All you need to know about the house dust mite
For the Curious

House dust mites (HDM), a risk to sleep

Three most important functions to human life are heartbeat, breath and sleep. An active allergy to house dust mites (HDM) can interfere with breath and sleep. Wheezing, sneezing or itching, caused by an allergic reaction, is a known risk to sleep. In children, poor sleep can result in poor concentration at school. If chronic it can even threaten a child's self-esteem.
Time asleep for an adult can average from 3 to 11 hours depending upon personal needs. This is considered normal. But to loose one hour of normal sleep can impact upon performance during the day. Chronic deprivation of sleep can affect quality of life.

In our culture we tend to share our beds with our partners. During sleep an adult will move between 40 to 60 times. We shed skin scales, perspire and take into our beds pollen, bacteria, fungi and mould. All of which can be trapped in a mattress and bedding. Research scientists from Oxford University investigated life in a mattress and found fungi in abund ance plus colonies of house dust mites that survive by scavenging on the debris from sleep.

A progressive build up of this debris can lead to poor sleeping conditions and a disruption of sleeping patterns affecting one partner or both. The recognised barriers to improvements in quality sleep have been listed as:

  • Poor communication between carers or partners
  • Failure to appreciate the nature of disturbance
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Failure to comprehend treatment
  • Lack of suitably qualified health professional to implement treatment

For Adults, poor sleep can cause:

  • Poor concentration
  • Reduced productivity
  • Fatigue, feeling worn out
  • Depression
  • Restless
  • Irritable

For Children, poor sleep can cause:

  • Sleepiness
  • Falling behind in school
  • Altered moods or bouts of depression, inattentive
  • Anxiety, behavior problems

Developing children are most at risk from the affects of poor sleep as they may be unaware of a problem and therefore have no concept of seeking a solution. Many of these children may consider their state as personally 'normal' and suffer in silence. Self-esteem is at risk.

  • Removing dust mites to reduce allergic response in sensitive children may enhance their personal development and improve learning, memory, attendance, concentration and academic performance.
  • Compared with matched controls, children with asthma had significantly more disturbed sleep, tended to have more psychological problems, and they performed less well on some tests of memory and concentration.
  • Sleep hygiene, a medical term, is mainly concerned with ensuring that the sleeping environment is conducive to sleep, encouraging regular sleeping routines and avoiding influences likely to make it difficult to get to sleep and sleep soundly

Ideally, a healthy bedroom should have fresh air, clean dry bedding and night clothes, and be situated in an uncluttered room with appropriates reduction of sound and light. Pillows, mattress and duvet should be covered with clinically proven, anti-mite, woven material.

To search our site for clinical specifications, look for: Mite Proof Material, Here is What Scientists Say is Best.


References

'Clinical Services for sleep disorders', Archives of Disease in Childhood, 1998:79:495-497 Stores G, Wiggs L

Learning, School Performance, and Children with Asthma: How Much at Risk? 'Journal of Learning Disabilities', Vol 26. No. 1, Jan. 1993.p 23-32, Celano M.P, Geller R.J.

'Sleep and psychological disturbance in nocturnal asthma'. Stores G, Ellis A J, Crawford C, Thomson A, 'Archives of Disease in Childhood', 1998, Vol.78, No 5 P413-419