Does Your Comfy Old Pillow Need to Be Replaced? How to Tell

by Tyler Moyer | | | 0 Comments

Unless you work in bedding or have very eclectic hobbies, chances are you don't know all there is to know about pillows. After all, we put our heads on them to sleep at night, close our eyes, and go to sleep. And, what's more, they're usually in a case anyway, so old pillow, young pillow none of it makes much difference to the man on the street.

Or does it? Are there things to look out for in order to know for sure whether your pillow is on the skids or still has a little life in it yet?  We all know sleep is such an important factor in our lives. And what are the health risks of not replacing your pillow well ahead of time? 

Join us today as we break down this issue, as we ask "Does your comfy old pillow need to be replaced?"

Why Does It Even Matter If You Replace Your Pillow?

We spend all night sleeping. With all that time spent in one place, completely inert, the body tends to shed skin, hair and body oils that absorb into the pillow. It might sound gross, but it does more of this than you may realize.

When these substances accumulate, the pillow you leave them on can and will begin to smell. Wash them regularly to keep any unpleasant aromas at bay.

In addition to the smell, over time this kind of build-up will attract dust mites, which grow and multiply on pillows. These little creatures work their way through your pillow and casing, reducing its long-term lifespan. These dust mites are actually not dangerous, but the idea of them in your bed, eating your skin, is more than a little unsettling.

One special note should be made with regard to dust mites before we move on. For people with allergies, dust mites will often make their symptoms worse. And, given that they're experiencing this in bed every night, this tends to interfere with their sleep cycles.

Even when consistent dusting solves the problem of dust mites, a pillow is still a physical object. It has a lifespan, and will not last forever. A sleeping head is a heavy head, and that weight on your pillow overnight, every night, will cause any pillow to wear out.

Signs Your Pillow Needs To Be Replaced

We can talk all day about the lifespan of a pillow, but the truth is everybody uses theirs differently. Some of us resort to Google searches like "How to make a pillow fluffy again", but there's a point where your pillow will give out.

Warning signs should be followed for best results in your bedroom. If any of the following occurs, it is time to replace your pillows:

  • Noticeable lumps formed deep within the foam and filler material of the pillow itself.
  • Noticeable or permanent stains on any part of the pillow from either sweat or oil.
  • In particular, if you are waking up with aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, or upper back.
  • You are unnaturally tired which, in many cases, is a clear sign you're tossing in your sleep or at least not getting full, undisturbed rest.
  • You have begun waking up with headaches and other pains in your head and shoulders, which you never had before.
  • You are waking up sneezing at regular intervals throughout the night.
  • You find yourself fluffing your pillows to maintain a comfortable posture.
  • The fold test, wherein you fold a feather pillow in half and wait to see how it snaps back. If yours does not expand again, this is a good sign it needs to be replaced or at least restuffed.
  • There may also be times when it is necessary to replace your pillow for reasons that have nothing at all to do with age. Maybe you've found something better for your purposes. Maybe you're throwing a little more money at the problem and investing in a high-end make and model of the pillow. 

Whatever your cause for changing out pillows, remember you're here to get your money's worth. Check out the reviews, find the best option for your needs, and get to work on improving your next night's sleep, today!

For example, if you changed your sleeping position to your back, you need a new pillow with a different height. Different heights are required to align the spine, neck, and head based on your sleeping position.

If you are allergic, you will need to replace the pillow more regularly than the recommended life below, since it is more sensitive to dust mites.

How Often Should You Replace Your Pillows?

A general rule of thumb when it comes to replacing pillows is to aim for every one-to-two years. Of course, every pillow is different, however, and there will be different lifespans, depending on which you use. This applies to everything else on your bed, too.

So, for a closer look, let's break down each pillow and its average lifespan, so you can see for yourself where your pillow slots in:

  • Buckwheat Pillows: three years
  • Down Pillows: two years and up
  • Feather Pillows: 18 months to three years
  • Latex Pillows: three-to-four years
  • Memory Foam Pillows: 18 months to three years
  • Polyester Pillows: six months to two years
  • Synthetic Down Pillows: 18 months to two years

Get Rid Of That Old Pillow, Today

Your mileage may vary, but this gives you the information you need to spot a pillow that needs replacing, and to know where to shop for the replacement. Ultimately, the rate at which your pillow will lose its elasticity and firmness is about as unique as the pillow itself.

Maybe for you, it'll all come down to bodily oils softening the integrity of your pillow, night after night. Perhaps your synthetic down pillow's just run the course of its two-year lifespan and you're feeling it "go".

It's your call to make, and many people choose to make it even before their old pillows start to act up. For those people, it's more of an investment into a consistently "fresh" pillow than anything else. And, given that these are the pillows they will be sleeping on every night until they get a new one, can you really blame them?

On the quest for the perfect night's sleep? For questions from "How to choose bedding for better sleep" to "Is there a connection between sleep and weight loss?" check out our awesome sleep blogs, today.

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