Here's the Scoop: July 17, 2013

Need snooze control
There are few things in life more personal than a pillow. In theory, you spend one-third of your day (or night) in close proximity to a pillow. In reality, five or six hours isn’t bad.

When staying overnight in a hotel or at a friend’s house, it’s common to take note regarding the comfort level provided by the pillow. At the former, a “bad pillow” can be almost as annoying as that $6 bottle of water that seemed so tempting the night before, but caused you to choke when it showed up on your final bill.

There’s no arguing that a poor “fitting” pillow is a pain in the neck. Literally. I find it interesting that some folks prefer a pillow with “support” similar to spaghetti (cooked), while others like pillows that share a lot of similarities with granite. My guess is that most people opt for the Three Bears compromise of a pillow in the middle range that’s “just right.”

The time is right
Despite all the thought I put into pillow comfort, I really don’t consider changing pillows too often. However, when my wife said the other day, “We really need new pillows,” I couldn’t argue. I was even a bit excited. My neck was happier than the rest of me.

We had received a gift certificate to a store that carried a lot of pillows, so it wasn’t even necessary for me to grumble about how much these items may cost. In case you haven’t purchased any pillows lately, it’s possible to spent a lot of money for a pillow. Gift certificate or not, I didn’t feel like getting carried away. To me, a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be excessively expensive. Still, it’s worthwhile.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed “testing” pillows in various degrees of firmness — and price tags. What’s the difference between a $20 pillow and a $200 pillow, you may ask? Of course, the answer is $180.

There are also plenty of durability and comfort issues. I had no interest in paying that much for a high-end pillow, but it was nice to try one out — and dream. Well, I didn’t literally dream, but I enjoyed a few brief periods of rest as I checked out the pillow choices.

I’m always a bit weirded out when I try on shoes and hats, so the pillow thing was really kind of creepy to me. Was I putting my head where others had performed similar “tryouts”? Probably.
Being more than a little paranoid about germs, I decided on a strategy of only placing my head on pillows that had been pulled from the far back of the shelving. Others may have done the same, but my safeguards had limits.

We finally settled upon a pair of pillows that had reasonable pricing and a nice amount of comfort. My wife opted for a model that was a little less firm than mine. During the first few nights using my new pillow, I can truthfully say I’ve slept better. Not longer, just a higher quality sort of sleep — a head above my recent sleep (or lack thereof) experiences.
— Brian Sweeney