause skin problems such as acne, impetigo, staph infections, and other skin disorders. That means that even the cool side of the people can cause some issues in terms of the condition of your skin. But this can easily be solved simply by frequently changing your pillowcase and washing it frequently in hot water.

Aside from pillowcases, the rest of your bedding can also cause some serious problems in terms of allergies and skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Dust mites feed off of dead human skin and love taking refuge in bedding in order to be closer to their food source. Allergy sufferers can benefit from using a hypoallergenic waterproof mattress protector and protective pillow cases to keep dust mites at bay. Some allergy sufferers even go the extra mile and choose to use hypoallergenic waterproof fitted bed sheets covers to prevent both dust mites and moisture from ruining a mattress.

Although washing your sheets is important, it’s equally important to be mindful of the detergent you’re using to wash your sheets. While some detergents may smell like a bouquet of sweet flowers, they’re also loaded with potential skin irritants that can cause itching, inflammation, and redness. For allergy sufferers and those with eczema or other skin disorders, this can spell trouble and diminish the quality of sleep.

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