Like most of us, I never spent much time or effort shopping for a pillow. Pillows belonged on my list of boring essentials, purchased only when absolutely necessary.
Recently, however, I was in a car accident. Riding in the passenger seat, I experienced a painful strain in my neck when my friend’s car was rear-ended. The resulting whiplash made me painfully aware of just how important a pillow can be when you’re longing for a good night’s sleep!
It’s Time to Play Goldilocks
I headed to the store to look for my “dream” pillow. I knew that I generally sleep on my side, but occasionally roll onto my stomach. I also knew that I preferred a softer pillow.
The challenge: you can’t test drive a pillow in the way that you can test drive a car. I found that by carefully reading product literature about each potential pillow, then pressing on it to determine the density, I could play Goldilocks enough to determine which one was too soft, which one was too hard, and which one just might be “just right.”
I also made sure to ask about each store’s return policy. Some stores’ representatives said that buying a pillow is like buying a swimsuit: no returns accepted. Others instantly said that they would refund me the full price, no questions asked, as long as I brought back my receipt and the original box/wrappings within 30 days.
Tip: A good way to start your pillow search is online. Even though you may end up buying your pillow at a local store to make returning it easier, you can accomplish substantial research and save time (and possibly money) by shopping online first.
And the Winners Are….
1. The Signature Collection Ambient Comfort Pillow With Celliant: This soft, hypo-allergenic pillow eased my head and neck, and I was impressed with how much more easily I fell asleep and stayed asleep. Five sheep out of five sheep rating (on a scale of one to five: Five means the pillow eliminates the need for counting sheep – while one means you’d better be prepared to start saying “baaa!”).
2. The Tempur-Pedic CloudPillow: Although it is softer than most of the pillows that this brand produces, the Cloud model still provides substantial denseness to support your neck and head. I found it was particularly helpful when I slipped to one side in my sleep: I woke up, corrected my posture, and fell asleep again quickly. Four and a half sheep out of five sheep rating.
3. The Luxury Pillow System from Protect-a-Bed: Superbly soft, this pillow rated number one when it came to that “sink into your pillow” softness that some of us seek when we’re exceptionally tired. That softness helps in the falling-asleep stages, but I did find myself waking up a tad more often than with the Ambient Comfort model. Four and a half sheep rating.
4. The Beyond Perfect Synthetic Down pillow: This pillow is best for those nights when I head to bed early, with enough time to enjoy that guilty pleasure of reading in bed while sipping hot chocolate (probably not the best practice for posture/diet, but very enjoyable as a once in awhile treat!). I propped up my pillow against the headboard and had just the right amount of support for reading. This pillow also served me throughout the night, although not quite as soft as some of the others. Four sheep for sleep; five sheep when used for pre-sleep bedtime reading support!