Why so many pillows?

  • Article by: HELEN ANDERS , Cox News Service
  • Updated: July 3, 2013 - 2:18 PM
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It seems that every time we crawl in for the night — whether it’s at a hotel or at home — we must evict a plethora of pillows in order to snuggle down with the one we select to lay our head upon.

Some of us don’t evict as many as others. The average person sleeps with 2.2 pillows, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates healthy sleeping. More than a fourth of the survey’s respondents said they want at least three pillows.

The pillow proliferation has spawned pillow butlers, pillow concierges and pillow menus in some upscale hotels.

There are pillow videos (check out an award-winning one performed by commercial comics Rhett & Link at sleepbetter.org/2-guys-600-pillows) and pillow chat threads on sites such as Yahoo Answers, which drew a lot of answers with the query: “Why do women want so many pillows on the bed?”

The answer sort of seems to be the bedding version of, “Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don’t.” There are nights when you want to flop onto your stomach with a flat foam pillow, and there are others when you want to drift into dreamland in a cloud of down. Too, some sleepers like to place their heads upon one pillow, cradle another Teddy bear-style and grasp a third with their legs.

The pillow has come a long way from the stones the ancient Egyptians slept on, and there are so many varieties available now that choosing takes some serious consideration. How to pick the best pillow (or pillows) for you?

Consumer Reports suggests that to test a pillow, you put it on a flat surface and press it with your palm until it reaches half its original thickness. “The more pressure you have to apply, the firmer the pillow,” it says. The magazine also suggests you look for neat stitching, a good zipper and piping to cut down on wearing of the edges.

There are now silk-filled pillows that vegans tend to love, along with natural latex pillows filled with real rubber-tree rubber, pillows infused with lavender sachets and buckwheat-hull pillows that sort of feel like beanbags and stay molded in a shape if you need extra neck support.

Pillows filled with gel beads are coming into the market, as well, notes David Perry, Furniture Today’s bedding blogger.

Consumer Reports magazine, which sent pillows home for testing with 71 staffers, concluded that some inexpensive pillows, especially foam ones, were as comfy as more expensive brands.

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