There are a lot of things that have been out of our control over the course of 2020 - our social calendar, our ability to plan our next vacation, and in some cases, our financial situation. This year will be marked in history as one of uncertainty.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been the core focal point of our lives in recent months and while it has certainly impacted how we work, it has also impacted how we live. We’re not just talking about the ability to travel internationally or hug family - we’re talking about sleep. With such unprecedented events happening, it is no wonder that sleep quality has deteriorated.
In this article, we are going to look at exactly how COVID-19 has been impacting sleep quality, the challenges that come with sleeping during a pandemic, and why having a clean and comfy bed is important during this time.
How the Pandemic Has Been Affecting Sleep
So, how exactly is the pandemic affecting our ability to sleep?
According to studies, COVID-19 is impacting people’s sleep patterns in two different ways. Those who were experiencing sleep problems prior to the pandemic are reporting that their issues are exacerbated due to anxiety and stress. While others are beginning to display signs of sleep disorders such as insomnia for the very first time during this period.
It seems that good quality sleep is just another casualty of this pandemic and it’s understandable to see why. Seep is a vital component in keeping us healthy from both a physical and mental health perspective, and without it we are unable to handle the economic and lifestyle stressors that we’re facing. The more hours of sleep we lose, the more of an impact it has on our lives.
Not only is the pandemic a giant stressor in itself, but it has created a whole new set of challenges that we must deal with on a daily basis. Juggling work and childcare, practicing social distancing, spending more time at home, having limited access to gyms and fitness centers - all of these factors take a toll on our sleep quality.
What are the Challenges to Sleeping During a Pandemic?
While not everyone has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic in the same way, there are a number of common challenges that everyone is experiencing. Understanding these challenges is vital, especially in relation to the barriers they create for sleep quality.
- Daily Life Disruptions - Profound changes have happened to our everyday routines this year. Keeping on track of a new schedule or dealing with no schedule at all can be hard. Our normal time “anchors” (e.g. dropping the kids to school or going to the gym) are gone entirely and most days are spent nearly entirely inside. This lack of an established routine coupled with low levels of natural light impacts our natural circadian rhythm, making it harder for us to sleep well.
- Heightened levels of anxiety and worry - Increased levels of anxiety and stress are expected during this time. As fear of falling ill combines with anxiety over economic concerns, stress can start to become overwhelming at times, and stress and sleep are not bedtime buddies!
- Increased feelings of loneliness and depression - With social distancing and stay-at-home orders in place, the pandemic has seen many individuals struggle with loneliness, isolation, and depression. Both of these consequences pose great barriers to sleep quality and if not addressed, can lead to significant sleep problems.
- Stress-related fatigue - Chronic stress caused by the pandemic coupled with daily life stressors can lead to physical pain and symptoms, including persistent headaches, digestive issues, and memory problems. Prolonged stress leads to chronic fatigue which in turn causes low energy levels and lack of motivation.
- Increased device usage - Our screen usage has sky-rocketed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether that is scrolling through the news, watching Netflix, or having Zoom parties with friends and family. This increase in screen time also means increased exposure to blue light which is detrimental to sleep quality.
How a Clean and Comfy Bed Can Improve Sleep Quality
As it is a vital part of our biological process, our sleep experience must be high-quality and consistent or it can negatively impact our immune systems, mood, brain functioning, and mental health. Now, more than ever, we need to do all that we can to make sure that our bedrooms become a space for rest and relaxation. Sometimes, that can be as simple as keeping your bed clean and comfy.
It has been found that a clean bedroom environment can help us to relax more, clear our thoughts, makes us feel more comfortable, improve air quality and allow us to wake up each morning more peacefully. If our bed hygiene is less than optimal, then it won’t lead to a restorative sleep.
Clean bedsheets, duvets, comforters and pillows all help to make our beds more comfortable at night. Feeling cozy and comforted as we lay in bed can benefit us as we drift to sleep. Each bedding item, when cleaned on a regular basis, promotes good sleep health and ensures that it is just one other stressor we don’t have to worry about.
