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Picking the Perfect Pillow for Sleeping

Rip Van Winkle slumbered for twenty years while the world passed him by. We like to believe his great sleep was the result of a few well-spent minutes selecting the perfect pillow!  Below are some of the features you might want to consider or to discuss with the Pillow Specialists at Down Etc to be sure you select the perfect pillow to meet your needs.

Size Does Matter

Typical sizes for pillows include standard, queen, king, which are rectangular, but vary in length, and Euro, which is a square.  The size of your pillow is more than an aesthetic decision.  Different size pillows serve different functions.  While a standard-size pillow might suffice for a back sleeper, if you sleep on your side or stomach, you might prefer a queen or king size pillow that will allow you to situate your arms and legs more comfortably.

Don't forget about the bulk of your pillow. In order to maintain spinal health and proper body alignment, it is important to fill the space between your head and shoulders, no matter your sleep position. As a result, a back or stomach sleeper might opt for a thinner pillow, whereas a side sleeper will opt for at least one bulky pillow, or perhaps two or more thinner ones. Spinal health and comfort tend to go hand in hand.

They Come in All Shapes

Your preferred sleep position plays a role in the shape of the pillow you choose. For example, long pillows (such as king size or body pillows) are generally better for side sleepers. You’re probably familiar with square and rectangular pillows, but there are a variety of shapes with which you are probably less familiar, including cylinders, wedges, and even bendable forms and C-shaped or U-shaped options. Each pillow shape is designed to meet a different need. The best way to figure out which shape is best for you is to give them all a squeeze. Hug each pillow like you would while sleeping to see how it fits your body. If you feel uncomfortable doing this in the store, you might want to try out several options at home and relegate the "wrong" pillows to your guest bedroom. They could end up being perfect for overnight guests. We’ll discuss the wide variety of decorative pillows and pillow inserts in future posts.

The Inside Counts

The fill you choose will determine the feel of the pillow when you lie down and is a matter of preference.  On the softest side of the spectrum are pillows filled with all goose down.  Down is the cluster found on the underside of a goose or a duck (waterfowl); the clusters of soft, fine strands stem from a central point. As they interlock, they trap air, which keeps you warm. Feathers, on the other hand, are the outer plumage of a waterfowl; feathers have a quill and are flatter than a down cluster, as well as thicker, and do not entrap air to provide the warmth provided by a down cluster. Generally, the more down, the fluffier and softer the pillow; the more feathers, the firmer the pillow. The introduction of feathers to the down will increase the firmness of the pillow. If neither feathers nor down are to your liking, there is no shame in selecting a polyester fill. Whether you like your pillows squishy, springy, or firm, you'll find the filling you choose will make a difference in your comfort level, as well as the relative quality of your slumber. This is particularly true if you are looking for a pillow for someone who snores.  Purchasing the perfect pillow for someone who snores is the subject of a separate post.  This is another instance where giving prospective pillows a nice big hug can help you find the perfect one.

Consider More Than One

Who ever said you are limited to one pillow? Certainly not the team at Down Etc. There's nothing to stop you from using several to ensure the most comfortable sleeping position. If you sleep on your side, you could stack two under your head. You might use a firm one and a soft one interchangeably, or use two soft ones for added lift. You could put a pillow between your legs for spinal alignment, or you might hug one to elevate your arm. If you sleep on your back or your stomach, you could place pillows under your torso or legs. And you could even use a variety of shapes and sizes. Don't limit yourself to one perfect pillow when you might need several for maximum comfort or to achieve the look you desire for the bed.

Protect Your Investment

Once you’ve picked the perfect pillow or pillows, be sure to protect your investment by enclosing your pillows in protectors.  In the next blog, we’ll discuss the pros of using pillow protectors.  There are no cons. 

In spite of using pillow protectors and pillowcases, some dirt will eventually reach your pillow.  We recommend you wash your pillows as needed, but at least once every six months. We give you tips for washing pillows and comforters in other posts.

It’s That Time Again

Even the perfect pillow has a limited lifespan, and you'll probably want to replace yours annually, not only for comfort, but also due to the allergens and oils that can accumulate over time and lead to acne, allergy symptoms, and disrupted slumber. Regular replacement is an important part of ensuring you always get your forty winks. Even Rip Van Winkle woke up after twenty years - probably because it was time to get a new pillow.

Updated August 3, 2022 

Down Etc | 305 Adrian Road, Millbrae, CA 94030 | Available Monday through Friday from 9:00AM to 5:00PM Pacific Time at 1.866.downetc / 1.866.369.6382 | downetc@downetc.com | www.downetc.com

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