Where to Lay Your Head – Pillows and Their Differences

If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on, it would be that getting a full, restful eight hours of sleep can be hard to come by.  Having the right pillow, however, can make all the difference, changing another dreaded long night into a sleep that results in productivity and liveliness the next day.  With new innovations in pillows emerging all the time, it’s important to know why some work and some don’t.  The materials used to construct the pillow could shed some light on which to choose and why.

The Popular

The pillow making the news most recently is the MyPillow.  A MyPillow is actually filled with 100% polyurethane clumps.  If you were to tear one open, you would find hundreds of shredded pieces of polyurethane foam.  Depending on the fill level you prefer, you can get anywhere from a soft to a super firm MyPillow, each differing only in the amount of filling they contain.  More filling means more firm, and the shredded aspect of the foam pieces makes it easier to manipulate and adjust the pillow to fit the contours of your head and sleeping style, allowing you to create your desired level of support for optimal sleep time.

A memory foam pillow is also made from polyurethane foam, but unlike the MyPillow, the memory foam pillow is often a solid block of foam.  This pillow will adjust to your head and neck position while you sleep, even if you tend to turn often through the night.  A memory foam pillow is not shredded polyurethane, however, so you have less control in manually manipulating the shape of the pillow; it will simply adjust to your head and neck on its own, unlike the shredded pieces of foam found in the MyPillow.

Another popular pillow type is the feather pillow, which is very similar to the down pillow.  Feather pillows are filled with exactly what you’d expect: feathers.  Ducks, geese, and other waterfowl are the primary sources of both feathers and down found in pillows.  Down pillows up the luxury factor a notch and are softer, lacking the quills of a regular feather pillow.  Keep in mind, though, that if you’re looking for support, feather pillows are very soft and won’t give you what you’re looking for in terms of firmness.

Some people prefer a pillow with that could easily match the feeling of resting your head on a rock and calling it a night under the stars in the great outdoors.  While that level of comfort isn’t for everyone, Microbead and Buckwheat pillows aim to please the user looking for a pillow with the hardest level of support.  Microbead pillows are often found in travel pillows, and they are made from small beads of unexpanded polystyrene.  Buckwheat pillows are made from the husks of buckwheat seeds.  Both utilize tiny bead type support to maintain their hard pillow allure.

The Extras

In addition to the aforementioned pillow types, it is possible to find multiple variations for many.  For example, most memory foam pillow manufacturers also offer gel-infused versions of their pillows.  The gel-infused pillow may contain anywhere from a ½ inch to 2-inch layer of gel that is intended to allow the pillow to remain at a cooler temperature than a standard memory foam pillow.  The difference in temperature is said to allow for a more peaceful night’s sleep.

Gel isn’t the only option you have when it comes to add-on’s.  You should consider changing pillow size if your current pillow just isn’t cutting it.  Pillows in nearly all styles vary in size from twin all the way to body pillows, which are pillows long enough to actually snuggle up against during sleep.

In the end, ask yourself some basic questions.  Do you need lots of support for your head and neck or very little?  Will you be likely to move around a lot during the night, or do you tend to find a position and stick with it all night long?  And does pillow temperature tend to affect how well you sleep?  You may just find that with a few minor adjustments to your pillow, a great night’s rest is something even you can achieve.  And knowing how and why a pillow does or doesn’t work should enable you to make the right choice for you.