The term ‘pillow’ comes from the medieval Latin ‘conixum’, derived from ‘coxa’, i.e. thigh, ‘seat cushion’.
Certainly in ancient times man did not worry too much about the type of pillow to use to find relief when resting, but it was certainly an element that brought a certain amount of attention; as evidence of this, there are in fact numerous finds that show that the earliest ancestors of the pillow date back as far as Mesopotamia, even if it was only large hollowed out stones on which to rest the head.
The ancient Egyptians, on the other hand, used stone or wooden boulders covered in fabric and decorated, making them the first to become a piece of furniture.
In China, cushions for wealthy families were made of enamelled porcelain, painted and decorated with precious stones, pearls and gold.
The Greeks and Romans created the first “soft” cushions by filling sacks of cloth with straw and feathers.
From the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution, the pillow was an object reserved for the nobility, but with industrialisation it began to spread to all social classes, the means of production improved, the choice of materials improved, and today there is a very wide range on the market, with so many types and materials that it is often difficult to know which pillow to choose.
The pillow, like the mattress, plays a fundamental role in the quality of sleep. For a good night’s sleep and a pain-free awakening, it is essential that the cervical spine is well stretched and aligned with the spinal column during sleep. The pillow serves precisely this purpose, to ensure that the body is in the correct position during the sleep phase, also facilitating proper breathing. Knowing exactly which pillow to choose is therefore very important.
It is not enough to have a good mattress, but the pillow must be of the right height, width and softness: the width should never be less than the width of your shoulders, to prevent your head from sliding off the pillow; as for the height and softness, they must be evaluated according to the position in which you sleep. You should also consider whether you are allergic to certain materials or dust mites, suffer from heat or are prone to neck pain.
How to choose the ideal pillow
The first thing to consider when choosing a new pillow is your sleeping position.
- If you sleep on your back, the ideal pillow is made of latex or memory foam, soft and of medium thickness.
- For those who sleep in the prone position (on their stomach), the choice is between feather pillows or soft, low pillows in latex or memory foam.
- Those who sleep on their side need a harder, medium to thick latex or memory pillow.
- For those who sleep in an alternate position, i.e. turning and turning several times during sleep, the ideal pillow is a hard or soft latex pillow of medium height.
On the market there is a huge variety of pillows made of different materials. Each of them has different characteristics, just as each person has different needs. Here are the main ones.
This material of natural origin causes the pillow to regain its original shape immediately. Various formats are available on the market, from the classic to soap pillow to those specifically for cervicals. These pillows are soft but offer good support for the neck and are therefore very comfortable. They are elastic and their micro-cell structure keeps them clean, making them an ideal product for allergy sufferers (unless you are allergic to latex, of course). Ideal for those who sleep on their back or side.
These types of pillows are very fresh and breathable. They also support the weight of the head very well but are less enveloping than memory foam pillows. They are also mite-proof but not hypoallergenic because of the material they are made of.
These are pillows made of synthetic fibres or gels that simulate the effect of feathers. It can sometimes happen that the filling loses its firmness over time, causing bumps to form. They are usually found in the typical soap bar shape, of medium-low height. They are soft and comfortable pillows, making them perfect for those who sleep on their stomachs, as they do not provide sufficient support for the neck in the supine position.
Memory foam cushion.
These are foam cushions, usually polyurethane. They are non-deformable, in fact the name “memory foam” means that they keep their shape for about 30 seconds, then return to their original condition, making them extremely adaptable. This characteristic makes them unsuitable for those who sleep very restless, while they are ideal for those who sleep on their back or side. They offer good neck support and reduce neck pain.
They are always mite-proof and hypoallergenic.
It is best to buy high quality pillows, first of all because it is a synthetic material, it is better to make sure that it does not release toxic substances. Secondly, memory is sensitive to heat and if it does not have the right perforations, the breathability between the pillow and the head would be compromised.
This is a very inexpensive material, but one that offers good value for money. The polyester pillows retain their shape but are not very shapable, however they are potentially suitable for virtually everyone, although they are more suitable for those who sleep on their back or side. The main problem with these types of pillows is that the contents shift easily, forming lumps and flattening in places. Polyester is a non-allergenic material, but is prone to harbouring dust mites.
This type of pillow is more advisable to use as a second pillow, a reading pillow or to furnish the bed in a rich and elegant way, without necessarily having to use them in the actual resting phase.
Latex pillows, on the other hand, despite being soft, elastic and giving a pleasant feeling of comfort, are stiffer when compared to memory foam pillows. Both are mite-proof, but while memory is also hypoallergenic, latex is not. These types of pillows are, however, very fresh and breathable. They also support the weight of the head very well and are less enveloping than memory foam.
Cushions of the latest generation
Daunex and Niucci, the main manufacturers we deal with to give you the best pillows for absolute, relaxed and safe rest, have created pillows that combine two types in the same product: for example, memory on one side and real feathers on the other, memory on one side and latex on the other. All this to give you always the best and to have the best pillow also in case of position changes during the night.
Discover them all! .