A pillow's normal life span is just two to four years. Pillows have a much shorter life than duvets because they're flattened by the weight of our heads. Once pillows start to go, they no longer give the support you need and can become very unhygienic.
Here are some signs that your pillow needs replacing:
Your pillow is discoloured
We lose up to a pint of sweat each night. This inevitably dirties and stains your pillow cover and allows unhealthy bacteria to grow inside the filling.
You wake up with neck ache
It may be because your pillow has become flat or lumpy, and no longer supports your neck as it should. It may also mean that you have the wrong pillow for your sleeping style.
You wake up wheezy or with a runny or blocked nose
You may be allergic to house dust mites living in your pillow. New pillows are dust mite-free. Once a week, pop your pillows in a tumble dryer for 15 minutes to kill dust mites and freshen and fluff them.
FIRM OR SOFT?
How firm or soft your pillow feels depends on what filling is used. In a natural pillow, firmness depends on:
- Ratio of feather to down - feather being firm, down being soft
- Quality of down - the larger the down cluster, the softer the feel
Take your time choosing the pillow that will give you the right balance of support and comfort for your body shape and size, your personal preference, and, most critically, the position you sleep in. Everyone is different, and you and your partner may have different needs.
Do you sleep on your back or tummy?
You'll need one soft pillow (not too thick) that will offer support by gently moulding to the shape of your head and neck.
Do you sleep on your side?
You'll need one firmer pillow (or two pillows, depending on how broad your shoulders are) to keep your head supported and aligned with your spine. A firm bottom pillow and a soft top pillow might be a good choice.
Surround pillows offer the best of both worlds. They're ideal if you like a soft feel but need extra support. Surround pillows are made with an outer layer, or 'surround', of lofty filling for softness and an inner core of firmer filling for support. If you're unsure whether you need firm or soft support, visit one of our stores where we can help you to try out a variety of pillows.
Babies under 12 months shouldn't sleep with pillows, duvets or quilts. Instead, we advise using a baby sleeping bag without a pillow.
A child's first pillow should be very soft so as not to strain little necks. We recommend using a non-allergenic pillow for children. You can machine wash and tumble dry our non-allergenic pillows at up to 40°C. Our down and feather pillows will take temperatures of up to 60°C. Dust mites are killed at around 57°C