Don’t let your bed become a trigger for allergies this spring, is the message from the National Bed Federation (NBF). Around 44% of British adults suffer from at least one allergy*, and 59% of indoor allergy sufferers say their conditions become worse in the bedroom.
Bites, waking up with congestion or suffering itchy eyes, a stuffy nose and repeated sneezing – all are signs your bed is past its best or that you could be allergic to it. A build-up of moisture (we lose half a pint or more of fluid each night) and skin scales (we lose a pound of skin or more a year) makes beds a favourite breeding ground for the common dust mite – bad news for the nation’s 2-3 million asthma sufferers; and a grim thought for those sleeping on second-hand beds and other peoples’ sweat and skin scales!
That’s why the NBF, the recognised trade association representing UK manufacturers of beds and their suppliers, recommends regular cleaning, airing and use of protective covers to reduce the less pleasant products of sleep.
Simon Williams, marketing manager at the National Bed Federation said: “Almost all beds will, in time, attract house dust mites, whose droppings are highly allergenic. It’s important to take care of your mattress, but we also recommend replacing it about every seven years, because during that time, most Britons would have spent more than 20,000 hours in bed. And while it may sound unpleasant, the moisture and skin cells we all shed at night will take a toll on any mattress over time. Some manufacturers are now using anti-dust mite treated fabrics for tickings and mattress covers which are worth considering. We also advise customers check details of construction and materials if you suffer from any other allergies. Manufacturers will be able to supply you with details of the fillings used in their mattresses.”
How do you know when it’s time to buy a new bed?
While hygiene is a consideration, an uncomfortable bed can also affect your sleep. A bed may have deteriorated by as much as 70% from its ‘as new’ state after 10 years.
If you answer ‘Yes’ to three questions, you’re not getting the best possible night’s sleep. Five or more ‘Yes’ answers and it’s time to buy a new bed.
- Is the bed seven years old or more?
- Do you ever wake up with neck or backache?
- Is the mattress cover torn or stained?
- When lying in bed, do you feel springs or ridges beneath the surface?
- When moving in bed do you hear creaks, crunches or other suspicious noises?
- Do you and your partner roll towards each other unintentionally?
- Is the bed too small to give an undisturbed night’s sleep?
- Would it be embarrassing if the neighbours saw the bed without its covers?
To help you to get the best out of your bed during its natural life, use a washable, protective cover to protect the mattress (and pillows) from stains. Barrier fabrics for allergy sufferers are also available. In the mornings, throw back the bed clothes and leave the bed to air for 20 minutes to allow body moisture to evaporate.
Some mattresses are designed as no-turn, single sided products. Other types require rotating from side to side and end to end which helps upholstery fillings to settle down more evenly. However, some more luxurious mattresses, with much thicker layers of fillings designed to mould themselves to the contours of your body, may retain signs of these impressions, despite turning. These so-called body impressions are a normal characteristic and are not necessarily a sign of product failure.
It’s important when looking for a new bed that the product you buy is made by an Approved NBF Member – just look for the NBF Approved label. The logo is awarded to manufacturers following a stringent independent audit covering areas such as UK flammability regulations, cleanliness of fillings used and trade descriptions. It is an assurance to the consumer that the products they buy are safe, clean and honest.