How your bed may be making you sick

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Bacteria, fungi, and allergens could be lingering in your bed. When you move in your sleep, you kick them up into the air and breathe them in.

(CNN) — Ah, your bed. After a long day, you look forward to getting in it. You feel safe, secure and snuggly.

But what’s inside your bed may be making you sick, not safe.

There’s a multitude of contaminants — bacteria, fungi and allergens — that you can’t see but studies show are there. When you move around as you sleep, you kick them up until the air and breathe them in.

Here’s what’s lurking in your bed.

Dust mite poop

Four out of five homes in the United States have at least one bed with dust mites, according to the American Lung Association. Believe it or not, the pests themselves aren’t the big problem. It’s their feces.

“Dust mite droppings are highly allergenic,” said Dr. William Berger, a fellow with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Even if you aren’t allergic to dust mite feces — and only an allergy test can tell you for sure — they might still irritate you, the way pepper would if it blows into your nose and eyes.

Solution: The American Lung Association has several recommends for limiting dust mites, including getting rid of carpets and damp mopping your floors.

Mold and fungi

Brendan Boor, an assistant professor of civil engineering at the Purdue University College of Engineering, studies beds for a living. He said research shows that beds have mold, fungi and bacteria, contaminants smaller than the diameter of your hair.

The fungus facts alone will make you shudder. One study looked at 10 pillows in regular use and found that they collectively had 47 species of fungi.

Solution: Boor recommends placing an air purifier with a HEPA filter next to your bed.

Gallons of sweat

Think about it: You spend a third of your life in bed, so you’re going to sweat there — up to 26 gallons a year, according to some studies.

“You can have strep or staph on your skin, and that could infect you or your partner,” Berger said.

Solution: The American Lung Association recommends that you wash your bedding in hot water at least once a week.

Your pet’s bodily waste

No matter how much you love your pet, you might be allergic to their dander, urine and saliva.

Solution: If you have a pet, Boor recommends vacuuming your mattress and pillows at least once a week. Even if you don’t have one, he says, vacuuming is useful to get rid of other contaminants.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.