You spend a third of your life head or face down on a pillow so choose pillows with care. The right pillow will support your sleep posture and help you wake refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Find out if your current pillow is the partner of your dreams, or one you should perhaps ditch.
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What Type of Pillows Do You Have?
There’s a dizzying array of pillow fillings options out there, from synthetic mixes to natural fills. While you can get feather or down-only pillows, many natural fills are a combination of feather and down to deliver a balance of softness and support.
Popular 5* hotel-quality pillows include:
Goose down pillows – geese have larger down clusters than duck, creating a super soft and snuggly pillow fill. A pillow with more goose down than feather will better suit sleepers who need less support.
Duck feather pillows - duck feather pillows offer more structure than down pillows. A pillow with a high feather content can better suit sleepers who need more support.
Microfibre pillows - a good quality microfibre pillow can feel like down. A hypoallergenic microfibre pillow can suit allergy sufferers more than natural fills and is ideal for the vegan home.
Pillows only need to be 60% down to be labelled a goose or duck down pillow. Check your pillow label to find out what’s inside your pillow.
Read our ultimate guide to the best pillow to find out which pillow suits you.
How Long Do Pillows Actually Last?
A pillow’s lifespan will depend on its fill quality, how often it’s slept on and how well it’s cared for and washed. Pillows usually last between 18 months – three years, with poor quality pillows often having an even shorter lifespan. As the saying goes, buy cheap, buy twice.
When to replace your pillow?
Unless you wake with aches or your pillow’s lumpy, it can be hard to know when to replace your pillow. Pillows lose their ability to provide good support as they age, which can put pressure on your neck. This can lead to back problems and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. The saddlebag and press test can help you decide when your pillow’s time is up.
If you regularly wake up sneezing you may want to switch to an anti-allergy pillow . A non-allergenic pillow is more resistant to dust mites – a common trigger of year-round allergies and asthma. Choosing a pillow that’s easy to wash will also help you keep your pillow free from everyday dirt and dust.
Signs You Need to Say Goodbye to Your Pillow
All pillows eventually sag. That said, age isn’t the only reason you should consider replacing a pillow. If you wake up achy or tired, your ‘sleep stealer’ of a pillow may not be offering the right support.
It’s not always easy to tell by looking at old pillows if it’s time to say goodbye. To help, there are a couple of tests you can do to help you know when to replace your pillow for something new.
An easy way to see if your pillow needs replacing is to lay it across your arm. If it flops over your arm like an old saddlebag, it’s time to ditch it. Some new, poor quality pillows will do this too.
A simple way to check pillow quality is to place the pillow on a firm surface and press down. If the pillow springs back into shape as soon as you lift your hand, there’s no need to replace it just yet.
Check out the Pillow test – is it time to invest in a new one? video.
Invest in the right pillow
If you ache when you wake or sleep fitfully, your pillow may not be offering the right support. Your head, neck and spine need to be in a neutral position while you sleep, so invest in a pillow that supports your sleep position, whether that’s on your back, front or side.
Extend your pillow’s life
Most pillows need replacing every 18 months - 3 years. By investing in a high-quality pillow and adding a zipped pillow protector, you can extend its lifespan. Tielle pillows are made to meet the luxury sleep needs of 5* hotels and can last for three years – that’s 1,000 sleeps! A pillowcase protector will also help prevent yellow stains on pillows.
Making Your Pillows Last Longer
All pillows need a little TLC. Adding a pillow protector helps prolong your pillow’s lifespan and add an extra layer of comfort. A soft cotton zipped pillow protector will more effectively protect from odour, stains and dust mites than an unzipped envelope style pillow protector. Cotton is also breathable and noise-free, unlike many synthetic pillow protectors.
Many natural fill pillows can be washed at 40 degrees and tumble dried on a low setting until completely dry, but always follow the manufacturer’s pillow washing instructions. For more advice on pillow care, read our guide to the best pillows.
Health Risks with Sleeping on an Old Pillow
All things wear over time, but an old pillow can affect your sleep and health. A pillow needs to work with your sleep position to ensure your back, neck and spine are properly aligned. When a pillow loses its structure, it can cause pillow neck problems and the proverbial ‘crook in the neck’.
Buying pillows for guest rooms can be hard as there’s no ‘best for everyone’ pillow. That said, a 70% feather, 30% down pillow offers a good balance of softness and support. Avoid dust mites and allergy flare-ups with a pillow protector and add a clean pillowcase. Dirt and debris can lead to ‘pillow acne’ in acne-prone skin.
Buying New Pillows: Choosing The Right Pillow For You
Choice paralysis is inevitable when pillow shopping. With so many filling options and many inferior products claiming to be the best pillow, the only way you can buy a good quality pillow with confidence is to go to a bedding specialist, such as Tielle.
Tielle bedding can be found in over 5,000 luxury 5* hotels and boutiques in the UK and worldwide. Made from the finest, most responsibly sourced ingredients, our high quality pillows offer around three years of bedtime bliss – that’s 1,000 sleeps - before needing to be replaced.
Find out which pillow is best for you in our ultimate guide to the best pillows
Planning a trip somewhere or know a regularly traveller? Our supersize travel pillow helps travellers feel at home wherever they are in the world.
Help your pillow last for longer with a zipped pillow protector