It often seems there is a “day” for everything – and while this “day” may make you think “really?” – it’s one we look forward to every year. In honor of National Pillow Fight Day (yes, that is a real thing), I wanted to bring you some important insight on the thing you come face-to-face with each night.
No matter your preference – whether you choose to snooze with just one pillow, or you favor being surrounded by many supportive cushions – the bond we build with our pillows is incredibly close, as your pillow makes up 20 percent of your sleep environment.
This relationship, however, has a tendency to become toxic as your pillow ages and collects nasty allergens that negatively impact your health. A mixture of sweat, dead skin, dust mites and other irritants builds up inside your pillow, which has been proven to be a major contributor to allergies and asthma.
A National Sleep Foundation poll shows that nearly 70 percent of people say a comfortable pillow is important to getting a good night’s rest. However, many people are keeping their pillows much longer than the recommended two-year lifespan.
Over time, your pillow breaks down and you may notice changes in its support, as well as its naked appearance when replacing your pillowcase. What was once clean and fresh, now looks lumpy and stained.
We’ve compiled our top three pillow tips to help reduce bedtime allergen contact, while also improving your sleep health and overall wellbeing.
- Replace old pillows. Ever wonder why you sleep so well in a nice hotel? While it may be because your children aren’t there to wake you up, it’s also because hotels pay close attention to your entire sleep surface, from the mattress to the sheets, and they replace pillows regularly. In general, pillows should be replaced every two years. SleepBetter.org provides a helpful test to know when it’s time for replacement. To perform the test, fold your pillow in half and let go. When you let go, you pillow should regain its shape – pillows that don’t return to their original shape should be replaced. In good news, there are ample options available to fit every price range, or in some cases, even every nose. And from April 4-30, 2015, you can print and use this coupon at any Mattress Firm location to buy one pillow and get a second pillow 50 percent off!
- Use dust mite covers. According to WebMD, using plastic or vinyl covers with zippers made specifically made for allergy sufferers can protect against harmful irritants that lurk within your pillow. These covers will help seal in allergens so you don’t inhale them while sleeping. That said, plastic covers can be noisy or uncomfortable, but there are great alternatives available.
- Wash traditional pillows regularly. Washing your pillows can be a helpful solution to reducing many allergens within them. According to CNN, pillows should be washed every three to six months in hot water with liquid detergent. If you have a memory foam pillow, this tip doesn’t apply to you as these materials shouldn’t be put in the washing machine. In good news, many memory foam pillows are antimicrobial so they don’t need to be washed.
So, grab your pillow and say “happy pillow fight day” to someone you love. There’s nothing like an uppercut from a pillow of fluff. And watch out for the thicker memory foam pillows – they pack a harder punch.
About The Author
Sunni Goodman As senior vice president of communications for Mattress Firm and mother to two beautiful children, Sunni Goodman shares her thoughts here on The Daily Doze on all things sleep and parenting, especially the disconnect between the two. Mattress Firm is both literally and figuratively a family for Sunni, having worked alongside her sister who recruited her to work for Mattress Firm in 2007, and her husband who she met her first day on the job. In addition to her love for chocolate and dancing, Sunni’s heart lies in sharing the Mattress Firm story. She provides strategic direction on Mattress Firm’s internal and external communications plans and lends her passion for serving her community to the Ticket to Dream Foundation, which supports the Mattress Firm Foster Kids program, and raises funds and awareness for pancreatic cancer. In 2010, Sunni received the company’s Growth Award, which recognizes individuals who have lead efforts to advance sustainable and profitable growth in the company, and have developed and evolved personally and professionally. She is a proud alumna of Stephen F. Austin State University, where she was a setter for the Ladyjacks volleyball team. Sunni lives in Ft. Worth with her husband Jason, son Ruxin and daughter Remy. Best Night’s Sleep: While Sunni escapes every night to her dreamy adjustable base bed – complete with massage function – when she has the chance to take a nap, you can find her on her creaky, lumpy couch. And if you ask her the key to having sweet dreams, she’ll tell you it’s hearing “I love you,” from Jason, Ruxin and Remy before drifting off to sleep.