When it comes to mattresses and pillows, not many homeowners know when they should really be changing it. This is also partly because it's not clear why they should be changed in the first place since these items seldom break apart literally. However, a good mattress and pillow is essential to ensuring that you get the proper space for a good night's rest. For mattresses, they should be changed every 10 years (regardless of the type of filling – spring coil, latex foam, memory foam, etc). 

If a pillow isn't not broken, why change it?

You've probably heard this tons of times: older pillows are less supportive, and can lead to back and neck aches. But that's not our central concern today. 

According to the Sleep Council in the UK (how one gets on that council is another worthy topic altogether), up to a third of your pillow's weight could be made up of bugs, dead skin cells, dust mites and their carcasses and faeces.  

Your pillow is basically a sponge that absorbs your bodily fluids, and kept at an ideal temperature by your warm body lying on top to allow said pests to multiply – it's as good a breeding ground as it gets! 

A dirty pillow can cause acne, infections, or trigger allergic reactions or asthma. Even if you change your pillowcases regularly – as these nightmarish buggers are still living in your pillow. 

Pillowcases should be washed every week – that's pretty much common knowledge – but your pillow itself should be washed at least once every 3 months. And as much as we understand the emotional attachment we all grow to have towards our pillows, unfortunately, experts recommend that they should be replaced every 2-3 years. A good way to tell when your pillow needs changing would be to fold it in half, and if it doesn't flatten out again, then it's time to get a new one. However, this may be difficult to test with thick memory foam pillows. The best way to tell if your pillow needs to be changed, would be when your neck begins to experience aches when you wake up in the mornings. That means your pillow is no longer providing the same level of support as it used to. 

Buying a new pillow

Get the right fit 

Your pillow should fill the gap between your head and shoulders when you lie down. 

This also means your sleeping position matters. For instance, if you sleep on your back, get a pillow fluffy enough to lift your head and chin for easy breathing; if you sleep flat on your tummy, get a soft, flat pillow to keep your head level. 

Choose a suitable stuffing 

Down pillows are the fluffiest and most plush to sleep on, but if you need firmer support, you might want to opt for foam pillows instead. 

Different types of stuffing also have different lifespans, which is something you might want to factor in when considering cost.


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Article by Pinky Chng, originally appeared in The Finder