Home Health & Wellness 1 in 3 Have Had Their Pillows Longer Than 2 Years 

1 in 3 Have Had Their Pillows Longer Than 2 Years 

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Pillows are just as important as duvets, but they have a shorter lifespan. Happy Beds bedding calculator has revealed that over one-third (35%) of people have had their pillow longer than they should. Pillows last no more than two years and should be replaced every one to two years, or sooner if you feel a lack of support from your pillow. 

Dust mites and their droppings make up to around a third of the weight of pillows over two years old, meaning 17% of the population are sleeping on millions of dust mites that can transfer to your headboard.

The average mite lives for around three months, so as your pillow gets older, the mites multiply, numbering millions. One study also found fungi across pillows older than one and a half to two years, which pose particular problems for people with respiratory issues. This can also lead to further sleep disturbances if you suffer from the likes of sleep apnoea.

It was also initially thought that mites would gather more in feather pillows. However, if you have synthetic pillows, previous studies have found the opposite, that dust mites can permeate those more than feather pillows.

Pillow pain: 1 in 5 wake up with a sore neck every day

Our pillows can affect our physical health with 18% stating they wake up with a sore neck every morning due to their pillow. 

When you sleep, it’s important that your neck and spine are aligned and your neck isn’t positioned at an odd angle that is out of alignment with your spine. But a lumpy pillow, one that no longer has support, will not hold your neck in the correct position. 

There is a way you can check, however, if your pillow is no longer up to standard. If you hold it up vertically with one arm, check to see if the pillow folds over while you hold it as that’s an indicator that it no longer provides the support you need. 

41% have never washed their duvet 

Almost half (41%) have never washed their duvet. That’s almost half of those who answered the Bedding Calculator. 

While you might wash your bedsheets weekly, duvets can become a breeding ground for bacteria. They are used every night and, subsequently, can hold dead skin, sweat and body oils that can host thousands of dust mites and all other types of bacteria. 

If your duvet isn’t washed regularly, that bacteria can build up over time, discolouring your duvet and even triggering allergies for some people. 

To maintain a healthy sleep environment, duvets should be washed two to three times a year, even if you’ve recently acquired them.

A useful tip is to time duvet washes with the change in season. So, if you swap your winter duvet for a summer duvet when it gets warm, wash your winter duvet before storing it to avoid any mould and mildew growing on it. 

Hundreds of dust mites can live in just one gram of dust present on your duvet 

Your skin cells, oils and sweat can build up over time, as mentioned above. Not to mention, hundreds of dust mites can live in just one, singular gram of dust. If that duvet hasn’t been washed or laundered in years, you can imagine how many dust mites could be living in your duvet. 

Studies have identified a high association between those who are sensitive to dust mites and trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. So, your duvet can actually impact how long you sleep, too. And, we have news, dirty duvets can hold up to 20,000 live dust mites at a time. That is in addition to the bacteria, stains and dust mite faeces. 

Similarly, your pillow needs as much care as your duvet but you should be replacing your pillows much sooner than your duvet. 

How you sleep can damage your bedding, experts reveal 

Did you know that the things you do as part of your bedtime routine can impact how long your duvet and pillows last? Skincare routines, fake tan and even the amount you sweat at night can play a huge role in the lifespan of your bedding. Happy Beds can exclusively reveal how people are sleeping and, potentially, damaging their pillows and duvets. 

Sleeping nude can lead to stains on your bedding 

Sleeping nude is popular, clearly, with almost a fifth (18%) sleeping completely nude. But doing so could lead to more body oils, sweat and skin landing on your bedsheets and mattress. This can soak through to your duvet and lead to a build-up of bacteria, especially if you do not regularly wash your bedsheets or vacuum your mattress. 

Ideally, cotton pyjamas or pyjamas made up of a breathable material can help reduce the build-up of this bacteria, as well as regulate your core body temperature. A significant change in body temperature can drastically affect your sleep, whereas cotton pyjamas can stop you from feeling those sudden temperature changes. 

If you sweat a lot, try opting for pyjamas at night 

It’s not unusual to sweat at night. But if you sleep nude and sweat a lot, that moisture can soak through to your duvet. Moisture can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and can even yellow your duvet; if you have noticed unusual stains. 

If your duvet is moist and is put in storage – such as if you swap your winter duvet over – mould and mildew can also damage your bedding, so it’s important that you regularly wash your duvet and keep on top of cleaning your sheets weekly. 

If you do find you sweat a lot, those cotton pyjamas could help. As mentioned, breathable materials can regulate your body temperature which can reduce the amount you sweat. You could try sleeping in pyjamas for one week and note down the changes in your sweat and sleep patterns. 

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