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How You Rest Your Head by Barbara Jennings

When we think of getting a good night's sleep and problems with doing that, we usually thinking about the quality of our mattress. But how often have you given thought about your pillow? Do you find yourself tossing and turning, doing battle with a pillow you bought ions ago? Are you a pillow cheapskate, trying to get by on the same pillow for decades?

bed pillows, choose a pillow, bedpillows If you're not getting a good night's sleep, chances are you don't have the right pillow. When you consider you'll spend about 3,000 hours on your pillow in a year, it suddenly becomes a more important topic of discussion, right? Most of us bought our synthetic pillows at major chair stores in a two-for-one sale. Common, admit it. You know you did. But are you aware that a wrong pillow can cause abnormal neck flexion or extension, which could result in muscle spasms or a cervical strain? I suffer from degenerated discs in my neck and I've often wondered if my poor pillow choices were the culprit in my now irreversible neck pain.

So, let's assume we all need to buy new pillows. Ok, where does one start? First, you need to know yourself. The pillow that's right for you depends on your sleeping position.

Firm pillows work well for people who sleep on their side. Medium pillows work best for those who sleep primarily on their back. You should avoid sleeping on your stomach because it forces you to turn your neck awkwardly to one side to breathe. This is not good. But if you just can't make it without being on your stomach, then use a soft, lightly filled pillow.

Smaller people should use softer pillows. For those with large, broad shoulders, a firmer pillow would be the right choice.

Pay attention to the stuffing in the pillow. The pillow industry refers to it as "fill". The majority of us buy synthetic filled pillows because they are the least inexpensive. Primaloft polyester pillows give you the "feeling of down" but without the sneezes. Pick ones with a high thread-count cover. You can get these at such stores as Land's End or the Company Store.

While pillow experts claim that today's down and feather pillows are well cleaned, I'm still personally leary. But if you're shopping for them, look for those with "fill power": above 500-fill power. For the height of luxury, check out the Eastern European goose down, said to be big in Europe. The prices are not cheap but perhaps the benefits totally out-weigh that.

A good rule of thumb: consider a pillow a good short-term investment. By short term, I mean 1-3 years. Bacteria and dust mites live in the shed skin particles that your body sluffs off daily. Do you really want to live with an over-abundance of those critters next to your face? Bty the way, be sure to wash your sheets and pillow cases at least once a week.

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One Important Decorating Color
How to Mix Patterns
Make House Plants Your Friends
A Fire's Best Friend
Cautions About Your Pillows
Using Quilts to Warm Up Your Home
The "Must-Have" Ugly Accessory
List of Free Decorating Tips

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(2004-05 Copyright Barbara Jennings)

Barbara Jennings
is the West Coast Pioneer in Redesign, author of 7 decorating books, a published artist, corporate art consultant, and furniture arrangement consultant. For training in professional furniture and accessory arrangement, or to start your own redesign or art consulting business, please visit: