Why Do I Bite My Pillow?

Key Points Summary
Possible Reasons Stress relief, comfort, boredom, habit
Implications Harmless if infrequent; consistent biting may indicate underlying issues
Solutions Professional help, self-help techniques, product changes

Have you ever woken up to find yourself gnawing on your pillow like it’s a late-night snack? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re one among many who wonder, “Why do I bite my pillow?

We’ve dedicated ourselves to help you understand this peculiar habit, its causes and the potential ways to address it.

Did you know? During the Middle Ages in Europe, pillows were deemed a luxury item and were banned. Only pregnant women were exempt from this rule under King Henry VIII's reign.

Possible Reasons Behind the Habit

Stress Relief

When stressed, people often resort to various coping mechanisms to alleviate their discomfort.

Chewing or biting can be a stress-coping behaviour, attenuating stress-induced diseases like gastric ulcers, cognitive, and psychological impairments.


Just like how some people find solace in the aroma of old books, some may find it comforting to chew on soft objects like pillows.

It might be a habit carried over from childhood that’s extended into adulthood. After all, who didn’t have a comforting ‘blankie’ or a favourite stuffed toy they couldn’t sleep without?

A white pillow on a grey sofa


Chewing on pillows isn’t just a human phenomenon. Pets, especially dogs and cats, are known culprits too, often gnawing on pillows out of boredom. However, unlike our furry friends, humans can find more productive ways to deal with boredom.


Some people may have developed a subconscious habit of chewing on objects like pillows. Just like how some tap their foot or twirl their hair, pillow biting can become an unconscious habit over time.

“It’s unclear why you bite your pillow, but there are several possible reasons why people might chew on pillows or other objects.” 

When to Seek Help

Occasional pillow biting is nothing to lose sleep over. However, if you find yourself frequently waking up with a mouthful of pillow or if your pillow biting is accompanied by teeth grinding, it may be time to seek professional advice.

A good night’s sleep is paramount to a healthy lifestyle. At Dream HQ, we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive sleep solutions to ensure you wake up each morning refreshed and rejuvenated. From providing memory foam options for side sleepers to answering questions like “is a hard mattress good for side sleepers,” we’ve got you covered.

Is Biting Pillows Harmful to Your Health?

Let’s address the crux of the matter: Is biting pillows harmful to your health?

There is no clear evidence to suggest that biting pillows poses any substantial health risks. However, regular and vigorous chewing could lead to potential issues. The wear and tear on your teeth might be a concern, and you should definitely keep an eye out for any discomfort or changes in your oral health. In such instances, it’s wise to seek advice from a dental professional.

Moreover, hygiene plays a crucial role here. Pillows are not the cleanest objects around. Over time, they can become a haven for dust mites, bed bugs, and fleas. If you’re biting a dirty pillow, you’re potentially exposing yourself to these unwelcome guests. To ensure your bedding stays clean, consider the advice in our guide on maintaining a clean and healthy mattress lifespan.

The Canine Connection

Just as humans might find comfort in nibbling on pillows, our canine companions might find it tempting too. However, it’s essential to remember that pillows are not chew toys and leaving your dog alone with a bite pillow could lead to a shredded mess or, worse, a choking hazard.

Pillow Biting and HealthConsiderations
Dental HealthFrequent and vigorous biting could potentially cause wear and tear on teeth.
HygieneDirty pillows can harbour dust mites, bed bugs, and fleas.
PetsPillows are not chew toys for pets and could pose a choking hazard.

How to Stop Biting Pillows

Once we’ve understood the reasons behind the biting, the next step is finding solutions. Here are a few strategies to help you break the pillow-biting habit:

Identify the Underlying Cause

Start with a bit of self-reflection. Why are you biting your pillows? Is it due to stress, boredom, or has it simply become a habit? Understanding the root cause is the first step towards addressing it effectively. Awareness is the first step towards change.

Find Alternative Outlets

If you’re using pillow biting as a stress-relief mechanism, consider healthier alternatives. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, or physical activities like yoga or a brisk walk can work wonders to relieve stress. Also, engaging in hobbies that you enjoy can be a great way to keep boredom at bay.

Replace the Habit

If biting pillows has become a habit for you, it’s time to consciously replace it with a different behaviour. You can keep a stress ball or chewable toy nearby to redirect your urge to bite towards these objects. Replacing a negative habit with a positive one can lead to lasting change.

Create a Pillow-free Environment

This might sound a bit drastic, but if you find it challenging to resist biting pillows when they’re easily accessible, try keeping them out of reach. You could store them in a different room, or use pillow covers with zippers to deter yourself from biting. Out of sight, out of mind!

Identify the CauseUnderstand why you’re biting your pillow.
Alternative OutletsFind healthier stress-relief mechanisms.
Replace the HabitReplace pillow biting with another, safer behaviour.
Pillow-free EnvironmentLimit access to pillows to resist temptation.

