When You Never Change Your Pillow, This Is What Happens

Few experiences are more enjoyable than finally letting your head hit the pillow after a long, exhausting day. Unfortunately, being so exhausted, we may neglect to take proper care of the object that makes this experience possible. Did you know that you are supposed to replace your pillow on a yearly basis? Maybe you can wait two years, but even that is pushing it.

If your pillow is lumpy or has a dirty-looking cover, or you need a second pillow to maximize your comfort, you may need to get a new pillow even earlier than the one-to-two year recommendation.

Fortunately there are some ways to expand your pillow's lifespan. You can do this by using a pillow cover, washing your face before bed, washing your pillowcase at least twice a week, and washing your pillow at least once every few months (per LiveStrong).

However, every pillow is going to need to be replaced at some point. What will happen if you keep using your pillow past its metaphorical expiration date?

Old pillows can disrupt sleep, cause acne, and exacerbate health issues

Over time, pillows begin to flatten, which means they provide less support to the neck. This can result in soreness in the neck, upper back, and shoulders. Ultimately, this could interfere with your quality of sleep.

In addition to disrupting your beauty sleep, an old pillow is harder to clean, which may cause you to break out. As you sleep, your pillow collects your oils and dead skin cells, and possibly your sweat and saliva. All of this is "a breeding ground for bacteria," dermatologist Cheri Frey told LiveStrong. In fact, Dr. Josh Axe informed Bustle that pillows have similar levels of bacteria as toilet seats. Laying your head against this cesspool on a nightly basis can cause or exacerbate acne.

According to Bustle, old pillows can also induce allergies and worsen asthma. This is because they can attract many allergens such as fungi, mold, and dust mites. According to Melanie Carver, chief mission officer for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a substantial percentage of the weight of an old pillow is actually from dead dust mites. With all this in mind, it is important to wash your pillows regularly and swap them out every year or two.