A new study found 49 per cent of people do not wash their bedding.

The study discovered Chelmsford residents keep pillows for 6 years on average and 49 per cent never wash their pillows

The survey by personalised pillow specialist, nanu, also revealed the average sleeper only replaces its pillow every 10 years, despite the fact most will have lost their practical abilities by then – with industry advice suggesting replacing them within one to two years.

Reasons for not washing or replacing pillows included a comforting smell and pillows moulding into the perfect shape.

TV psychologist, Emma Kenny, said: “It is very interesting to observe the connection that men, especially, have to their pillows. Often, the male gender is misrepresented when it comes to their emotional needs. This research demonstrates the importance men place on reliable and loyal friendships. The security that pillows represent for men is evident within these results."