Why Is Your Pillow So Uncomfortable? 🛏️ How To Fix It

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to your health, happiness, and overall well-being. People who sleep well are better all-around during their waking hours, so it is necessary to address the issue immediately if you start noticing that your pillow is uncomfortable. After all, your bed is supposed to be your comfort area! 

Your pillow might be uncomfortable if your pillowcase isn’t right for you or if it needs a clean or fluffing. If these tips don’t help, you may need to purchase a new pillow more suited to your sleeping position and personal preferences.

The rest of this article will solve all your uncomfortable pillow woes by guiding you through all the best ways to make your pillow comfier. I’ll also help you pick the best pillow for you based on your sleeping position and personal preferences. 

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Reasons Why Your Pillow Is So Uncomfortable

Your pillow may be uncomfortable because you use the wrong kind of pillow for your needs and preferences. Alternatively, your pillow may also be due for a good fluff, cleaning, or a new pillowcase. 

There are various reasons why a pillow may feel uncomfortable, so before you immediately buy a new one, make sure you try some other fixes first to see if something else is causing the issue.  

Easy Fixes for a More Comfortable Pillow

If you don’t want to jump to buying a new pillow right away, there are some things you can try with the pillow you already have to make it more comfortable. 

1. Get a New Pillowcase

It’s possible that your pillow isn’t the problem, but that your pillowcase is. Pillowcases come in various materialsOpens in a new tab., so finding the right one for you is a matter of personal preference. Here are your options: 

  • Silk. Silk is often considered the best material for pillowcases, especially for cosmetic reasons. Silk can help reduce wrinkles and acne because it doesn’t absorb facial oils as other materials do, and it minimizes frizziness in wavy and curly hair. However, some may find the sleekness of silk uncomfortable to sleep on. 
  • Satin. Satin has similar benefits as silk but is more affordable. Satin also helps your hair tangle less during the night and maintains hydration for longer. However, satin can be uncomfortable in the heat, so if you live in an area where you experience hot nights, this might not be the right pillowcase material for you. 
  • Flannel. Flannel is made from cotton, wool, or polyester, and this is a great choice for a pillowcase if you live in a colder climate. This fabric is breathable and soft and will keep you warm. 
  • Linen. Linen isn’t particularly soft, so if that’s something you need in a pillowcase, it’s best not to go the linen route. However, it is extremely light and breathable, so if you don’t mind the rougher texture, but you often overheat in the night, a linen pillowcase is worth looking into.     

In addition, if you find yourself with a flat, deflated pillow, sometimes adding a zip-up pillow protector underneath your pillowcase can squeeze it a bit, fluffing it up. 

2. Clean Your Pillow

Your pillow may be uncomfortable if it is dirty and needs a thorough cleaning. Over time, hair, dead skin cells, sweat, and drool build up on your pillow, and this gunk can attract dust mites, which can trigger an allergic reaction (and it’s just gross!). 

Here is the proper way to deep-cleanOpens in a new tab. your pillow to ensure maximum cleanliness and comfort: 

  • Air your pillows out every morning. Airing your pillow will help remove dust. If you want to go above and beyond, you should hang your pillows outside for a few hours every few days or run them through the dryer on the no-heat cycle to make sure no dust mites are hanging around. 
  • You should wash your pillow every few months, especially if you sweat or drool a lot, eat in bed, or have pets that sleep in the bed with you. If you have a big washing machine, you can wash two pillows at a time. You can wash most down pillows in a washer, but memory foam pillows should be hand washed.
  • A crucial step of washing your pillow is ensuring that you dry it entirely since a damp pillow may grow mildew. You should dry your pillow for an hour on moderate heat. If you’re in a hurry, try adding a few dry towels to the load to speed up the process. 

3. Fluff Your Pillow Properly

If your pillow is just feeling a little flat, you probably just need to give it a good fluffing. 

You can fluff your pillow by hand by squeezing the sides in and out like an accordion, or you can fluff it by hitting the sides with your fists. You can also press the pillow from top to bottom.

Another way to fluff your pillow is to put it in the dryer with a tennis ball. The ball will hit your pillow repeatedly while tumbling around the dryer, which will give the same effect as if you had been punching the pillow. 

Pillows lose their fluffiness if moisture weighs down, so another way to get a pillow fluffed up is to leave it in the sun for a while to dry it out. 

