We’re considering a pillow test but I wanted to get a sense of whether there was much call for it. There is a little bit of interest occasionally on our site, so we wouldn’t want to go all in and test them senseless (costs and what have you).
Which of the following do you find most important when thinking about pillow testing?
- Breathability (how well a pillow dissipates moisture)
- The number of people who find it comfortable (a survey type)
- Resilience (how the structure changes over time)
- Side support (a measure of how well side sleepers get supported around their head/neck)
- Back support (a measure of how well back sleepers get supported around their head/neck)
The other thing we look for is construction materials and coolness. Nothing worse than having a hot pillow in the middle of summer.
If you are going to test pillows I hope you will include feather as well as duck and goose down varieties. I came to learn Chinese sourced down is not the same as European sourced down, the latter being superior in each of my experiences.
Since my first down pillow decades ago none of the foam varieties work for me. They are soft, scrunch, crush, and fluff like nothing else. A local company cleans and repacks feather and down pillows for $35 and ours go in roughly every 2 years for a ‘fix up’. Each fix-up does dilute the top quality down so eventually they need to be replaced.
Sheridan products are overpriced and poor value; when on sale just expensive; but are Really Nice! <-hint
She who must be obeyed and I went looking at pillows last week, and decided that our bank balance couldn’t take that size a hit.
She likes the feather ones for the same reasons as you state. I like to common-or-garden variety, but want them to not collapse under the weight of my apparently heavy head.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but pillows seemed to not last as long as they used to. We seem to be replacing them every couple of years; not nearly long enough for the inside cover to discolour properly to a shade of tan.
I’m a fan of latex pillows. Haven’t looked back since buying one a few years ago. The most comfortable ever.
I found most pillows too high for me. I got a memory foam pillow and cut a fair amount out of the middle to lower the centre, leaving a ridge under the neck and allowing the head to lay back (I am a back sleeper). I have had fancy adjustable memory foam, down, feathers, cheap synthetics, but never anything as comfortable this. Unfortunately the cut foam eventually becomes brown and brittle and has to be replaced.
Its a real problem when you have a short neck. I dont think I have had a comfortable pillow since I left home. And the one I had there was a bag of rubber bits and pieces!! (Well, it was considered de rigeur for the time, and it was a lot better than it sounds).
These days I am in real strife because I need to sleep half sitting up (cardiac system doesnt work so well anymore), and because of CPAP, find that most pillows are not much chop (including the special CPAP ones for side sleepers). Generally, pillows are horrid. I need to chuck all mine (can they be recycled? Nope?) and get new ones. But what to get is the issue. I think an adjustable bed might help a lot.
I got one of those once. I sighed with relief as my head sank into it and my neck was supported really well… went to sleep easily and comfortably. Then I woke and needed to turn over and my head got stuck and did not turn as the rest of the bod did… thus my neck (already compromised by a whiplash injury from years ago) was wrenched in a most unpleasant way, and its never been OK since then. Lots of unremitting pain, frequently. Memory foam now terrifies me
Some years ago we bought 2 duck down & feathers pillows from Spotlight.
My wife did not like hers but mine is the most comfortable pillow I have ever slept on.
My wife still uses her previous very thin and soft pillow so I am now using the second duck pillow after the first one became too stained from perspiration for my wife’s acceptance.
When I wake up to go to the bathroom during the night, I simply flip it over so as to again have a nice fresh surface.
For many decades, whenever we drive anywhere to stay with relatives, friends, or for business or on holidays, we both take our pillows so as to get a good night’s sleep as we hate not feeling comfortable on strange pillows.
Back in the 1990’s when we stayed at times at the former Sheraton Hotel in Turbot Street in Brisbane, the porters would bring out the luggage trolley and we would add our favourite pillows on top of the luggage much to their apparent surprise.
I also recall waiting from around 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM at the former Sheraton Hotel in Darwin for an extra pillow to be delivered to our room, as they had failed to leave them in the cupboard. despite many calls to reception as we had flown there.
Couldn’t complain about the service. There wasn’t any.
I sleep on my front on the edge of the pillow. Most tests seem to assume a back or side sleeper. So I think I have an unusual need. Not too soft and not too wide.
I had to go to Aldi a couple of days ago and noticed they had “Talalay Latex” pillows, gel infused. They weren’t very thick and not expensive so I decided to give one a trial. Its LIGHT (I always expect latex to be heavy) and bouncy. At this stage it doesn’t really feel any different to a basic foam pillow. It is OK, but not great.
 Further to this… I don’t like the pillow at all. Its been relegated to the couch as an additional support behind my back, replacing the one which I was previously using, which will now be dumped.
