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When to replace your pillow

When to replace your pillow

New research has revealed that 1 in 3 people have had their pillow too long meaning they could be sleeping among dust mites and their droppings 

This research was uncovered by Happy Beds when analysing the results of their bedding calculator survey. Happy Beds has revealed the most shocking findings from the results and provided expert guidance on the ideal methods and timing for cleaning or replacing your bedding.

1 in 3 have had their pillow too long – sleep experts share the health risks and when to replace it 

Rex Isap, sleep expert and CEO at Happy Beds recommends “Pillows are just as important as duvets, but they have a shorter lifespan. Happy Beds bedding calculator has revealed that over one-third (35%) 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. 

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.” 

Pillow pain: 1 in 5 wake up with a sore neck each day due to their pillow 

Rex Isap, sleep expert and CEO at Happy Beds explains ”Our pillows can also 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. However, 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.” 

It’s not only pillows that people have had too long – 1 in 12 have had their duvet for over a decade risking E. coli

8% (or 1 in 12) admitted to having their duvet for more than 10 years; more than double the lifespan for a duvet. But what could be thriving on these long-loved duvets? The answer is a myriad of bacteria and dust mites.

During an average night, we shed over 1 million skin cells. Or 3.6 billion skin cells over 10 years. Combine that with the sweat and body oils you secrete each night, and your duvet fast becomes an item that could potentially make you ill – particularly if left unwashed. 

Researchers have also found that bathroom towels – those that people often leave on their bed – can host bacterial species, including E. coli, which can spread to other items in the home, including your bedding. This is why it is essential you wash your duvet every few months or, at least, twice a year. Unfortunately, many do not do that. 

41% have never washed their duvet – Hundreds of dust mites can live in just one gram of dust present on your duvet  

Rex Isap, sleep expert and CEO at Happy Beds continues “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, 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! 

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