Few things in life are more refreshing than your head sinking into a nice, fluffy pillow. Slowly your head sinks in until you’re in the perfect position to drift off to sleep. Really, is there anything better? We don’t think so.

Unfortunately, your chances to experience pillow bliss go down each time you use your pillow. Your pillow will start to flatten over time –- whether because of moisture or simply the weight of your head compressing the materials. Sleeping on pillows that are too flat is not only uncomfortable but can have some pretty significant impacts on your health. 

Don’t worry; you don’t need to rush out and replace the pillows on your bed. There are things you can do to try and revitalize your pillows and restore the fluff back to its original state. 

Can Sleeping With a Flat Pillow Impact Your Sleep?

Casper Down Pillow
Pillows like the Casper Down Pillow can fall flat after using it

Different sleeping positions need other things from the best pillows. For example, if you sleep on your stomach, using a flat pillow or skipping one all together might actually help reduce neck pain. Stomach sleepers generally tend to favor shorter pillows so their neck is in alignment with their spine. 

However, other sleeping positions benefit from supportive pillows that keep your spine aligned and keep your neck in a natural position. If your pillow is too flat, the pressure on your neck muscles is not evenly distributed, which means you’ll wake up feeling stiff or in full-blown pain. 

Finding the right pillow for your needs is an essential part of getting a good night’s sleep. If you live with chronic neck or shoulder pain, your pillow is more important than ever. You might even need to add additional pillows to stabilize your neck or shoulder. When buying a pillow, you should consider the firmness, height, and feel of the pillow. 

How to Re-Fluff a Flat Pillow

How you re-fluff your pillow will depend on the material of your pillow. So before you start, take a look at the label and take note of any special instructions. The last thing you want to do is mess up your pillow by throwing it on the dryer on too high of a setting.

Fluff your pillow by hand

Fluffing your pillow by hand is the most basic way to fluff your pillow. And it really is as easy as it seems. What you’ll want to do is pick up your pillow with one hand on each end. Then you’ll want to bring your hands together, over and over again. Kind of like your pillow is an accordion. This will help break up any clumps of materials in your pillow. Then you reshape it, and you’re done! 

Fluffing your pillow by hand is something you can do every day –– not just when you’re pillow is so flat drastic action needs to be taken. When you wake up in the morning, massage your pillow a few times to help slow the flattening process. 

Fluff your pillow in the dryer with a tennis ball

Fluffing your pillow in the dryer is one of the lowest effort ways to fluff your pillows. If fluffing your pillow by hand doesn’t work, you can try the dryer trick. All you have to do is throw them in the dryer with a tennis ball and go. We know what you’re thinking: what the hell are the tennis balls for? Essentially, the tennis balls repeatedly hit the pillow and break up any clumps of material and redistribute it. If you don’t have any tennis balls, don’t worry. You can tie t-shirts up in balls, and it will serve the same purpose. 

You want to avoid putting your pillow in the dryer at a high temperature. Otherwise, you could damage the cover or filling. Pay close attention to the type of pillow you have; that will help you determine how long and what temperature you should put your pillow in the dryer. If you have a cotton pillow, throw it in there for 20-minutes on low. 

Do not put your memory foam pillow in the dryer. If you do, you’ll most likely end up tearing apart the foam. Memory foam pillows don’t typically need to be re-fluffed. They are the most resilient of all the pillows, so you’ll be able to hang on to memory foam pillows for longer. 

Let your pillow get some sun

Just like you, your pillows need some sun sometimes. One of the main reasons pillows lose their fluffy texture is the moisture of the room. Putting your pillow out in the sun will help them dry out and fluff back up. Around three hours should do the trick. 

How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Pillow

Lull Pillow Stomach Sleeper
If you’ve slept on the same pillow for a few years, it might be time to trade in for a new one

Sometimes, your pillow cannot be saved. The life of a pillow is only one to four years since they collect all the sweat, body oil, and dead skin cells you shed when you sleep. Washing your pillows helps cut down odor and visual dirtiness, but it doesn’t help beat the allergens that build up. 

If you’ve tried to fluff your pillow and nothing is working, it might be time to replace your pillow, especially if you are waking up with a stiff or painful neck. 

Signs you should replace your pillow:

  • You are waking up with neck and shoulder pain.
  • Your allergies have gotten worse. 
  • There are visible signs of sweat or moisture on your pillow. 
  • Your pillow is lumpy, and nothing you are trying is working.

Too Long, Didn’t Read?

Unfortunately, pillows lose their fluff over time. Thankfully, learning how to fluff a pillow isn’t that hard. Start by kneading your pillow by hand, and if that doesn’t restore the pillow fluff, leave it in the sun or throw it in the dryer with a tennis ball. No one is doomed to sleep on a flat pillow! 

Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my pillow so flat?

Over time, pillows flatten because of either increased moisture or the weight of our heads compressing the materials when we lay on them. Foam pillows usually hold up better than down pillows when it comes to flattening over time.

How do you make a flat pillow fluffy again?

There are several tricks to re-fluff a flat pillow. You can manually massage and manipulate your pillow daily, dry it with tennis balls or leave it in the sun to soak up moisture.

Should I use a pillow protector?

A pillow protector does save your pillow from accumulating all the dirt and oil that comes with sleeping. That can help your pillow stay plumper for longer.

What are the common pillow filler materials?

The three most popular pillow filler materials are down, memory foam, and down alternative.

How often should I clean my pillow?

You should wash your pillows every three weeks or so. Your pillow collects dust mites, dead skin, body oil and ultimately becomes pretty unsanitary. Make sure your pillow is completely dry before you use it. Moisture in your pillow will flatten it out and allow mildew to grow.

Is a flat pillow good for your neck?

The height and firmness needs of your pillow will depend on your sleeping position and personal preferences. Stomach sleepers can sometimes get away with sleeping without a pillow. Other positions however need the support and spinal alignment of a pillow.

What is the best pillow for side sleepers?

Typically, side sleepers need taller, firmer pillows to keep their heads in proper alignment. Side sleepers will most likely prefer a foam pillow because of the support and feel. We like Purple Harmony, Layla Pillow and Casper Pillow for side sleepers.