Full-disclosure time: How long has it been since you replaced your mattresses, pillows, and bedding? If your answer is some variation on “I can’t even remember the last time I thought about that,” then you’re due for an upgrade. After all, we spend one-third of our lives in bed—shouldn’t it be on the best-quality, most comfortable, most beautiful stuff we can afford?
If you need further convincing, consider that a good night’s sleep—at least 7 hours’ worth—improves memory and focus, increases energy, lowers blood pressure, and aids with weight loss. So how about that redo? Annie always follows these guidelines when it comes to bedroom basics:
- Though there’s no definitive formula for when to replace your mattress, a good general rule is that it will last about 10 years, if properly cared for. Replace it ASAP if you regularly wake up feeling tired or stiff; if it’s full of lumps, bumps, and saggy spots; or if you frequently find that you sleep better when you’re away from home. (Un-fun fact: the body tolerates less pressure as it ages, so if you’re over 40, you should aim to replace your mattress every five to seven years.) Annie’s a big fan of Sealy mattresses, which not only last a long time, but are also ridiculously comfortable. Stay tuned for next week, when Annie shares her recent adventures in mattress shopping, to learn more.
- We tend to keep our pillows waaaaay longer than we should. The smarty-pants science types at Prevention say that because hair and body oils seep into pillows over time, making them the perfect spawning ground for dust mites and odor-causing bacteria, we should not only wash them several times a year for down and monthly for synthetic, but replace them every year. Since few of us follow this rule, Annie offers you a few more: if you find that you regularly have a hard time getting into a comfortable position and frequently wake with neck pain, or if you can fold your pillow in half and it stays that way, out with the old and in with the new. And by the way? You really should wash them at least every other month.
- Duvet inserts, like pillows, can collect all sorts of nasties over time. Since duvet inserts don’t press up against our faces, as long as they’re washed once a month, it’s okay to replace them less frequently. Annie likes to donate any lumpy, misshapen, or torn (and mended) duvets to her favorite animal shelter for use as pet blankets.
- Of all bedding, sheets weather the most abuse and last the shortest amount of time. Buy three sets at the best quality you can afford and put them into a regular rotation—one on the bed, one in the linen closet, and one in the laundry. Used this way and washed once for every week of use, your sheets can last around five years or more. Donate them to a local animal shelter or repurpose them into crafts or painting dropcloths if they’re holey, ripped, shrunken beyond usefulness, or showing sheer spots from wear.