7 Gross Reasons to Wash and Change Your PJs More Often

We all know there are certain things we all need to do for our health. Top of the list? Getting enough sleep! And just as important is making sure that it’s quality sleep, and that means practicing good sleep hygiene.

Now, most of the time when we say “sleep hygiene,” we mean the habits that lead to a solid, restful night: staying away from your phone and other electronics, avoiding caffeine, saving food and alcohol for earlier in the day, etc. But regular old hygiene is important, too, and recent studies have found that most people are failing that area in one specific way. So be honest— how often do you change and/or wash your pajamas?

To some of us, it’s a weird question, but to others, alarm bells are probably ringing right about now. That’s because it turns out that, according to a recent study by Ergoflex, up to 41 percent of women and 50 percent of men only switch to a fresh pair of PJ’s when their current one starts smelling. When does that breaking point arrive? After 13 nights for men and 17 nights for women!

What other article of clothing would you wear for that long? Granted, it’s easy to see how something we only wear during our quietest times would be easy to take for granted, but understanding doesn’t mean it’s OK. Plus, 13 to 17 days is longer than the recommended period for fresh sheets! Why would you wear dirty pajamas in a clean bed?

So, if you’re falling into that range – or wearing yours for even longer! – you need to stop, STAT. Think we’re overreacting? Here are 7 reasons why we’re not, and why you need to wash and change those pajamas.

The human body sheds skin cells at a rate of 30,000 to 40,000 cells per hour. That’s right; go ahead and do the math. Multiply that number by, let’s say, 6 hours of sleep per night, then by just 13 nights in a row, and by the time the average man changes his pajamas, they’ll be full of 2,340,000 to 3,120,000 cells. (And the average woman’s? They’ll be full of 3,060,000 to 4,080,000!) Say it with me now: EW.

It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Infections and bacteria like staphylococcus, E Coli and MRSA live in the microorganisms found in our skin cells, so spending longer periods of time rubbing up against those shed cells means longer exposure to them. While the likelihood of getting a staph infection or the like from your pajamas is low – we don’t want to start a panic here! – if these microorganisms get near your urinary tract, they can cause UTIs like cystitis, or transfer the infection via cuts and bruises, according to London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine professor Sally Bloomfield. Is it really worth risking just to avoid doing laundry? We didn’t think so!

The reason we need to wash our sheets weekly is the same one for washing and changing our pajamas. Dust mites love dead skin cells, and as we’ve already discovered, just a few nights of sleep means our nightwear is full of thousands of them. Washing your PJs means getting rid of both the mites and the thing that attracts them.

Why are dust mites such a problem? Well, if you’re allergic to dust, you know why! Plus, if you have other allergies, those allergens are harbored and stored in both dust mites and your skin cells. The more of both build up in your bed and on your pajamas, the more you’re exposed to them, and the more exacerbated both your allergies and/or your asthma will be. Don’t risk your respiratory health when the solution is so simple!

Maybe you don’t have asthma. Maybe you’re allergic to nothing. Maybe you’re confident in your health and find the concerns here overblown. So let’s appeal to something else: your vanity. Those shed skin cells we keep talking about, and the bacteria in and on them? They build up in your sebaceous skin sites, i.e. the oil-producing microscopic glands. And what happens when those get clogged? That’s right, pimples, blackheads, general acne and even cysts! Save your skin, and save some money on acne-fighting skin care, all just by changing your pajamas.

Guys. Do we really need to explain this one? Even if you’ve gone nose-blind to it, think of your sleeping partner. Think of what might linger in your hair on no-wash days. Think of how good you could smell. This one’s easy.

It’s not just that there are all kinds of negative reasons to avoid wearing your pajamas for extended periods; it’s also that there’s so many benefits to wearing clean ones. The number one reason cycles back to this whole idea of “sleep hygiene”: you’ll sleep SO much better in some clean nightwear. You know how you feel much relaxed in a bed that’s been freshly-made with clean sheets and blankets? Wearing fresh pajamas achieves the same feeling, and helps keep your entire sleep environment one that’s relaxing and conducive to a great night’s sleep.

Definitely important information to sleep on! We hope we didn’t give you nightmares, and instead gave you fresh inspiration to wear some fresh pajamas tonight.

Now you tell us: what do you think of the Ergoflex survey? Did those results surprise you, or did they seem about right? How often do you change your pajamas? (Be honest!) Are you inspired to do bedtime laundry more often?