Pillow Talk. Those two words probably don’t bring to mind dust mites, allergens, and mold, but that’s where we’re going with this. When we think of our bedding, we think of a cozy, enveloping sense of comfort and rest. But in reality, living in our beds, sheets, and yes, pillows, are a myriad of microscopic fanged beasts: dust mites. Add in additional allergens and mold, and you’ve got a recipe for illness that no amount of sleep can make better. In fact, it’s the opposite. So what does one need to do, exactly, to combat the problem?
Here are 5 Ways that Your Pillow Might Actually Be Making You Sick—-and what to do about it.
Problem: You Have A Dirty Pillow.
Solution: Wash It.
Take a look at your pillow. Does it appear clean? Are your pillowcases freshly washed? Do you have a pillow protector? While you might have a pillow that appears to be clean, if you haven’t washed it, it is harboring dust mites and possibly more. Aim to wash your pillow every six months to both keep allergens at bay as well as to prolong the lifespan of your pillow.
Problem: You haven’t Replaced Your Pillow.
Solution: Get a New One.
The average lifespan of a pillow is between two and four years (with proper care, of course). So if you have an older pillow kicking around from, well, you can’t remember when, it’s more than time to toss them. You wouldn’t lay your head on dirty old socks, would you? That’s basically what you’re doing if your pillow is old. Pretty gross, right?
Problem: Your Pillow Contains Toxic Chemicals.
Solution: Get one made of natural fibers.
Speaking of new pillows, make sure the next one you purchase is made of non-toxic materials. Pillows should be made with natural fibers—-a cotton or a bamboo pillow is the way to go here. Some foam pillows contain formaldehyde, so before making any purchases, be fully aware of the process in which it is made and the fibers that are used to make it.
Problem: You sleep with too many pillows.
Solution: Aim for a flat back.
Every chiropractor will tell you: the best possible way to sleep for your spine is on your back, as flat as possible, keeping things aligned. While most people aren’t stiff-backed sleepers like this, it does make us ponder a bit at sleeping propped up on pillows. Aim for a slim pillow, and train yourself to sleep on your back.
Problem: You don’t have the right type of pillow.
Solution: Find one that fits your sleep style.
If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll want a pillow that properly supports your head and neck. Same for back or stomach sleepers. If you aren’t getting quality shut-eye, your immune system will be worn down and you’ll be susceptible to those seasonal illnesses we all do our best to avoid. Getting quality shut-eye, and the health benefits that come with it, you’ll be one step ahead of the game.