Your bed should be a pleasant and comforting place, considering you will spend nearly a third of your life asleep. The average person needs at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to function well during the day. You can support a good night’s rest with a firm mattress, soft linens, and the right pillows.
A right pillow is essential for providing adequate elevation for your head and relieving pressure from your neck and shoulders. Like mattresses, pillows need to be cleaned often and replaced if they no longer hold their structure. Many people neglect to keep their pillows in good shape. They often unknowingly suffer symptoms like allergies, aching muscles, and poor sleep that can be caused by old and dirty cushions.
If you have had your pillows for some time, they may require replacement. Inspect them thoroughly and look for the following five signs that indicate that it may be time to get new ones:
1. They fail the Fold test
If you have fiber-filled pillows, they should retain their shape when you try to fluff them or move their contents around. Try to fold your pillow in half widthwise. If it bounces back open, then it is a good sign you can still get some mileage out of them. If it stays folded, however, this means the fibers have lost their structure.
2. They are discolored or have stains
Body fluids like sweat, saliva, and oil may seep through your pillowcase unto the pillow protector or casing. If you have particularly oily skin, this can also tend to leave marks on your pillow covers if you do not launder them often. Over time and with repeated washing, your pillow covers will discolor, indicating that its time to replace them.
3. They smell
Pillows absorb droplets of moisture from your face and body as your sleep. Fluid can accumulate in the strands of the fiber filling over the time you use them. If you don’t launder the contents of your pillows and allow them to air dry properly, they may be prone to bacterial growth. Some pillows like those with kapuk fiber filling are naturally antibacterial, and they can resist these types of growth. If you have synthetic contents, however, they may be harboring mold, mildew, and fungus, and a sure sign of this is unpleasant odors.
4. You experience allergic reactions
Aside from smells, bacterial growth can also trigger symptoms of allergies like coughing, sneezing, rashes, and runny nose. Dust mites can also accumulate over time and make their home inside your pillows. If you are particularly sensitive to allergens, you may experience severe allergic reactions to these infested pillows while you sleep. Symptoms can worsen over time, and prevent you from getting good quality sleep.
5. You have neck and shoulder pain when you wake up
If you wake up with discomfort in your shoulder, it may be due to poor posture during sleep. Proper posture while sleeping can allow your muscles to relax while you sleep. The angle at which you rest your head is key to achieving the right position. If your pillow is too stiff, it can raise your head too high and tuck your chin into your neck. However, if the pillow is too soft, it may be unable to support your head and cause it to tilt too far back while you sleep. Your pillow should be plush yet firm enough to provide support for your head to keep it as level with your spine.
Picking and maintaining good bed cushions is essential for restful sleep. The correct size and shape of your pillow will depend on the unique curve of your spine. Try looking for pillows made from natural materials that have cotton or kapuk fiber filling where you can add or deduct the contents based on your needs. Whatever pillow you decide to use, make sure you inspect them regularly, clean their pillow covers, or replace them when necessary so you can achieve ideal sleep conditions every night.
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