THOUGHT your bed was clean? Think again…
Your bed sheets could be harbouring more bacteria than a chimpanzee’s bed, new research has found.
Flickr – Getty Your bed is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria from dead skin cells and faecal matter
Experts from North Carolina State University tested the different types of bugs found in human beds and monkey nests and found some grim results.
Lead author Megan Thoemmes, a student at the university, said: “We know that human homes are effectively their own ecosystems, and human beds often contain a subset of the taxa – or types – of organisms found in the home.
“For example, about 35 percent of bacteria in human beds stem from our own bodies, including faecal [poo], oral and skin bacteria.
“We wanted to know how this compares with some of our closest evolutionary relatives, the chimpanzees, which make their own beds daily.”
Getty – Contributor Chimpanzee beds are less likely to harbour faecal, oral or skin bacteria, experts found
Thoemmes and her team swabbed 41 chimpanzee beds and sent them for testing.
They also took a vacuum sample of 15 of the beds to test for different types of bugs and spiders.
Obviously, they had very different types of organisms compared to human beds.
But what was interesting is that chimpanzee beds were much less likely to harbour faecal, oral or skin bacteria.
Getty – Contributor The bacteria left behind in your bed can cause acne and make you ill
“We found almost none of those microbes in the chimpanzee nests, which was a little surprising,” she added.
“We also expected to see a significant number of arthropod parasites, but we didn’t.
“There were only four ectoparasites found, across all the nests we looked at. And that’s four individual specimens, not four different species.
“This work really highlights the role that man-made structures play in shaping the ecosystems of our immediate environment.
“In some ways, our attempts to create a clean environment for ourselves may actually make our surroundings less ideal.”
So…how often should you change your sheets?
According to Dr Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, your bed sheets can accumulate an array of dead skin, bacteria, fungus and mites after just one night’s sleep.
And the average person produces more than 98 litres of sweat each year – some of which is soaked up in your bed sheets.
Dirty bedding can cause breakouts, skin irritations and even make us sick.
Lisa Ackerley, The Hygiene Doctor, previously told The Sun Online: “Depending upon what your bed is used for, and also how clean you are when you get in it (and indeed whether you wear nightwear) your bed can get pretty filthy and may actually be causing your body harm.