Mattress Secrets: Invisible Life and Dangerous Smells

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The aver­age per­son spends a sig­nif­i­cant part of his life on a mat­tress. There­fore, we usu­al­ly approach the choice of a mat­tress thought­ful­ly, tak­ing into account the already exist­ing phys­i­o­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics and health sta­tus. Hav­ing bought a mat­tress, most peo­ple sigh with relief and begin to live on it — for years, with­out even think­ing about the fact that oth­er liv­ing beings set­tle in with them. Yes, and the mat­tress itself may not be such a safe thing.

What we gen­er­al­ly know about mat­tress­es and life with them, on them and inside them, Healthy­in­fo under­stood.

How to determine the life of a mattress?

How to determine the life of a mattress?

Striped Sovi­et-era mat­tress­es with a moun­tain sys­tem of cot­ton balls under the spread­ing fab­ric can still be found in vil­lages, dachas, and even in urban apart­ments for the elder­ly. True, in the lat­ter case, they are more often found in the depths of the mez­za­nines — after all, it is in the 21st cen­tu­ry, when a com­fort­able beau­ti­ful mat­tress costs quite rea­son­able mon­ey. One thing is for sure: the time of wadded mat­tress­es is gone.

And how long do more mod­ern ver­sions live?

The aver­age life of a mat­tress is 8 years. The bet­ter the mate­ri­als, the longer the mat­tress retains its qual­i­ties, but the more expen­sive it is.

    Spring mattresses today have a support system of spirals inside, helping to evenly distribute the load throughout the mattress. This prolongs his life. Such mattresses can last 10 years or more, and if they are double-sided, they can be turned over for even wear.
    Polyurethane memory foam mattresses come in many varieties, but the average life span is 10 to 15 years. They are also recommended to be turned over regularly.
    The lifespan of latex mattresses depends on whether synthetic latex or organic latex is used. But in principle, these are generally “long-playing” mattresses, the period of their use reaches 20–25 years. Also, they are hypoallergenic.
    Hybrid mattresses are a combination of different models: spring, latex, polyurethane, etc. They will not be as durable as most other types of mattresses. Their life span is determined by the quality of springs and polyurethane and averages 6 years.

Dur­ing this time, the mat­tress has time to “pop­u­late” a wide vari­ety of liv­ing organ­isms. We share our mat­tress­es with bac­te­ria, fun­gus, dust mites and, in the worst case, bed bugs.

Who lives in a mattress?

Who lives in a mattress?

    dust mites

These micro­scop­ic insects live in the dust of human apart­ments. A mat­tress for them is an ide­al place to live. Dur­ing the day, we nat­u­ral­ly lose up to half a bil­lion skin cells, which become food for dust mites. If pets also live in the apart­ment, then their dan­druff brings a pleas­ant vari­ety to the diet of ticks.

The main dan­ger of these crea­tures invis­i­ble to the eye is that their waste prod­ucts are com­mon aller­gens. There­fore, it is very impor­tant for aller­gy suf­fer­ers and asth­mat­ics to treat their mat­tress­es in a time­ly man­ner in order to reduce the num­ber of dust mites.

This can be done with the help of cold (in win­ter it is enough to take the mat­tress to the bal­cony for sev­er­al hours) or ultra­vi­o­let (in sum­mer its source is the sun’s rays). How­ev­er, you can also reg­u­lar­ly quartz a room with an open mat­tress with a ger­mi­ci­dal UV lamp. It is impos­si­ble to com­plete­ly get rid of dust mites, but it is quite pos­si­ble to sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce the num­ber.

    Bed bugs

These unpleas­ant blood-suck­ing insects usu­al­ly enter a per­son­’s home from neigh­bor­ing apart­ments or from base­ments, climb­ing the walls. And you can also drag them with old fur­ni­ture, bought on occa­sion from hand. Bed­bugs live in the wood­en frames of old mat­tress­es, but they can­not pen­e­trate the fab­ric cov­er (if there are no holes in it). And if the mat­tress is intact, and there are no eggs or oth­er traces of insects in the seams, but the bugs still bite you at night, look for them in the sur­round­ings: the frame of the bed or sofa itself, base­boards, cracks in the walls, oth­er fur­ni­ture and even par­quet.

    fungi and bacteria

A per­son per year dur­ing a night’s sleep allo­cates some­thing about 100 liters of sweat. This pro­vides a sta­ble cozy humid­i­ty, which is so loved by bac­te­ria and fun­gi, which also nec­es­sar­i­ly live in the depths and on the sur­face of the mat­tress. And the old­er he is, the more sol­id their colonies.

