With the increasingly busy lifestyles that most of us have these days, we can be guilty of not changing our bedding nearly often enough. As long as our beds are made daily, they can feel somewhat fresh when we get into them at night. Changing the bed linen itself just doesn’t feel as much of a priority.
Well, we hate to break it to you, but it really should be. If you imagine that we spend around 7 hours a night asleep, we could be spending a total of 49 hours in our beds per week. What’s more, these days many people are using their bed for much more than just a place to sleep. It is a place to relax, indulge in snacks, chat on the phone, or work and study. So the time we spend on it is likely to be much more than 49 hours. It’s obvious that the bedding itself could get pretty filthy over time even if it’s not visible.
There are multiple ways in which not changing your sheets regularly could be potentially hazardous to your health. There are also a number of reasons why not changing your mattress when required could be affecting the quality of your sleep.
Read on to find out what could happen if you don't change your sheets on a regular basis, and just how often you need to look into getting a new mattress.
How often should I change my mattress?
Let’s start off by looking into how often you should really be changing your mattress. Many of you may think that changing your mattress is just not necessary until it’s either completely broken down, or until it feels very uncomfortable to lie on. Some of you may be hesitant to make a regular investment in upgrading your mattress, as you feel that it may be an expensive proposition. This is not the case anymore as there is a huge range of affordable mattresses available online.
And it may be that you don’t need to make the investment yourself just yet, but the health of your mattress does need to be monitored on a fairly regular basis.
You spend a great amount of time on your mattress every night, so it makes sense that it would have an impact on the quality of your sleep. Bad sleep can have a negative effect on your health, your mood and your daily energy and alertness levels. If you find yourself suffering from poor sleep regularly, the mattress itself is the cause more often than many people guess. It’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of deterioration in your mattress which may be affecting your sleep quality.
Experts advise that you should look into getting a new mattress every 5-8 years. It is hard to pinpoint the exact period of time as it really depends on the quality of the mattress that you currently own. Some are much more durable than others and can easily give you a good night’s sleep every night for around 8 years. Some may start degrading and sagging even under the five year mark.
For those of you who are wondering whether durability differs a lot if you own a memory foam mattress, unfortunately it doesn’t. Though a memory foam mattress can be better at inhibiting the development of dust mites, its cell structure does mean it tends to lose around 20% of its firmness in the first year. So it will still require an upgrade after a few years.
If you’re not sure of whether the time is right for you to invest in a new mattress, ask yourself the following questions:
- How well are you actually sleeping?
Analysing the quality of your sleep is the first step in deciding whether you’re in need of a new mattress. Do you find yourself waking up with aches and pains often? Are you feeling stiff or sore throughout the day? These are clear signs that it might be time to look into getting yourself a new mattress.
As time goes on, the structure of your mattress tends to wear down. This is natural, especially in the middle of the mattress. However, it does mean that the level of support you’re getting as you sleep declines over the years. The deteriorating structure is often what leads to waking up with little aches and pains in the morning.
The problem of bad sleep doesn’t just happen with older mattresses. It can also occur in new mattresses that aren’t of the best quality. If you’re finding that your sleep isn’t great even though you purchased your mattress fairly recently, then consider searching for a new mattress. Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is worth too much to not invest in it. There is a wide range of great quality mattresses available online, so you should be able to find one that’s the right fit for you.
- Is your mattress looking or feeling worn?
Spend some time closely inspecting your mattress to check if it is showing any signs of deterioration. Remove all your bed linen to take a good hard look at it from all angles. If it looks lumpy or worn, or it is clearly sagging in the middle, then it is time to get a new one. The wear and tear will definitely have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep over time.
- Are you sleeping better in other beds?
Sometimes, we don’t even realise how amazing our sleep could actually be until we sleep in another bed and find that it’s much better. If you’ve been away and come back feeling significantly more well-rested, then it may be time to look into whether your current mattress is doing the job.
- Is your mattress more than 5 years old?
If your mattress is over 5 years old, we’d recommend you now begin monitoring it more closely to check for any signs of decline. Though it doesn’t always happen at exactly the 5 year mark, this is around the time in which you might start seeing wear and tear, and a subsequent decline in support and comfort.
What will happen if you don't change your mattress?
So, what exactly would happen if you couldn’t or didn’t want to change your mattress? How bad could it get?
Well, pretty bad if you think about how important a good night’s sleep is. Sleeping well or sleeping poorly really does have a huge effect on how our days go. If you don’t get adequate rest then your energy levels and your mood can suffer throughout the course of the day. Getting the right support and feeling comfortable on the right mattress for you will prevent that.
Many people don’t feel that there is any need to change a mattress that isn’t obviously broken. It is usually when they sleep on another bed and have a better night’s sleep that they realise how good it can really get. Also, like any product that we use so frequently, mattresses age with time and need to be replaced when the time is right.
Over the years, the types of mattresses available have also been improving in terms of their quality, durability, and benefits. As technology and production methods have advanced, various new features have been added to the mattresses available on the market. For instance, there are now memory foam mattresses which offer exceptional levels of support and comfort, and pocket sprung mattresses which increase firmness and reduce bounce.
As mattresses are evolving and getting better with time, it’s worth investing in a new one every few years to benefit from the additional features on the market.
How often should I change my bed sheets?
If you’ve found yourself feeling lazy about changing your sheets on more than one occasion, that’s all about to change once you read our list below.
