Picking Out The Perfect Pillow

August 20, 2018

© Elena Elisseeva | Dreamstime

We focus a lot on our mattress as to the reason we do or do not get a good night's sleep but in many cases it is your pillow that is the culprit.  When it comes to pillows, it's all about the fill. Beyond a soft or firm pillow, he fill can cool you down, contour to your neck and even keep bacteria at bay. But with all this choice of pillow fill, what is best for you? Let's start with the more traditional and luxurious of pillow, the down. The soft clusters under the breast feathers of geese and ducks that insulate the birds in cold weather ash long been used in pillows. Aside from being incredibly soft, the nice thing about real down is that it’s naturally anti-microbial and hypoallergenic.  According to a sleep research firm, many people think they’re allergic to down but in many cases, the allergy comes from the dust mites that reside in down.  Keeping your pillow in a tightly woven pillow protector, you can most likely sleep on down without a problem. However the downside is that down is expensive and many come with regular feathers as fill to reduce costs.  Plus they eventually will go flat. When shopping, look for the “fill power” to get a sense of fluffiness. The figure (typically 300 to 800) refers to the space occupied by an ounce of down. The higher, the better. Polyester, or down alternative. is probably the most widely used fill in pillows. You can throw polyester pillows in the washing machine and dry them on low in a dryer and there are really comfortable fluffy, well-made poly pillows. However texture of poly provides lots of places for dust mites to hide (needs to be washed often). And polyester can sometimes be uncomfortable with a generally short lifespan as they become lumpy. Make sure to avoid cheap varieties as they offer little support. Natural latex is great for those with neck or back pain as it pushes back on your head while you rest giving it a floating feeling. However it is expensive and can retain heat.  Look for latex pillows infused with copper, which distribute your heads heat to help you head stay cool. Memory foam feels cushy. It contours to the shape of your head and slowly returns to form. Also hypoallergenic and anti-microbial, memory foam pillows don't go flat over time like a down pillow. However they absorb heat and the pillow's firmness can be affected by heat making it softer in the summer and firmer in the winter. Gel pillows can cool your head when you first use them. While gel absorbs heat but can’t dissipate it, so the coolness typically wears off in 10 minutes.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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