Is there anything better than crawling between clean sheets after a long day?
Well, most of us wouldn’t know, because a new study shows that we’re not changing our sheets enough — and they’re pretty nasty.
According to the study, published in The Royal Society, humans sleep in beds that are dirtier than the beds chimpanzees sleep in every night.
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Yes, we’re dirtier than animals known for flinging their own poop around like a ball.
"About 35 percent of bacteria in human beds stem from our own bodies, including fecal, oral and skin bacteria," says lead author Megan Thoemmes, a PhD student at North Carolina State University.
Her team then tested 41 chimpanzee nests for the same bacteria and found a startling difference.
"We found almost none of those microbes in the chimpanzee nests, which was a little surprising," Thoemmes said in a statement.
Instead chimpanzee beds had different types of microbes, mostly ones common in the arboreal environments (AKA the trees) they live in.
To be fair, chimps have less time to accumulate their bodily fluids and cells in their beds because they create new ones every night. However, it does serve as a reminder: we should change our bed sheets more than once a millenium.
How often should you change bed sheets? More than you are now
Look, bed sheets get dirty — and there’s no way to avoid it.
Our bodies are constantly shedding skin cells and sweat while we sleep, no matter what.
"You have spores of fungi, bacteria, animal dander, pollen, soil, lint, finishing agents of whatever the sheets are made from, colouring material, all sorts of excrements from the body including sweat, sputum, vaginal, and anal excretions, urine milieu, skin cells," Philip Tierno, a microbiologist and pathologist at the New York University School of Medicine, told Tech Insider.
Add lotions, cosmetics and food to the mix and you’re sleeping on a petri dish of gross every night.
Some of this is harmless, but other things found on bed sheets can aggravate allergies — and then there are dust mites.
"There are dust mite faeces and dust mite debris, which are allergens,” Tierno said. “Even if you don't have an allergy, you react to it as a normal person."
So, how often should you change your bed sheets? Washing them about once a week is fine — and it’s perfectly fine to have several sets of sheets you can swap out so you’re not doing laundry all the time.