From dust mites to dead skin, your pillows really take a beating. A bad pillow can cause serious neck pain and back pain, which can shrink your brain and reduce your brain power.
A lot of health problems are actually associated with neck pain:
- severe headache
- always feeling tired (even after sleeping all night)
Then, how do you know when it’s time to buy a new pillow? According to this study done by pillow manufacturers in Ergoflex, 82% of people do not know when it’s time for a new pillow. Yikes! Are you wondering if you fall into that 82%?
Warning Sign: Pillow Too High/Low
When your pillow is too high, it causes the muscles in your neck to stretch and takes the spine out of alignment. In the image shown below, the woman’s spine is curved at the top. This will leave your neck feeling very stiff throughout the day, causing it to be uncomfortable while performing daily tasks.
If you’re a “side sleeper”, the pillow will press down into your shoulder causing upper back and neck pain. To balance this out, many people tend to lift one of their legs forward (almost as if their leg was at a 90-degree angle) leading to lower back pain. If your pillow is too low it will cause your neck muscles to sag into the pillow, leaving your spine curved. As said in the above paragraph, this will cause neck pain and stiffness.
One study found that latex pillows are best for sleeping, and feather pillows are more likely to cause neck pain. Feather pillows are great for decorations (such as throw pillows), but they’re not recommended for sleeping!
Warning Sign: It Doesn’t Spring Back into Shape After Being Pressed
Nancy Rothstein (or as she calls herself, the “Sleep Ambassador”) states that your pillow should be able to be folded in half and when released pop right back to its normal state. If your pillow does not do this, it’s time for a change.
Michael Breus (a clinical psychologist known as the sleep doctor) says “If you have a plain old, inexpensive polyester pillow, you should be replacing it every six months. But if you have a memory foam pillow or anyone with structural integrity, it’ll last you anywhere from 18 to 36 months.”