Whether you are an avid business traveler or just planning an upcoming trip with the family, there is a good chance that you’ve heard about all the recent bed bug infestations. Even some of today’s highest regarded and esteemed lodges seem to have encountered bed bug problems. This is why it pays to know how to protect yourself and not leave the job to anyone else. Thus, learning to take advantage of the SLEEP acronym is essential.
You can’t spell SLEEP without the starting S. While it is the first letter of the acronym, it is without a doubt the crucial starting point to the entire process. It represents a survey which basically means what the word implies. You want to begin your process by surveying the hotel room for signs of a bed bug infestation. Heck, if you are staying at a friend’s or relative’s home, you want to do the same. Thus, the question becomes, how does one properly survey their room for an infestation. You start with the smell.
A big bed bug infestation will give off a sweet, musty scent. It’ll be similar to that of the sweet odor that soda pop syrup emits. Keep your nose in the air and your nostrils open, seeking this smell.
LIFT And LOOK
So important it has two meanings. And, those meanings would be to lift and look. This virtually means not to just conduct a visual survey of your entire sleep quarters. You want to physically move, lift, and elevate objects that might be in your way. Starting with the sheets, pillows, mattresses, and box springs will be the best likely starting points. A magnifying glass can be an immense help, but it is not likely you’ll have one on at hand.
However, whether you do or not, you’ll want to look for reddish-brown spots on the sheets. This can usually represent dried blood from where the bugs have been feeding during the late hours of the night. This is something that will likely only appear after several nights in the room. The sheets will be freshly washed during your first night.
The first E in the acronym represents elevate. It pretty much means what you’d think. It means to keep your luggage elevated. While bed bugs are proficient travelers and hitchhikers, they can’t latch on if they can’t reach your belongings. One of the best ways to keep them off your belongings is by placing them way up high where they can’t reach. Be sure to take full advantage of the hotel’s racks and dressers, after properly inspecting them, of course.
The second E in the SLEEP theory represents examine and it pretty much means what you’d think. It means to examine your luggage. However, this is a step that needs to be applied before heading out. You’ll want to make sure that you reexamine your luggage, clothes, and anything you are taking back on your return trip.
It might be the last letter in the entire theory, but that certainly doesn’t make it any less vital to the equation. In this situation, the P represents placement. When you think about it, this is a genius step. It is a well-known scientific fact that bed bugs cannot stand up to the scrutiny of heat. At 113 degrees F for 90 minutes or longer bed bugs will die. If exposed to 118 degrees F for 20 minutes, they’ll die.
This is why the last step to the process is crucial. It’s the P and it represents placement. Placing all your clothes or belongings in the dryer and heating them for 90 minutes of the highest heat setting possible.