Alternative Stress-coping Behaviours to Biting Pillows

Chewing or biting pillows can be a form of stress relief for some, but it’s not the only way. In fact, there are numerous healthier alternatives to help manage stress levels. Here are some examples:

Squeezing a Stress Ball

This is an excellent way to release tension and provide a physical outlet for stress. Squeezing a stress ball engages your muscles and as you release the ball, your muscles relax. This action can reduce the feelings of stress from your mind and body.

Punching a Pillow or Cushion

If you’re feeling particularly frustrated or angry, you might find punching a pillow or cushion to be a safe and harmless outlet. This physical activity can release tension and leave you feeling calmer.

Listening to Music

Music has a unique link to our emotions. Whether it’s upbeat music to lift your spirits or soothing melodies to help relax, music can provide an escape from painful and overwhelming feelings.

Engaging in Creative Activities

Art, writing, crafting – all these activities allow you to express your feelings physically. This sense of control over your expression can be a valuable outlet for distress.

Snapping Rubber Bands on Your Wrist

This might sound peculiar, but snapping a rubber band on your wrist can help distract your mind from negative thoughts and provide a quick, minor physical sensation that isn’t harmful.

Holding Ice or Running Hands under Water

These physical sensations can distract from emotional pain. They provide a calming effect that helps soothe the body and mind.

Remember, what works for one person might not work for another. The key is to find what works best for you.

Alternative Stress-coping BehaviourDescription
Squeezing a Stress BallReleases tension and provides a physical outlet for stress.
Punching a Pillow or CushionA harmless way to release anger or frustration.
Listening to MusicProvides a temporary escape from overwhelming feelings.
Engaging in Creative ActivitiesAllows for physical expression of distress.
Snapping Rubber Bands on Your WristProvides a physical outlet for stress and redirects focus.
Holding Ice or Running Hands under WaterSoothing physical sensations to distract from emotional pain.

Incorporating Stress-coping Behaviours into Your Daily Routine

Daily life can sometimes feel like a whirlwind of tasks and responsibilities, which can pile on the stress. Incorporating stress-coping behaviours into your routine can provide much-needed relief, promoting mental and emotional well-being. Here are some ways to achieve this:

Identify Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Firstly, identify healthy coping mechanisms that resonate with you. This could range from exercising and mindfulness, to creative outlets and social support. Journaling and self-reflection can also serve as constructive tools to navigate and process feelings.

Develop a Routine

Establishing a routine not only helps manage stress but also brings a sense of structure and predictability to your life. Imagine starting your day with a calming yoga session or ending it with a mindfulness practice before bed. Routine can be a powerful ally in your journey towards well-being.

Make Self-care a Priority

Lastly, make self-care a priority. This means getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities that promote relaxation and well-being. Don’t forget, your bedding plays a significant role in a good night’s sleep and consequently, your overall health.

Stress-coping StrategyMethod
Identify Healthy Coping MechanismsFind mechanisms such as exercise, mindfulness, and creative outlets that work for you.
Develop a RoutineIntegrate stress-coping mechanisms into your daily routine for structure and predictability.
Prioritise Self-careEnsure adequate sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and engage in relaxation-promoting activities.


Why do I want to chew on things?

People often feel the urge to chew on objects when they’re experiencing stress or anxiety. It’s a type of sensory stimulation that can help soothe these feelings. However, frequent, non-food chewing may indicate an underlying issue worth addressing.

Is it okay to kiss a pillow?

Kissing a pillow is harmless and can sometimes serve as a form of stress relief or emotional comfort. However, cleanliness is vital, as pillows can accumulate dust mites and bacteria over time, which can pose health risks.

Why does my cat chew my pillow?

Cats may chew on pillows due to teething, boredom, or even dietary deficiencies. It’s their way of exploring their environment. However, frequent, intense chewing can be harmful and might warrant a visit to the vet.

Why do puppies chew on pillows?

Puppies chew on pillows (and just about anything else) primarily due to teething. It helps them relieve the discomfort of new teeth coming in. It’s also a way for them to explore their environment. Training and chew-toys can help manage this.

Parting Thoughts

In conclusion, pillow biting is a behaviour that can be driven by various factors such as stress, comfort, boredom, or habit. While it’s not directly harmful, frequent or aggressive pillow chewing might indicate an underlying issue that requires addressing. We’ve explored the implications of pillow biting and have offered some viable alternatives to this behaviour such as squeezing a stress ball, listening to music, or engaging in creative activities. We’ve also discussed ways to incorporate these stress-coping mechanisms into your daily routine.

In this article, we have covered:

  • The possible reasons behind the urge to bite pillows
  • The potential health implications of this behaviour
  • Alternative stress-coping mechanisms
  • How to incorporate these alternatives into your daily routine

If you’re in search of the perfect sleep setup to support your journey towards better sleep and overall wellness, look no further than Dream HQ. And remember, if you notice your pet exhibiting similar pillow-chewing behaviour, it’s worth consulting sources like this NeoGAF discussion to understand why and how to manage it. Take steps today towards healthier, stress-free living for you and your loved ones. Sleep well and dream big.

– Article by Lewis Hugh


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