In a recent study, it was revealed that 5 million adults change their sheets less than once every four weeks. You might find this news a little shocking – so how often should we be stripping the bed and changing the sheets?

Professor Sally Bloomfield, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, suggests that if you don’t change your sheets regularly, you increase the risk of spreading bacteria. But what’s regularly? She recommends anything between one or two weeks is the perfect amount of time for changing your bed linens.

Professor Bloomfield is quick to acknowledge that some people who don’t wash their sheets for months will not necessarily get sick, but it’s all about reducing the risk of problems. The unappetizing fact is that the millions of skin cells that are shed on sheets attract dust mites, which produce droppings that contain allergens. These can lead to asthma, fever and itching eyes.

When you do get round to stripping the beds, Martha Stewart recommends washing your sheets in warm water, rather than hot water, to avoid shrinking the fibres of your sheets. She also suggests washing printed and coloured pillowcases inside-out to protect the colour.

Another tip is to remove the bed linen from the dryer before it’s fully dry, so that there is less creasing. Having said that, always make sure your sheets are nice and dry before putting them away in the linen closet, or you could be faced with mildew when you bring them out again.

When you consider that we spend around a third of our lifetime in bed, it makes sense to make your bed as clean and comfortable as possible. Follow these simple tips and you should be able to sleep a little more easily tonight!