Here is the reality. There are probably millions of dust mites in your mattress right now. These little guys thrive off dead skin cells, and in the course of an 8 hour night, you lose a lot of dead skin cells. They love warm, humid environments that are full of dead skin cells and a pillow top or memory foam mattress is a buffet for these guys.
It is actually the dust mites feces (poop) that causes nighttime allergies in about 10% of the population. The dust mites themselves don’t bite or do anything harmful to humans, but their feces can get into our respiratory tracts and wreak havoc for about one in ten of us. Since dust mites aren’t harmful to most of us this is a non-issue, but if you have been struggling with nighttime allergies it can be extremely frustrating.
So what can you do to prevent them? Launder your bedding in hot water regularly to keep it free from dead skin cells building up is a good start. Using a mattress pad is also a good suggestion. You can purchase dust-mite proof mattress pads, however, you are basically putting a plastic sheet on your mattress that prevents your dead skin cells from working there way into the mattress. Sleeping on plastic is hot, sweaty, and in our opinion, not the healthiest option. Using a wool mattress pad, and laundering regularly will help keep your mattress protected without the downside of sleeping on a plastic sheet, which will cause you to sweat more and sleep hotter. Another important tip is to wash your pillow and pillowcase regularly.
Pets are another source of dander that dust mites love, so if you know you struggle with nighttime allergies keeping your pets off your bed may be in your best interest.
Choosing materials that dry quickly and are well ventilated also help. That is one of the reasons why natural latex performs better than traditional polyurethane foam and wool better than cotton or polyester fibre in regards to dust mites.
A normal mattress can have as much as 10% of its weight added to it by just your dead skin cells in as little as two years and contain literally millions of dust mites feasting on your dead skin cells. so prevention and maintenance is the key. If you are struggling with nighttime allergies, and on a mattress that is several years old getting a new mattress might be your only option.
Remember, for most people dust mites aren’t harmful so there is no need to be alarmist about dust mites. This is a very logical place to start though for about 10% of people who are struggling with nighttime allergies which will impact your quality of sleep, There are no materials that are dust mite free. The key is to keep your bed clean, dry and ideally avoid direct skin contact with your mattress cover.