Yup, just like your clothes, your sheets get grimy from sweat, drool (hey, it happens) and other bodily fluids. But there’s another unseen culprit: dead skin cells. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, we shed 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells every day. Many of which linger in your bed long after you’ve gotten up to make coffee.
These dead skin cells invite dust mites to feed on them and those teeny bugs flourish in warm, humid settings—just like your cozy bed. “Your body sheds approximately two teaspoons of dead skin [each night], which the dust mites consume. They do not transmit diseases but their poo has enzymes that can cause allergies or asthma,” explains Harriet Jones, cleaning and maintenance supervisor for Go Cleaners London, a U.K.-based cleaning company.
In addition to dust mites and their poop (yuck!), Dr. Janet Kennedy, a sleep specialist for direct-to-consumer online mattress company Leesa, says that bedding can accumulate other allergens like pet dander and pollen, all of which can cause congestion and other allergic reactions. “Congestion can lead to snoring, which affects sleep quality (and relationships),” she explains. “Furthermore, a clean bed just feels good and that helps us to relax and settle into a good night’s sleep.”