Study finds human beds less hygienic than chimpanzee nests

Study finds human beds less hygienic than chimpanzee nests
Photo credit: AAP

Chimpanzee nests have been found to be more hygienic than our beds.

A new study from researchers at North Carolina State University found human sleeping arrangements harbour more bacteria as we insist on using the same sheets repeatedly. 

Although chimpanzees are known for throwing their own faecal matter around, researchers found they build fresh beds form branches and leaves every day. 

PhD student Megan Thoemmes lead the study and collected swabs from 41 chimp nests in Tanzania. 

Compared with the bacteria of a human bed, "we found almost none of those microbes in the chimpanzee nests, which was a little surprising," she said.

A third of the bacteria found in human beds come from our own bodies: skin, oral or faecal matter.

The study found a standard household duvet held up to 20,000 dust mites as a result of repeated use.

The NCSU study concluded that humans "have created places in which our exposure to soil and other environmental microbes has all but disappeared, and we are instead surrounded by less diverse microbes that are primarily sourced from our own bodies".

As a result of evolution and distancing ourselves from sleeping in nature but rather in a "clean" bed, the study found we have increased our vulnerability to allergies. 

Megan Thoemmes said, "In some ways, our attempts to create a clean environment for ourselves may actually make our surroundings less ideal."