Researchers are sounding an alarm about a rather unhygienic bedtime habit: wearing dirty socks to bed.
Recent findings reveal that these socks often harbor bacteria akin to what is found in cockroaches and their fecal droppings, urging people to break this habit immediately.
A study conducted by Mattress Next Day involved polling 1,017 Britons about their sleep habits, and it revealed that 18% of respondents wear socks to bed. What’s more, a staggering 70% of these sock-wearers don’t bother changing into a fresh pair before bedtime, opting to sleep in the same socks they’ve worn all day.
To delve deeper into the issue, researchers took swabs from the socks that had been worn from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
What they discovered was rather alarming: half of these socks contained pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria known to cause infections in humans.
The experts from Mattress Next Day noted that this bacterium typically infects the airway and urinary tract, as well as the lungs. Moreover, it can easily spread on contaminated tools that are not adequately cleaned.
The study also revealed that some of these socks were even dirtier than uncleaned TV remotes, which have previously been found to be “dirtier than a toilet.”
The National Institutes of Health has reported that pseudomonas aeruginosa is frequently found in cockroaches and their feces. Given that pseudomonas aeruginosa spreads easily, wearing dirty socks to bed could result in transferring this bacteria onto bedding, substantially increasing the risk of infection.
In addition to the pseudomonas aeruginosa concern, the study’s experts also emphasized that feet have around 250,000 sweat glands, which can lead to moisture buildup in dirty socks. This moisture creates a breeding ground for fungi known as dermatophytes, which can cause Athlete’s Foot.
To mitigate these risks, the researchers advised individuals who prefer to keep their feet covered during sleep to don a fresh pair of socks before bedtime. They also recommended washing dirty socks at temperatures exceeding 140 degrees Fahrenheit to effectively eliminate all bacteria.