After all, nobody wants to add dealing with dustmites or bed bugs to the list of things to deal with during the pandemic.
Best Ways to Keep Your Bed Clean During COVID-19
Now that we know that a comfortable bed can help improve how we sleep in a pandemic, even a little bit, let’s look at how to clean bedding so that we can be comfy every night.
As we’ve talked about before, our beds gather dust, bacteria, sweat, dirt and grime on a regular basis. That is why it is important to ensure you are cleaning each bedding component correctly and frequently. While you may feel that it is important to increase your cleaning arsenal or change how you clean certain household products during the pandemic, that isn’t the case.
Below, we will guide you through the best ways to clean your pillows, duvets, comforters and more.
How to Keep Your Pillows Clean
Your pillows should ideally be washed twice a year or more, depending on different factors such as the humidity levels of where you live. The best way to keep your pillows clean is by placing two pillows in a 50-pound and above front-loading washing machine at the same time. Add in a small amount of fabric softener and a cup of your chosen laundry detergent then proceed to wash on a gentle cycle.
However, depending on pillow fill you may need to alter some steps slightly. Read our in-depth pillow cleaning guide for more insights.
Another great way to keep your pillows cleaner for longer is by investing in a pillow protector such as the Westex bamboo pillow protector. This bedding item acts as a protective barrier between you and your pillow making sure that no dirt or stains get through. Additionally, a bamboo pillow protector is sustainable, eco-friendly, and hypoallergenic helping you to sleep easily and peacefully.
How to Keep Your Duvet and Comforter Clean
When done properly, you only need to clean your duvet every couple of years. Similarly to pillows, depending on the fill of your duvet or comforter there may be different techniques for cleaning this bedding essential.
However, in most cases you should follow these simple steps to keep your duvet and comforter clean during COVID:
- Use a mild liquid detergent
- Wash on a warm, gentle cycle to avoid causing your duvet to rip along the seams
- Rinse multiple times to release any trapped odours, bacteria and laundry detergent
- Tumble dry on a low-heat and hang to dry in a cool and dry storage place
How to Keep Your Bedsheets Clean
Contrary to what you might think, washing bedsheets or bedlinens at a temperature higher than 40 degrees won’t help you kill more bacteria than normal. In fact, it may just damage the fabric of your bedsheets instead.
While it is good to stay vigilant while keeping your bedding clean during the pandemic, when it comes to washing bedsheets you should continue to wash them at just under 40 degrees using a mild laundry detergent. It is also recommended to tumble dry them on high for at least 30 minutes.
Bedsheets should be washed once every two weeks. If a person in your household does fall ill with COVID-19, make sure to wash their pillowcase daily but wait until they stop displaying any symptoms before you wash the rest of the bed linen.
How to Keep Your Mattress Clean
For areas like your mattress which can’t be cleaned as easily as a pillow or duvet, it is important to vacuum and spot treat any stains at least once a month. Start off by lightly vacuuming the sides and top of the mattress. Then, once that is done, begin by spot cleaning any tricky stains using a non-toxic, natural enzyme cleaner.
You can even spray a disinfectant such as Lysol in a wide sweeping motion across the mattress and let it dry completely before placing back the clean bedsheets.
The best way to keep your mattress clean though is to use a comfy, Down Top Featherbed or Microgel Mattress Topper. These luxury bedding items are designed to keep your mattress free from stains, dirt, dead skin cells, bacteria and more.
Sleep Solutions by Westex
While we may not have any control over the course that the pandemic will take, we can help you make sure that your bed stays comfortable, sustainable, and luxurious for the long-term. Here at Westex, we are committed to providing bedding products that are manufactured in an ethical and sustainable way so that you can be assured that each Westex product you purchase is made with our customers and the environment in mind.
We treat many of our products with Ultra-Fresh Antimicrobial Technology which ensures that products offer antimicrobial benefits and stay cleaner and fresher for longer. Interested in hearing more about how you can partner with us? Get in touch with us today.