Buying the Right Pillow for You 

While the above fixes can help the pillow you already have feel more comfortable; if you are still not getting a good night’s sleep due to discomfort or pain, it’s probably time for a new pillow altogether. There’s a lot to consider when purchasing a new pillow, so consider this the ultimate guide. 

The first thing you should take into consideration is your sleeping position. The right pillow for you should keep your head, neck, and spine in neutral alignment, as this will support the natural curvature of your spine. 

Picking the right pillow for your position will alleviate any neck pain in the morning and help you sleep better throughout the night, as any tension in your body is relieved. Here’s what kind of pillow you need based on how you sleep at night: 

Pillow With a Medium Loft and Medium Firmness

If you sleep on your back, you need a pillow with a medium loft and medium firmness. 

If you sleep on your back and have a pillow with a high loft, the height will crane your neck upwards all night, which will not be comfortable. A pillow with a low loft will have you lying flat on your mattress, which also isn’t the coziest position to be in all night. 

Medium firmness is essential for back sleepers because it will support your head enough to align with the spine, and your head won’t crush the pillow throughout the night like it would if it were soft. 

Pillow With a High Loft and Firm Support

If you sleep on your side, you need a pillow with a high loft and firm support. A taller pillow will prop your head up to align with your spine. 

Additionally, a tall pillow relieves pressure on your shoulders, so it isn’t holding most of your body’s weight. If you’ve noticed that your shoulder digs into your mattress during the night, you need to get a pillow with a higher loft. 

Side sleepers need a firm pillow so that the weight of your head doesn’t crush it down and throw off your alignment. 

Pillow With a Low Loft and Soft Support

If you sleep on your stomach, you need a pillow with a low loft and soft support. However, you should try to stop sleeping on your stomach altogether. Sleeping on your stomach puts you at greater risk of straining your neck and adding harmful pressure to your lower back. 

However, if you cannot stop sleeping on your stomach, you should get a pillow with a low loft, so your head isn’t craned upwards throughout the night. 

A soft support pillow will provide a buffer between you and your mattress, but it won’t prop your head up too much. If your pillow is too firm, your head is more likely to be lifted out of alignment. 

Stomach-sleepers should also look for a shapeable pillow like a down one, so they can embrace the underside of the pillow if they choose.  

Adjustable Pillow

Combination sleepers, or those who switch from their back to their side during the night or throughout the week, will need an adjustable pillow. Many bedding companies are designing their pillows to be versatile or inflatable so the buyer can alter them to suit their needs, perfect for sleepers who frequently switch up their sleeping position.  

C-Shaped Full-Body Pillow

Pregnant people need a pillow to reduce their hip and back pain, improve circulation, and stop them from sleeping on their stomachs. 

This usually requires a C-shaped full-body pillow. These pillows offer pregnant people support in various sleeping positions that are safe for the baby. Using special pregnancy pillows can help ease body aches and pains brought on by the pressure on your legs, hip, and back. 

Furthermore, sleeping on your side helps your blood circulation, which is essential for pregnant people, and pillows designed for pregnancy encourage side-sleeping. 

Additional Pillow Qualities 

There are thousands of pillows on the market, so it’ll help if you get picky about your choice. 

You don’t just have to get the correct loft and firmness for you, and you can add other customizations so your pillow is the most comfortable it can be. Here are more qualities in modern pillow technology that you can take advantage of: 

  • Customizable support. Bedding companies are now designing customizable and adjustable pillows, such as pillows with adjustable fills so you can manipulate the stuffing or a pillow with a removable middle insert that allows you to adjust the loft. 
  • Cooling properties. If you find yourself getting hot and sweaty at night, you should look for a pillow that has cooling properties, like a gel pad on one side or pillows made with phase change material. 
  • Moisture-wicking. Some pillows have moisture-wicking properties, especially pillows made with polyester and bamboo. This feature is perfect for women going through menopause or people who frequently experience night sweats. 

When you’re pillow shopping, take your time to investigate everything. Your dream pillow is out there. You just have to find it! 