We use many things that our bodies don’t need but we have been brainwashed, sometimes over centuries and particularly in Western culture, to see them as normal. These include soft, expensive mattresses and pillows. I was brought up with a mattress that was almost as hard as sleeping on the floor and a very, very thin pillow. From my teens and onwards, I intermittently did without a pillow and had no problems. I haven’t used a pillow for years (am now in my late 50’s) and am much better for it. I also sleep on a Japanese futon (extremely thin unlike the western style futons, and I am not Japanese) directly on the floor. Given that “we” have been brought up with pillows as being “normal”, it would take most people (if they had the desire) months of deliberate, incremental reduction of pillow height to achieve a pillowless state.Think about it for a moment: what was normal for human bodies for hundreds of thousands of years with respect to footwear, beds, pillows etc? Humans don’t evolve that much in the space of a century or 3! We are like goldfish in many ways: just as they don’t realise that they live in water, we don’t realise the many “normal” things that we inflict on ourselves and then try to find cures/relief for the harm caused to our bodies by them.
Keen for this! I’ve bought many pillows over the years that I haven’t liked but of course can’t return once they’ve been used. Would love some advice about how to select the right pillow when returning it isn’t an option.
Nice to see you again, @sandy.rigby.
We know wear shoes on our feet and clothes on our back, we sleep off the floor and choose the bedding which is most suitable to us: isn’t this called
Assume @MattSteen Choice is not excluding testing of Asian style neck pillows or the ever popular buck wheat filled pillows common in Japan.
Should a proper A-B test include some of the most internationally used pillow styles and forms? We have a number of comments favouring down filled European luxury. What do approx 3.0+B Asian households prefer?
Who says the style of pillows we are offered are the best for our needs? They may simply be the most appealing and readily marketable highly profitable lumps of cheap fibre and foam an importer can find.
The ultimate sham with pillows (and mattresses) is that we need to throw them out after a fixed period of time. Some “sleep specialist” shop staff have advised us just five years for a mattress and twelve months for our pillows. Talk about that extra centimetre of tooth paste hanging off the end of the brush in those TV commercials.
Perhaps some pillow facts and expert medical advice about head and neck support might be more useful than sleep testing.
Is direct testing likely highly subjective and driven by personal or customary difference? A bit like road testing religions, and assuming we are all conventional Christians. Australia is very diverse in religious outlook and likely sleeping needs/habits.
My preference (pillows) comfortable height and form for side sleeping, no sag, soft on the face and ear, and cool cool cool in summer. I kept trying different firmer memory foam options to get the right height and form. I use mine flipped over as the moulded side is the wrong profile for me. Thickish padded cotton protector slip does the rest.
Good luck with the testing, if you proceed. It will certainly offer up some challenges and diverse opinions. I look forward to the outcome, which ever way Choice chooses to proceed.
Current pillow was a cheapie from Woolworths. I have a second standard shaped (flat profile) memory foam cheapie from Spotlight that is a close second.
I’d definitely like pillow testing done. I hope there is some science to it — Ie how much the pillow compressed down under a test weigh equivalent to the normal weight from a head.
I’ve found dunlopillo latex pillows the best over the years — other brands of latex are often too firm or too high for me, but dunlopillo offers a good range of softness and height.
The Chinese once used pillows as hard as a plank…
Trends and times do change.
Sorry, what would be the ‘Normal’ weight from a head?
Well… since there’s only so much fat you can carry on a head, the range of weight doesn’t carry that wildly. A few google searches suggest 4.5-5kg.
Average Weight of Human Head
I couldn’t find any references for this online, so I asked around my workplace (the Department of Anatomy & Histology, University of Sydney). The most convincing response came from the service room where the technical officers actually cut up the bodies:
“An adult human cadaver head cut off around vertebra C3, with no hair, weighs somewhere between 4.5 and 5 kg, constituting around 8% of the whole body mass.”
Don’t know how the weight of the connected neck and body affects that but I’m sure it’s not too hard to find out…
Ugh, too much information!
Hi Gaby. Progress? I know that my back and neck pain has disappeared since taking to either bare feet or zero-drop shoes with wide toe-boxes. Would you put a wedge under one edge of a level bookshelf or table? Our bodies have to compensate for heels (no matter now small) which pushes our hips forward, our upper bodies back and our neck and heads forward causing all sorts of issues and that’s not even addressing the injuries caused by shoe-wearing. I sleep much better on a flat, hard surface with no pillow (regardless of weather) and feel physically the better for it than when on a mattress or western-style futon (my main “mattress” for prior decades). Pillow - just think about first aid and how to get air into a person’s lungs. It’s definitely NOT by pushing their head forward relative to the rest of their body. As someone else commented about pillows used in other areas of the world, I bought a Japanese buckwheat-filled pillow when I purchased my current futon. I’ve used it a few times but 99.9% of the time don’t use it. The odd time that I have, I’ve ended up pushing it out of the way and using none. I don’t believe that progress necessarily equates to improvement.