In 2016, Amerisleep pub­lished the results of their study on bed bac­te­r­i­al con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. For 7 years since the pur­chase of brand new mat­tress­es, experts have watched how bac­te­ria set­tle in them. Accord­ing to the data obtained, 3 mil­lion bac­te­ria can be found in a mat­tress dur­ing the first year of its use. By the end of the sec­ond year, their num­ber grows to 9 mil­lion, after 5 years from the date of pur­chase there are already 13.5 mil­lion, and after 7 years — 16 mil­lion bac­te­ria.

The list of microor­gan­isms that live in mat­tress­es includes such dan­ger­ous bac­te­ria as Escherichia coli (Escher­i­hia coli) and Staphy­lo­coc­cus aureus (Staphy­lo­coc­cus aureus), as well as yeasts from the genus Can­di­da and molds.

What does a mattress smell like?

What does a mattress smell like?

The envi­ron­men­tal friend­li­ness of the mate­ri­als from which the mat­tress is made is one of the main con­cerns of well-known man­u­fac­tur­ers today.

How­ev­er, in 2019, Israeli sci­en­tists from the Israel Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy pub­lished a study mea­sur­ing volatile organ­ic com­pounds (VOCs) in polyurethane mat­tress­es. In large quan­ti­ties, VOCs can pose a health haz­ard — cause eye irri­ta­tion, res­pi­ra­to­ry irri­ta­tion, headaches, and even pro­voke the devel­op­ment of can­cer.

The study found that the amount of VOCs emit­ted by mat­tress­es increas­es with increas­ing tem­per­a­ture (that is, when a per­son lies on them). And although the con­cen­tra­tion of VOCs released at the same time was low­er than harm­ful val­ues, but some com­pounds (acetalde­hyde, ben­zene, formalde­hyde) can still be dan­ger­ous for young chil­dren, for whom low­er con­cen­tra­tions of harm­ful com­pounds are dan­ger­ous.

Researchers rec­om­mend ven­ti­lat­ing rooms where peo­ple sleep on polyurethane mat­tress­es as often as pos­si­ble. Sci­en­tists point out that in the air of apart­ments the con­tent of VOCs can be 10 times high­er than their con­cen­tra­tion on the street. And it is bet­ter not to use polyurethane mat­tress­es for small chil­dren, but to replace them with mat­tress­es con­tain­ing cot­ton, wool and nat­ur­al latex.

When is it time to change your mattress?

When is it time to change your mattress?

Time pass­es, the mat­tress wears out, acquires a spe­cial musty aro­ma with hints of chem­istry, and even dry clean­ing is unlike­ly to cope with all unin­vit­ed ten­ants. By what signs does it become clear: it’s time to change the mat­tress?

    The materials inside the mattress lose their shape, stains and scuffs appear on the fabric, sagging, some areas become denser, others vice versa.
    The mattress began to “sound” — in the case of spring mattresses, this is manifested in a constant creaking.
    It became difficult to fall asleep. If you can’t fall asleep within 20–30 minutes, despite being tired, it may be that the uncomfortable mattress is the reason.
    At the same time, in the morning there is stiffness “in all members”, pain and a feeling of numbness in the muscles. The mattress has ceased to be a place of good rest.
    If you use a mattress with a partner, a characteristic sign that the mattress has served its purpose is the motion transfer effect — when the mattress partner changes position, you feel it in the movements of the mattress. And this should not be.
    As soon as you sleep on a mattress, your allergies become aggravated or asthma attacks become more frequent, although it seems to be insignificant so far.
    The mattress was infested with bed bugs.

Changes in back pain, sleep qual­i­ty, and per­ceived stress after intro­duc­tion of new bed­ding sys­tems. / Acob­son BH, Boolani A, Smith DB. // J Chi­ro­pr Med. - 2009

By Yraa

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