Where to Sleep if You Have Bed Bugs

You may have recently found bed bugs crawling across your bed (or your skin), and you’re worried about sleeping in the same bed. It’s normal to want to leave your bed and crash somewhere else upon discoveries like this.

However, you’ll be risking introducing bed bugs to that place and spreading the infestation! 

So, where to sleep if you have bed bugs?

Unfortunately, there’s no good answer to the question of where to sleep if you have bed bugs. No matter where you go, you risk spreading them. This is why bed bugs are such a nightmare.

This article addresses your options when your home is infested, and we’ll see actionable tips that may help if you’re sleeping in a bed with bed bugs.

Let’s dive in!

Where to Sleep If You Have Bed Bugs

After discovering bed bugs, your mind may be racing with ways to avoid them, and you may be considering your options. You have a few options.

  1. Sleep in your bed, but encase your box spring and mattress. Cover yourself as much as possible.
  2. Sleep on the couch. However, you risk transporting the bugs to your couch
  3. Go to another room. The bugs may follow you there, and you risk infesting that room too.
  4. Get a hotel room. If the bugs infest that, they can spread throughout the hotel and infest future guests.

Your best bet is generally option one. There’s no way to escape bed bugs, so your best bet is to live with them and work on eliminating the infestation. Cover yourself up as much as possible, as bed bugs can’t bite through clothing.

How Do You Know You Have Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that are difficult to notice, especially at the early stages of infestation. All it takes is the presence of one female bed bug to kick off an infestation.

They don’t make noise, and they hide in the cracks and crevices. They are difficult to notice until it’s too late.

Some signs will tell you if you have a real bug problem. You don’t have to see the bugs before knowing there’s an infestation. Here are some early signs that you have a bed bug problem: 

1. Itchiness from Bites

Being bitten and suffering from itchiness is your home’s biggest sign of bed bugs. Although these bugs don’t transmit diseases, they are irritating and frustrating. They tend to bite your head, neck, and arms more than other parts of your body because they are the most accessible parts of your body when you’re asleep.

Their bites look like raised, red blotches on the skin. And the itchiness may last up to a week or two later. You’ll want to avoid scratching the spots where you’ve been bitten, as scratching will result in a rash, increasing the inflammation and risk of infection.

2. Bloodstains on Bedding Materials

Bed bugs are attracted to body heat, exhalation, and blood. They actively seek and bite you because they depend on your blood as a food source for their young.

Bed bugs are attracted to body heat and blood.

Seeing tiny red stains on your bed sheets, mattress, and pajamas is a sign your home is infested with bed bugs. The stains could result from the bugs extruding the excess water from their meal or from rolling and squashing some bed bugs while you sleep.

3. Musty Odor

Bed bugs give a room a musty, damp odor. The odor may come from any piece of furniture and is similar to the smell of old, moldy clothing or a wet dog.

The musty smell emanates from the scent glands of bed bugs. You can tell how large a bed bug infestation is by how obvious the smell is.

4. Eggs, Exoskeletons, and Excrement

Seeing bed bugs’ eggs and excrement may be as unpleasant as seeing their blood stains on your bedding material and clothes. The bugs’ droppings look like brown, rust-colored specks and may be found on your bed frame, mattress, sheets, etc.

You may also find their husks lying around. Bed bugs have exoskeletons; as they age, they outgrow their exoskeletons, shed them, and develop new ones. If there’s an infestation in your home, you’ll likely find shed exoskeletons around your bed.

You may also find their eggs which are white and usually in clusters. The eggs are incredibly tiny and can be easily overlooked. They look like grains of rice, but are the size of a grain of salt.

However, combined with those mentioned above, they are unmistakable signs of a bed bug infestation.

5. Poor Sleep

Heat rash resulting from a bed bug bite can be so severe that it affects your sleep. When combined with the other signs stated above, uncomfortable and restless nights are strong indicators that there are bed bugs in your bed, and that you need the services of a professional.

Heat rash resulting from a bed bug bite can be so severe that it affects your sleep.

Tips for Sleeping in a Bed with Bed Bugs

We have some actionable tips to help you sleep peacefully in your bed, even if your home is infested with bed bugs. First, check for the above signs to ensure you truly have a bed bug problem.

Don’t panic if you confirm you have an infestation. You can do a few things on your own before calling a specialist.

Don’t panic if you confirm you have an infestation. You can do a few things on your own before calling a specialist.

These tips will help you sleep even though you know there are bed bugs around.

1. Vacuum

Vacuum everything you think may be infested, from the box spring, mattress, and bed frame, to the headboard and floors. Dump the contents and clean the dust chamber using 91% alcohol. Then, place the whole vacuum in a secure bag until a specialist comes to help.

2. Encase the Box Spring and Mattress

Encasing your box spring and mattress will keep bed bugs and their eggs sealed, reducing the number of bed bugs biting.

3. Steam Clean

Using a bed bug steamer is an excellent way to keep those pests at bay. The steamer uses high-temperature steam to kill the bugs on contact. It’s a safe way to exterminate pests and is non-toxic and eco-friendly. 

Note: make sure you tell the company that you’re steam cleaning for bed bugs. You don’t want to accidentally spread your infestation to the next person!

4. Don’t Let Laundry Pile Up

Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry, so don’t give them the opportunity to set up there. Every night, put your clothes in the laundry and stay on top of your washing. The high heat from the laundry will kill bed bugs, so you need to be laundering everything, including your bedding, regularly.

4. Keep your Body Fully Clothed

Wearing long pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts will make it difficult for the bugs to bite you. They don’t bite through clothing, so wearing full clothes to bed will prevent them from biting you (for the most part).

5. Use Essential Oils

Essential oils can help you repel bed bugs. The most effective essential oils include cedar, lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus. Add a few drops of the oil to your scented lotion and apply it to your body.

The oil’s scent will mask your own through the night and repel them. This is a short-term way to keep them away from you until a specialist comes to help.


If you’re infested with bed bugs, there’s nowhere you can go to be free of them. You have to deal with your infestation, not run away from it.

Bed bugs don’t destroy your home as termites do. But as infestations go, they’re just about as bad, because they take over your life. You can’t feel safe in your home, and you’re worried that wherever you go, you’ll spread the infestation to friends, family, and random people.

Call a specialist as soon as possible, you’ll need help. But in the meantime, you can use the tips above to repel them and keep them contained.