Let’s start with the optimum frequency at which we should be changing our sheets. The most widely-held belief on this matter is that bed linen should be changed a minimum of once a week. At most, you should change your sheets once every two weeks. Any less than that, and you may face the (often quite disgusting) consequences below.
So, what exactly would happen if you don’t change them regularly?
- Your skin could get irritated
Any exposed skin naturally rubs up against your sheets as you sleep. Dirty sheets can potentially be irritating for your skin. If the sheets haven’t been cleaned properly, bacteria can obviously fester for longer in them. Exposing your skin to the germs that live in dirty sheets could result in skin irritation, particularly if you have sensitive skin. If you have a skin condition such as eczema, any ointments or creams that you apply can transfer into the sheets through the night. This can lead to the accumulation of more bacteria within the sheets.
- Your skin could break out in spots or acne
Many of us are guilty of going to sleep without removing our makeup. If you’ve found yourself frequently falling into bed without cleansing, then get ready to face the consequences. Bacteria will slowly but surely start to build up in your bed linen, especially on your pillowcases and the top of your duvet cover. This can lead to the growth of acne and pesky pimples on your face that can be hard to get rid of.
Even if you’ve just gone to sleep without cleansing once, the bacteria will still remain on the sheets until they’re washed. So even on those nights that you have properly cleansed your face, you may be exposing it to the bacteria that is already existing there. This is why you need to add washing your sheets regularly as a necessary step for to your clear skin regimen. This is especially applicable to pillow cases as that’s where our faces directly rest through the night.
Washing your sheets regularly will help to kill any mites or mould that may be building up in your bed linen. It won’t surprise you to learn that the accumulation of dust mites in your bedding could result in causing or worsening any allergies. When dust mites excrete waste, they release an enzyme which can causes allergies in some people. If it worsens, it can lead to illnesses like asthma or rhinitis, which is a constantly runny or blocked nose. It can also lead to ear problems such as sinusitis. To avoid any such bacteria breeding in your bedding, make sure you wash your sheets at a high temperature.
- Dust Mites
Dust mites are definitely not a fun bed companion that anyone wishes to have. They are tiny organisms that grow by feeding on skin flakes that you naturally shed while you sleep. They are present in all bed linen but the less frequently your sheets are watched, the harder it can be to get rid of them. Yet another reason to wash your sheets regularly! And they don’t just linger in sheets, they accumulate in mattresses. It is also a great reason to consider replacing your pillows and mattresses every few years, as dust mites can easily grow in them.
- Fungal or Bacterial Infections
If you’re not already convinced yet that you need to wash your sheets more frequently, this point may just be motivation enough in itself.
Every night as you sleep you naturally release a certain amount of sweat. This can build up over the days to result in mould and fungi growing within your sheets. Depending on the type of mould that has accumulated on your dirty sheets, you may end up picking up an infection. There are a number of fungal infections that can be caused by dirty linen, such as the below:
- Tinea Cruris. This is an infection which is also known as jock itch and can grow on your genitals, thighs or buttocks
- Tinea Versicolor. This is another fungal infection which causes small patches of discolouration on your skin
- Tinea Pedis. This is also known as athlete’s foot can lurk in your sheets until you wash them with high temperatures to kill off the fungus
- Or there’s Staphylococcus aureus which can grow in bed linen and can be difficult to treat
- Bed linen is also a great place for yeasts to breed so it can lead to uncomfortable yeast infections.
If none of these infections sound fun to you, then it’s time to consider washing those bed linens more often!
Convinced yet? Now how do you make sure your bed is clean?
If you’re ready to keep your bed cleaner than it’s ever been, then follow our pointers below to get started:
First of all, the area near your bed should be regularly cleaned to eradicate all dust. Do a thorough vacuum under and around your bed. You can also vacuum the mattress once you’ve removed the sheets. If you haven’t done it for a while, you can send your duvet to be professionally cleaned. Or spray it with a disinfectant to get rid of any germs that may be festering there. Pillows can be washed at home or also sent off for a deep clean.
Get the necessary protection for your bedding. It is worth investing in pillow protectors and a mattress protector as these are easy to clean.
Wash your bedding at a high temperature - 60 degrees or above is recommended. This will kill all the bacteria and germs much better as a lower temperature may not do the job.
More than anything, regularity and frequency of cleaning is key. Try and wash your bedding at least once a week, or at most every fortnight.
Make sure you’re clean before you jump into bed to avoid bringing in the day’s dirt with you. Cleanse any makeup and wash up thoroughly if you’re not having a shower before bed.
Keep your nightwear clean. There’s no point washing your bed linens all the time if your pyjamas themselves are dirty. Try and wash these every three or four days.
For those with pets that like to sleep with them, have a blanket especially for them to lie on your bed that you can wash more regularly. Or better yet, place a blanket on the floor for them to sleep on.
It is clear that not washing your bed linen frequently can lead to a plethora of health issues. You could be putting yourself at risk of getting an infection or an allergy. Also not updating your mattress when it’s needed will be detrimental to your sleep. So, if you want to be healthy and well rested then consider doing both.
It’s easy to wash your sheets on a more regular basis, it is often just a case of getting in the habit of doing so. And if you’re worried about the expense of updating your mattress, you’ll find that there are plenty of high-quality and affordable mattress options available online.
Hopefully, this article has given you a good idea of why you should change your sheets and update your mattress on a regular basis. To find the perfect mattress for you, visit Bed Mattress for a varied range of mattresses to suit your preferences.