Between The Sheets

Simple Life Hacks

Why Are My Pillows Flat? Common Causes and Prevention

A flat pillow can really ruin a good night's sleep. Whether you wake up with a stiff neck or just don't feel rested, a flat pillow can have a big impact on your sleep quality. But what causes pillows to go flat? And more importantly, how can you stop it from happening?

In this article, we'll look at the common causes of flat pillows, how to prevent them from going flat, and when it's time to replace them. We'll also give you some tips on choosing the right new pillow for your needs. So, if you're tired of waking up with a flat pillow, read on!

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What causes your pillows to go flat?

Flat pillows can be a real pain in the neck, literally! There are many reasons why pillows go flat, including natural wear and tear, improper support, wrong pillow type, old age, and filling material.

It's a common woe: over time, the oils and sweat from your head can seep into your pillow, breaking down its fibres and leaving it disappointingly flat. And if your pillow isn't getting the right support, its filling can clump and shift, creating uneven surfaces that just won't do. Plus, using the wrong pillow for your sleeping style can also lead to a less-than-fluffy experience. For instance, side sleepers might find soft pillows don't provide the support their necks and heads need, leading to unwanted flattening.

Over time, the fill in your pillow can lose its oomph. Down and feather pillows need a little extra love with regular fluffing, while memory foam and latex pillows are better at keeping their shape on a day-to-day basis but are less eco-friendly and could be harder to clean.

The quality of the fill matters, too. Cheaper pillows often use lower-grade fillings that break down more quickly, leading to faster flattening.



Types of pillow fillings and their lifespan

Let's dive into the world of pillow fillings and their typical lifespan, so you can make an informed choice.

Pillow fillings come in a variety of materials, each with its own unique properties and lifespan. Some of the most common types include:

  • Down and feather pillows are renowned for their luxurious feel but can come with varying price tags depending on the quality of the feather, the ratio of feather to down or whether it was ethically produced. 
  • Memory foam pillows are crafted from a viscoelastic material that moulds to the contours of your head and neck, offering good support but are less breathable so not recommended for hot sleepers. 
  • Latex pillows are crafted from a natural material celebrated for its robustness and flexibility, but can be expensive and may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Microfibre pillows Microfibre pillows are crafted from a synthetic material and can range from hard as rock to soft and fluffy. Some may also be suitable for people following a vegan lifestyle.

It is widely accepted that a pillow will typically last for around 18 months to 3 years depending on how you care for yours.

At Tielle, all of our pillows have a high quality fill and are made to meet the luxury sleep needs of 5* hotels. This means that they have a superior lifespan and they should last over 1,000 night's sleep with proper care.

    How you care for your pillow matters, too. To keep it feeling fresh and supportive, follow the care instructions on the label. Regular washing, fluffing, and storing in a cool, dry place can help extend its life.


    How to prevent pillows from getting flat

    Keeping your pillows plump and supportive is easier than you think. A little regular TLC—fluffing, turning, and a good shake—can keep the filling distributed evenly and extend the life of your pillow.

    Using a cotton pillow protector can help shield your pillow from natural oils and sweat, keeping it fresh and clean. Be sure to wash and dry your pillow according to the care label instructions to keep it clean and in good shape. 

    Choose a pillowcase that's a little roomy to help prevent your pillow from being squished and losing its shape - ideally by choosing a brand of bedlinen that allows for shrinkage. With a little extra care, you can help your pillows stay comfy and supportive for a long time.


    How to fluff up flat pillows

    If your pillows have lost their cloud-like feel, there are a few ways you can try to plump them up and restore their shape.

    • Strip the pillow of its protector or pillowcase and give it a good plump. This is the easiest way to revive your pillow. Just peel off the pillow protector or case and with a few shakes and squeezes, you'll have your pillow looking plump and inviting once more. Another trick is to roll it up tightly, then let it unroll to help the filling settle evenly.
    • If it's feeling a little dusty or dirty, pop that pillow into the washing machine and then in the dryer on a gentle cycle, with a couple of tennis balls or dryer balls. This approach is a game-changer for pillows with synthetic fillings like polyester or microfibre. The addition of dryer balls will ensure your pillow remains evenly fluffy. After 10-15 minutes, let it cool off before you snuggle up.
    • Let it bask in the sunshine for a couple of hours to freshen up. This trick is perfect for pillows filled with natural materials like down or feathers. Let the sun work its magic, fluffing up your pillow and zapping any lurking dust mites or bacteria in the process.

      If you've given these methods a go and your pillows are still feeling a bit deflated, it might be time to bid them farewell. After 1-2 years, depending on use, it's time to refresh. When you're on the hunt for new ones, think about the filling, firmness, and size that will best suit your needs. And here's a tip: opt for pillows that are easy to care for, machine-washable and dryable.


      Signs it's time to replace your pillows 

      It's important to pay attention to the signs that your pillows need to be replaced. Look out for the obvious signs of wear and tear—rips, tears, or stains. Regularly refreshing your pillows is key to a good night's sleep and a healthy sleep environment.

      • Waking up with a stiff neck or back pain? That could be your pillows telling you they've had enough.
      • Lumps and bumps? They've lost their shape and the support you need.
      • If, despite your best efforts, your pillows have a lingering, unwelcome scent, it's time to part ways.


        Choosing the right new pillow for you

        If you've decided it's time to upgrade your old and flat pillows, here are a few factors to consider before committing to buy:

        • Sleeping position: Your preferred sleeping position determines the type of pillow that will provide the best support. Side sleepers need a thicker, firmer pillow to maintain proper alignment, while back sleepers may prefer a thinner, softer pillow. Stomach sleepers should opt for a very soft pillow to avoid painful neck flexion.
        • Body type: Your body size and weight are key factors in choosing the right pillow. If you're on the heavier side, a firmer pillow will give you the support you need, while a softer one may be more comfortable if you're lighter and don't sink into the mattress as deeply (or you have a very firm mattress).
        • Firmness and loft: Firmness is all about how much the pillow pushes back, while loft is its height. The perfect combo depends on how you sleep and what feels best to you. If you like to sit up and read in bed, you might want a combination to give you support whilst sat up, but then a softer pillow for sleeping.
        • Allergies: For those with allergies, opt for pillows made from hypoallergenic materials like Suprelle® Tencel® or Comforel®, which imitate the soft feel of down and feathers. If you prefer the feel of real goose or duck feathers and down, you can choose a pillow made with NoMite-certified casings. NoMite is a high-density fabric that acts as a natural barrier against mites.
        • Care instructions: Always check the care label before you commit. Some pillows are happy with a spin in the washer and dryer, while others prefer a gentler touch.

          When you take these factors into account, you're on your way to finding the perfect new pillow that's just right for you. Here's to a more comfortable and restful sleep!