It stands to reason that people with a clean home are both physically and mentally in better shape than their peers with less clean homes and now studies have demonstrated tangible links between cleanliness and well being.
Health Benefits of Cleaning House
Researchers at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab found that living in a messy environment is more stressful. People who are stressed or depressed about their disorganized living space tend to over-eat which leads to poorer physical health. In other studies, women with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol admitted their homes were in disorder.
Clutter and untidiness can cause stress and anxiety by telling the brain that our work is not complete. This sense of unfinished business can lead to poor sleep when the brain cannot rest. A study by the National Sleep Foundation in 2011 found that 75 per cent of those interviewed reported sleeping better in a clean, fresh and tidy bed and people with a habit of making their bed each morning have a 19 per cent better chance of a good night’s rest.
Keeping a clean house also reduces allergens such as pet dander, mold and dust mites that accumulate in a dirty home. Air quality can be as much as five times poorer indoors than outside in a poorly kept house.
Cleaning counts as exercise! Mopping, vacuuming, scrubbing and dusting all involve movement and can help improve circulation and burn calories. You may notice people with a clean home are more energetic and seem healthier.
Cutting the clutter in our homes also leads to greater productivity. When we don’t have to search for items lost in the mess, we can work faster have more time for leisure activities. A well organized kitchen will inspire preparing nutritious meals with less frustration trying to find the right tools for the job. When the fridge is kept clear of aging leftovers and questionable perishables, making a healthy food choice becomes simple.
A messy and clutter-filled home is also a danger for older adults. Piles of magazines or laundry blocking free movement can be a fall hazard and for those with assistive devices such as walkers or wheelchairs, can present a real danger in case of a fire or other emergency.
Keeping a clean home can help you live well and a highly disorganized, unclean house can be a warning sign, especially with older adults that all is not well. Next time you put off washing the dishes or sorting the mail, think of how much better you will feel when the task is done!