We spend approximately a third of our lives in bed. Therefore, every bedding element must be carefully taken care of. One of the most important things that can be missing from our bed is the pillow. We all rest out head on pillows every night but have you ever wonder why we actually need a pillow? And what is its function? Overall, why do we sleep on a pillow?

History of the pillows

Pillows are used for thousands of years by humans, apparently, for the need to lay your head over the night. The history of the pad is similar to that of humans, one of the proofs you can see is the different types of cushions that have been found at the different time. We start with the simple stone pillows, then the wood, and last but not least, the porcelain pillows. Later, people came up with the leather bags filled with soft material. It is actually the precursor of the down pillow. The cushion, as we know it now, was not developed until the 19th century. Due to the Industrial Revolution, the production of pillows was launched, and it was a product for the whole society.


Functions of pillows

Complicated relationship

One of the main reasons why we use a pillow is to support the complicated relationship between our head, neck and vertebrae. When you walk during the day, the neck and the head must be kept upright by muscles and tendons. During sleep, many of these muscles rest allowing the head fall forward or behind. This provides the additional strain on the neck muscles and vertebrae which can lead to a stiff back and spine. The simplest solution to this pain is a pillow. The cushion ensures that the neck is in one line with the spine regardless of the sleeping position. The position of the spine is corrected, and the muscles are relieved thereby.

Preventing inconvenience during sleep

We, as adults, have a relatively small head on broad shoulders. Therefore, it is important that you sleep on a pillow that supports your head and neck well. Small children have proportionately a much larger head compared to their body figure. Therefore, they must have a different pillow than adults: a special children’s pillow, which is much flatter and therefore better for the neck of the child. In babies, it is a completely different story. Their head is in even greater proportion. In babies, the head is about one-third of their body length, meanwhile, in adults, this is a seventh or eighth. Babies are often recommended to put to sleep directly on the mattress. This will prevent choke in a pillow. But once again, for adults, having a pillow is essential. It not only provides comfort during sleep but is also good for your health.

Please note that your pillows must offer the right support for the neck. If you sleep on a pillow that is too high, the chances are that there is proper tension in the muscles on your back, neck and shoulders. Nowadays, pillows come in all shapes and sizes with different materials such as down and feather or foam. There is something for everyone. The right pillow avoids headaches suffer from neck or other physical pain. There is no pillow that is the best for all, just the appropriate for each. Last but not least, for hygiene problems, your pillow should be replaced after six months of use. Here we will explain further why we must replace them.


How often should I replace my pillow?

The question is common. Shortly, the answer is “more than you probably think.”

Nearly 70% of people say that a good and comfortable pillow is important to sleep well, but a large number of them keep using their pillows for too long. There is not an exact study indicate how long a cushion can last. From what we hear from other people, they can spend up to 10, 20 or even 30 years sleeping on the same pillow. And that is way too long.


Some researchers including Robert Oexman – the director of the Sleep to Live Institute in the US – highly recommend that a cushion should be replaced every six months. Why? Because there is a pack of little creeps and dirt can be found on your pillow. Dirt, skin oils and dead skin cells, according to Oexman, are caught in the pillow, which can even lead to acne. Also, American colleague Mark R. Nose Trom in Kansas City from Allergy and Asthma Associates has found out that the rapid increase in the number of bed bugs, really tiny arachnids is a source for a variety of allergies and health problems. Nose Trom even says that almost all allergy sufferers, about 20% of the population, are allergic to dust mites.

Dust mites

Allergic reactions, especially in the morning, such as red eyes, sneezing or a stuffy nose may assume that it is due to dust mites in our pillow or comforter. Go to see the doctor, you can get tested for dust mite allergy.

The dust mite is indeed very annoying for people who are allergic. However, they do not spread disease. Yet, we still can not sleep among hundreds of thousands of those little crawlers.

Air and water-proof covers for mattresses and pillows could not help to kill those little creatures. Also, they do provide an unpleasant climate in your bed because there is no longer any form of ventilation. However, the advantage lies in the washing process. That is only possible with down and synthetic pillows. All cushions washing process takes occasionally 20 to 30 minutes in the dryer on low heat which makes for a much cleaner pad according to researcher Oexman.

Yumeko pillows which origin in Japan have a dust mite-proof cover. This prevents many problems. Moreover, wool, bamboo pillows and rubber pillows are not a good place for dust mites to develope.

In short, we recommend replacing pillows after two years of use at the maximum. The deluxe wool pads, rubber and rubber / down pillow can last longer (for 3 years at maximum). For more about your sleeping buddies, visit www.bedtimefriends.com.