Your pillow could be disturbing your sleep and longevity

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Bed expert, Karen Yu said that “sleeping with a poor pillow can increase the chances of you waking up during the night”. Yu warned: “Broken sleep can leave us feeling tired and lethargic in the short term. “And have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing in the long term.”

Expanding on the health risks of poor sleep is Dr Linsday Browning, who spoke about the subject exclusively to

“Sleep is vital for our longevity. When we sleep, our brains physically repair our bodies and regulate important hormones, which control the functioning of our bodies during the day,” said Dr Browning.

“If we don’t get the right amount of sleep or the right kind of sleep in the long term, then our bodies will not be properly repaired during the night,” she added.

Dr Browning explained that good quality sleep is needed to “wash away the build-up of amyloid plaques which can cause Alzheimer’s disease”.

“When we don’t get enough sleep our brain doesn’t have the time to do this physical spring cleaning of our brain,” she elaborated.

Dr Browning put bluntly that a lack of sleep is a risk factor for dementia.

“Also, if we don’t get enough sleep then our brain doesn’t regulate the hormones that control our hunger drive (ghrelin and leptin), which can lead to weight gain and obesity,” she added.

Obesity in itself is linked to numerous diseases from high blood pressure to cancer.

Dr Browning highlighted that getting fewer than seven hours of sleep per night is linked to all-cause mortality risk.

In other words, “you are more likely to die earlier due to any reason, compared to people sleeping between seven to nine hours”.

“For all of these reasons and more, regular sleepless nights and interrupted sleep is not good for us,” Dr Browning emphasised.

A lack of sleep can also negatively impact mood, which can increase the risk of depression and anxiety.

Does my pillow need chaining?

Informed about the health dangers of interrupted sleep, how do you know if it’s time for you to get a new pillow?

Answering this question is bed expert Karen Yu who shares eight signs that you need to change your pillow.

First off, Yu made clear that pillows are designed to “promote healthy alignment of the head, neck, and spine”.

If you are waking up with a stiff neck, headaches and migraines, it could be a sign that your pillow needs changing.

Another telling sign is when the pillow fails the “fold test”, which involves folding your pillow in half and holding it down for 30 seconds.

When you release the pillow, it should return to its normal shape; if it doesn’t spring back into shape, you’re advised to “shop around for a new one”.

A lumpy pillow, or one that lacks fluffiness, or smells also needs changing.

Karen Yu is a bed expert at Zinuk UK.

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