Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

August 21, 2017
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Pillow talk: what's the fluff all about?

My wife recently presented me with a new pillow. Life hasn’t been the same since. It’s been far better. The gift made such a difference to the quality of my sleep, it piqued my curiosity.

Down pillows, like mine, are widely recognized as the best. I learned that savvy Canadian shoppers look for the Downmark logo which guarantees that the fill is what the label purports it to be — the unscrupulous will fill a pillow with almost anything.

Next, ask about the down. What you want is down from a mature bird raised in a cold climate. Canada has a good reputation here; our finest down comes from Hutterite goose colonies in Saskatchewan and is made into pillows and comforters exclusively by St. Geneve of Richmond, BC. That said, the Europeans have been at it for longer. Hungarian/Polish goose down still sets the standard.

Your first decision is what size: standard, queen or king? Next choose between regular, medium and firm. Then comes the matter of fill or the loft of the down. An 800-fill pillow will “fluff up” 25-percent more than one with 600 fill of the same weight.

Finally consider the covering: cotton with a thread count of 260 is found in better pillows; the very best use silk. Look for seams that are sealed not piped.

Try out a variety of sizes — this is one thing you should take lying down and the longer the better. You might want to start at the midpoint with an 18-ounce, 800-fill medium queen and work up or down from there.

Better pillows are guaranteed for 20 years and, with care and a washable pillow protector, will last for generations. Think of the purchase as an investment in comfort. Expect to pay between $150 to $300 and up — your grandchildren will be grateful to you long after you’re gone.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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