Your sleep space should be a haven that encourages restful slumber. A bedroom should be well-appointed not only with beautiful furnishings and personal touches, but should also feature a supportive mattress, plush pillows, crisp linens and luxurious coverlets. But over time, these items may begin to show wear. And instead of encouraging the peaceful sleep you crave, worn bedding can cause discomfort and other concerns.
It’s important to understand how pillows function and to realize when it is time to replace this very important part of your bedding ensemble. Generally speaking, pillows help to support your head and neck and align your spine during sleep. Pillows can be filled with feathers, down, foam or a variety of synthetic materials. Pillows are created to accommodate back sleepers, side sleepers and stomach sleepers. Selecting the perfect pillow for your sleep habits is a very personal choice.
No matter what kind of pillow you prefer, your body sheds hair, body oil and skin that your pillow absorbs over time. This can cause your pillow to develop unpleasant staining and offensive odors. It can also cause your pillow to attract dust mites. Although some pillows can be washed to extend lifespan, it is important to always consider label instructions when doing so. Washing or other cleaning can keep your pillow fresh, but some items require special care such as hand washing, delicate cycles, line drying or dry cleaning. Down and feather pillows can usually be washed more often, are more durable and can last longer than synthetic or foam pillows.
Unless labelling says otherwise, consider placing your pillow in the dryer periodically to fluff up the filling materials and eliminate dust mites. Use the lowest setting and do not leave your pillow in the dryer for more than 30 minutes.
In addition to laundering and drying, another way to prolong the life of your pillow is to use a pillow cover. An article of bedding separate from a pillow case, pillow covers zip around the pillow body and are washable. They help to limit the pillow’s contact with hair, skin, dust and other items that can soil a pillow and cause wear. Pillow covers should be washed at least monthly.
As a rule, you should replace your pillow every one to two years. If you have severe allergies, you may consider replacing more often. Pillows made of certain materials may need to be swapped out even more frequently or may last a little longer than the two year time frame. Latex and buckwheat pillows can last up to three years. Polyester pillows usually need to be replaced more frequently, sometimes as often as every six months. Pillows made of feathers, memory foam, down and synthetic down all tend to need to be replaced about every two years.
You may need to replace your bed pillows for reasons other than item age. Have you recently changed the way you sleep – on your side, back or stomach - due to a recent surgery, health concern or other reasons? Different sleeping positions require different heights and types of pillows and may mean that you need something different than your current options.
Are you unsure if you should replace your pillow? Monitor your pillow for signs of wear, and monitor your body for signs of discomfort and fatigue that could indicate replacement is needed. In addition, noticeable lumps in filling, stains on pillow fabric can indicate that a pillow is at the end of its usefulness. If you notice that you are frequently waking up exhausted, you are experiencing frequent headaches or you repeatedly adjust, fold or plump your pillow, it is probably time to seek a new one.
Pillows show wear and break down at different rates, depending upon your sleeping style, the amount of time a pillow has been used and a variety of other factors. Never keep a pillow beyond the three year mark. Carefully consider your comfort, the pillow’s supportiveness, and the condition of your pillow when trying to decide if you should replace the item. If you cannot remember how long you have had a pillow, it’s probably time to go shopping for some new, plush, supportive pillows to ensure a peaceful and restorative night of rest.