The percentage of people who make their beds in the morning in America is relatively high. A 2011 poll by the National Sleep Foundation reported a figure of 71 percent. A similar statistic arose out of a 1993 report by the Leo Burnett ad agency, which found that 74 percent made beds daily. While some research shows that people sleep better in an orderly environment, at least one study indicates that leaving the bed unmade may be healthier.
National Sleep Foundation Poll
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) "bedroom poll" was based on responses from 1,500 randomly selected individuals in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 55. The respondents who said they make their beds daily were 19 percent more likely to report regularly getting a good night's rest. Overall, respondents said clean sheets, a comfortable bedroom and a tidy bed helped them to sleep longer.
Leo Burnett Report
In 1993, a reporter for "New York Magazine" asked the research department of Leo Burnett, a worldwide ad agency, to provide information about American habits. One of the questions the writer asked concerned how Americans make their beds. The report said that while most made their bed daily, 21 percent did so occasionally and 5 percent never did. In addition, the agency reported that 3 percent of Americans, including twice as many men as women, changed sheets daily.
A casual survey at the Apartment Therapy website in 2009 asked readers if they regularly made their beds. Of the 35 people who responded, 24 said that they were devoted to making their beds daily. One reader felt that leaving the house without doing so was impossible while another said that a "too-perfect bed is uninviting." Many noted that completing the task makes them feel good and takes only minutes to accomplish.
Dust Mite Study
Researchers at London's Kingston University in 2005 discovered that dust mites thrive in beds that are made. They noted that an average bed in Britain could house up to 1.5 million dust mites. Bedding contains scales of human skin and moisture from the body during sleep, both of which are necessary for the bugs' survival. Dust mites are a major problem for many people who have asthma. Kingston University concluded that people should leave bedding exposed to the air so dust mites will dehydrate and die.
Yet dust mites aren't a problem in dry climates, according to research by Denver's National Jewish Hospital, an institution focused on allergies and asthma. Dust mites don't survive in homes where relative humidity is less than 60 percent because they require the presence of a fungus called aspergillus that only grows in humid conditions. The Colorado State University Cooperative Extension notes that aspergillus aids dust mites by making human dander more digestible.
- National Sleep Foundation; Bedroom Poll -- Summary of Findings; 2011
- WebMD: Want to Sleep Better? Make Your Bed
- Google Books; New York Magazine; The Examined Life; Bernice Kanner; 1993
- Apartment Therapy; AT Survey -- Making the Bed; 2009
- Kingston University, London; Messy Bedroom Could Spell End for Creepy Crawlies; 2005
- Colorado State University Cooperative Extension; House Dust Mites Are Not a Problem in Colorado; Whitney Cranshaw; 2010
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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