This Is Why Hotel Pillows Are So Uncomfortable


Staying in a hotel can be an exciting and fun adventure. It usually means you’re on a trip away from home, which can help you relax and forget some of your daily stresses. However, being unable to sleep well can ruin a hotel stay, and the biggest way to predict if you’ll be able to sleep at a hotel is by how comfortable its pillows are. 

Hotel pillows are so uncomfortable because they are very soft, which can be uncomfortable for many sleepers who prefer more support. Pillow materials and how they’re washed can also affect how comfortable they are. 

However, there are multiple reasons why you might encounter uncomfortable hotel pillows. In this article, I’ll explain more about this, and why you might find hotel pillows to be so uncomfortable. 

Hotels Use Soft Pillows

One of the number one reasons hotel pillows are so uncomfortable is because hotels often use soft pillows. While soft pillows will feel comfortable if you’re just lounging in bed, they don’t usually offer too much support. 

In this case, your hotel pillow may seem comfortable at first, but your neck pain the next morning will show that you didn’t get the good night’s sleep you wanted. Alternatively, some hotels also use pillows that are too firm or too flat.  

In all of these cases, you’ll likely find that your pillow is sub-par for you to get a good night’s rest, especially if you are particularly fond of your at-home pillow.

The Way You Sleep Affects the Pillows’ Comfort

Knowing how you typically sleep is the primary indicator you can use to figure out what sort of pillow you need. Soft pillows are great for just general lounging around, but they aren’t ideal for most sleeping positions. 

If you usually sleep on your stomach, then a soft pillow will be perfect for you because you won’t need much pillow support. 

In fact, if you’re a stomach sleeper, having a pillow that’s too firm can actually make your ability to sleep worse because your neck will be bent at an angle all night. This will cause neck pain that could become chronic if you don’t switch your pillow for one that allows your head to be leveled more. 

Side-sleepers are considered to be the most common types of sleepers. If you sleep on your side, a soft pillow won’t give you the support your neck needs to get a good night’s rest. Since most people sleep on their sides at night, soft hotel pillows will likely be uncomfortable for them. 

Back sleepers may fall into both categories. 

People who enjoy being propped up a little as they sleep on their back may prefer a firmer pillow that offers more support. However, people who like to sleep while lying completely flat will likely do better with a soft pillow that allows them to sink into the cushioning. 

However, in both cases, even if you don’t get the optimal sleep you could with the right pillow, it’s unlikely that a too soft or too firm pillow will cause any physical discomfort. 

Hotels Wash Their Pillows

If you’ve ever put a pillow in the washing machine, you know what that can do to the stuffing inside your pillow casing. Depending on the type of pillow stuffing you have, all the stuffing may start to shift unevenly, leaving a lumpy surface. 

Or the stuffing may start to become firm and less comfortable to use. 

It’s essential you wash your pillows correctly, on a gentle wash cycle, and in warm water. However, if you aren’t careful, it can become unusable. 

Hotels should wash their pillows after each visitor, if not every day. Hotels with high-turnover rates may cut back on time and costs by washing their pillows the quick but less ideal way. That means that you might end up sleeping on an uneven or lumpy pillow that the washing machine has ruined. 

Hotels Might Use Cheaper Pillows and Bedding

While luxury hotels will likely have expensive, high-quality linens and bedding, more budget-friendly places won’t have the funds for fancy bedding. In lower-cost lodgings, you’ll probably notice the sheets might feel a little more stiff or scratchy than your sheets at home. 

Or the blankets may not be as thick. 

The same sort of comparison can be made for your pillows. There’s a lot of inventory needed to run even a small hotel, including plenty of pillows. To cut back on costs, hotels might purchase cheaper materials, possibly replacing them with better versions later. 

Unfortunately, cheaper pillows are often much less comfortable. Even if your pillow at home could be considered “inexpensive,” what is deemed to be inexpensive for private use might still be too high of a cost for a hotel. 

That’s why you might find hotels with pillows that are particularly flat, firm, soft, or scratchy in feel. 

How To Make Your Hotel Pillow More Comfortable

If you’ve experienced uncomfortable hotel pillows or you’re worried you might while on an upcoming trip, there are a few things you can do to help you sleep peacefully. 

Check for Extra Pillows

If you need extra support while you sleep, you can always check to see if your room comes with an extra pillow that you can use in the closet. You can stack a few softer or thinner pillows to help add support when you sleep. 

Call the Front Desk

If all the pillows in your room are being used, but you still feel like your pillow will be too uncomfortable to get the sleep you want, you can always call the front desk of your hotel. Often, they might be able to send up extra or replacement pillows for you. 

Your hotel might have pillows that are different levels of firmness if you want a softer or firmer pillow. Or they might simply have spares you can use. 

If your problem is a lumpy pillow, you might get lucky and receive a replacement that is more even in feel. However, this might not be the solution for you if all the hotel’s pillows are the same or uncomfortable due to their quality. 

Bring Your Own Pillows

This might seem like an extreme solution, but if you are particular about your pillows and want to make sure you get the rest you need, you might want to consider bringing your own. You can find travel pillows like the Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Pillow on Amazon, for example, that are easy to pack and bring with you on a trip. 

However, you can even consider bringing a regular-sized pillow as well. That way, you can be sure you have a pillow that’s comfortable for you no matter where you go.

In Conclusion

Hotel pillows can be uncomfortable for a few reasons, the main one being that they are too soft for most sleepers. Even though it’s common to find yourself in a hotel room with an uncomfortable pillow, there are a few options you can use to solve this problem.

A simple call down to the front desk of your hotel can work wonders to help you have sweet dreams.

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