25/10/2016 11:18 BST | Updated 24/10/2017 06:12 BST

Student Beds: A Breeding Ground... In More Ways Than One

It's that time of year again when students are flying the nest and settling into their new student digs. Whether it's furnished halls or rented accommodation, it is no secret that the standards can often be questionable. Furnished houses are a life-saver to a typically poor student, but this value comes at the expense of hygiene. Students who are living in shared and rented accommodation often end up sleeping on mattresses that are much older than the recommended lifespan of eight years and pose a hazard to their health.

Somethings in life definitely get better with age: a fine wine, a leather jacket - or even Daniel Craig, but mattresses just aren't one of them. In eight years, we spend an average of 20,761 hours in bed - and undoubtedly more for students. In that time, mattresses end up soaked with their owners' dried bodily fluids and a total of five kilograms of dead skin cells are shed, the same weight as two newborn babies.

A student's health is already compromised at the beginning of the university year, with the infamous 'Freshers Flu' and countless self-induced hangovers. An old mattress is likely to trigger additional health problems, as well as leading to poor sleep.

When a student rents a furnished flat, they have no idea how old any of the furniture is, including the piece that they use the most - the mattress. Rarely would students think about the state of the mattress or about the importance of sleeping well. But, hidden beneath bed linen and the mattress topper, the hygiene of a mattress is easily overlooked. Over the years, a buildup of bacteria, yeast and skin cells creates a visible layer within the mattress. In eight years, we shed an average of 4.84kg of dead skin cells. The skin cells aren't a problem on their own but they are a feeding ground for dust mites, which brings out asthma and eczema.

The best solution is to make sure that you're sleeping on a new or nearly new mattress when you get to university. This isn't always possible however, and so Hyde & Sleep have produced some top tips to help students keep their mattresses as hygienic as possible this academic year:

1. Keep your bedroom ventilated and open windows when possible. You can also leave the duvet pulled back for a few hours after waking up, allowing the bed to cool faster. This will restrict the growth of moulds and yeasts.

2. Wash your sheets regularly. Put pillowcases, sheets and covers on a hot wash as higher temperatures are required to kill germs and dust mites - ideally 60°C plus.

3. Using a mattress protector will help to reduce the amount of fluid that is absorbed by a mattress. You can wash this regularly, but of course you can't wash your mattress.

4. Replace it every eight years - it really is important! Don't be afraid to ask your landlord the age of the mattress. You're well within your rights to ask for a replacement if necessary.

British brand Hyde & Sleep manufactures and delivers vacuum-packed and boxed memory foam and pocket sprung mattresses, direct to customers. The mattresses come in four different sizes, suitable for any bed size that the student houses may be furnished with, as well as a 100 day test policy and a ten year guarantee.