The Best Pillows for Every Kind of Sleeper 

Here are our recommendations for the best pillows available on Amazon right now, for every kind of sleeper and in every price range: 

Sleeping PositionBudget Pillow High-End Pillow
BackThe DreamNorth Premium Gel Pillow LoftOpens in a new tab. is a good and inexpensive option for back sleepers. This pillow is designed for back sleepers to keep their head and neck aligned all night, and the quality material ensures that the pillow holds its shape. The JUVEA 100% Natural Talalay Latex Sleeping PillowOpens in a new tab. is a more luxury option, but with the extra cost, you get open-cell technology that enables better air circulation and temperature regulation. The medium firmness is ideal for back sleepers. 
Side These Bed Neck Pillows for SleepingOpens in a new tab. are designed for side sleepers and help eliminate back and neck pain, as well as excessive tossing and turning throughout the night. It is also washable and dryable, so you can wash it as often as you’d like. The Queen Size Extra Firm Pillows for SleepingOpens in a new tab. have super high-density and are extra high-loft to provide the kind of neck support side-sleepers need. The polyester retains its shape. 
Stomach This BLISSBURY Stomach Sleeping PillowOpens in a new tab. is ultra-thin, which reduces the strain on your back and neck when you sleep on your stomach. The soft foam has cooling properties, and the bamboo-textured pillowcase is moisture-wicking, so you’re sure to stay nice and cool even in the warmest temperatures.  The ZAMAT Adjustable Cervical Memory Foam PillowOpens in a new tab. has an ergonomic shape that supports your head and neck in every sleeping position, even on your stomach. The central cavity supports your head and ensures that your head aligns with your spine. The outer cover features moisture-wicking bamboo and polyester.
Combination sleeperThe Cosy House Collection Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam PillowOpens in a new tab. is under $50 but is still fully adjustable. You can add or remove memory foam to the inside of the pillow to adjust the loft and firmness. The LAYR Adjustable Firmness and Loft PillowOpens in a new tab. is a bit pricey. Still, if you want the best sleep of your life, this is the pillow to get! The pillow comes with adjustable inserts so you can fine-tune it and create your perfect pillow. Each insert has three inches of memory foam in a one and two-inch piece so that you can adjust inch by inch.  
PregnantThe EKLO by PharMeDoc MommyWedge Pregnancy Wedge PillowOpens in a new tab. is an affordable alternative to more expensive maternity pillows. Still, it brings all the pain relief and protection that the more luxurious pillows do. This wedge that supports the belly, back, and knees and the memory foam prevents women from rolling onto their baby bumps in their sleep.The QUEEN ROSE Pregnancy PillowOpens in a new tab. stops you from tossing and turning at night and supports the belly, neck, back, hips, and knees. Additionally, the pillow cover is reversible so that you can choose between plush bubble fabric or classic velvet. 

There are many more options than just these, though, so be sure to take a look around yourself! 

The Most Comfortable Travel Pillows

Perhaps a sleeping position is more uncomfortable than trying to sleep on a plane or bus. In most cases, you’re unable to lie down entirely, there are sounds surrounding you, and your body is already on high alert since you are in an unfamiliar setting. 

Most travel pillows aren’t up to the challenge of making this sleeping position any better, either. Most of these pillows aren’t supportive enough, so you get a crick in your neck, or they’re too big, and you still end up with a crick in your neck. Here are some tips for buying the most comfortable travel pillow: 

  • Know your options. There are three main typesOpens in a new tab. of travel pillows: inflatable, microbead, and memory foam. Inflatable travel pillows are u-shaped, and you can inflate them to your desired firmness. You can also deflate them to fit in luggage easily. Microbead pillows are u-shaped and lightweight, and they change shape to provide neck support. Finally, memory foam travel pillows are the firmest of the bunch and mold to your neck’s contour. 
  • Don’t overlook fabric. Fabric is essential when picking a travel pillow! If your travels mostly take you to cold climates, you should look for a fleece travel pillow. Cotton or plastic is best if you frequently travel to hot places. 
  • Choose a size and weight that fits your travel style. A smaller and lightweight pillow is best for you if you travel light. Microbead pillows are often bulky, which isn’t great for those who like to bring as little as possible. 

Sleeping while traveling is most likely never going to be the best sleep of your life, but if your travel pillow is uncomfortable, keeping these things in mind as you search for another one will put you on a path to better plane naps and bus snoozes. 

Final Thoughts

If your pillow is uncomfortable, try using a different pillowcase, cleaning your pillow, and giving it a good fluff before buying a new one. If this isn’t enough, you may need to buy a new pillow. You’ll need to ensure you select one that suits you, your preferences, and how you sleep. 


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Hi! We're a team of scientists, doctors, teachers, and coaches experienced in helping people with special needs. We hope you like our research and share it with others who might find it helpful too :)

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