Celebrating The Poof Factor

We have some new pillows at home. It has been a great development for our nightly visits to the Land of Nod.

I wasn’t having a noticeable problem with the old pillows. They had served us long and well, and had stolidly absorbed the special forms of punishment exclusively reserved for pillows. They had been hit by our heavy heads, repeatedly scrunched down as we rolled from one side to the other, and punched and smashed up and beaten down as we sought to find the most comfortable possible sleeping position. And, as a pillow begins to lose its natural springiness and develop saggy areas and lumps, the beatings and smashings and scrunchings tend to increase. Clearly, the life cycle of a pillow is a hard one.

I hadn’t noticed how far our old pillows had fallen until this new pillow arrived on the bed. Rather than the concrete-like indentation of the old pillow, the new pillow has an innate poofiness that provides great support that allows the sleeper to avoid those morning neck and shoulder twinges. In pillows, poofiness is a highly valued commodity.

Pillow experts say you should get new pillows every year or two. That way, you can be sure of pillows that are properly supportive, clean, and free of allergens. The experts note that older pillows can accumulate dust mites, fungus, mold, and other disgusting nighttime debris that can provoke allergic reactions, so getting new pillows not only might help to avoid a stiff neck, but also a few of those morning sneezes.

If you haven’t replaced your pillow since the Obama Administration, you might want to do so. You may be surprised at what a difference a little poofiness can make.

One Pillow, Two Pillow

Lately I’ve been experimenting with different pillow combinations, trying to find just the right form of headrest for a good night’s sleep.

My pillow use history has been pretty vanilla, frankly. I started off my cognizant life with one pillow, because I’m sure my parents would never have thought of their kids having more than one on their beds. I stuck with one pillow through college, but at some point–I’m not sure exactly when–the notion that there could be more than one pillow per person swept the nation, like disco during the ’70s or big hair during the ’80s, and we ended up with multiple pillows on the bed. At that point, the question was squarely presented: do you continue with one pillow, or try multiple pillows?

I quickly decided that the choice boiled down to one pillow versus two pillows; more than two pillows seemed over the top and was uncomfortable, besides. I initially found it hard to get comfortable with two pillows, so I continued on the one-pillow track. This meant that, when traveling, I had to hurl many pillows off the bed in every hotel, because in hotels the beds sprout pillows like the ground sprouts mushrooms after a spring rainstorm. But recently, after long hours of driving, I rolled into a hotel late at night, exhausted, pretty much collapsed onto a bed with two pillows, and got a good, if abbreviated, night’s sleep–which made me think I should give two pillows a try, again.

Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. One pillow is what I’m used to, and seems to provide all of the head support I need. Two pillows, however, afford the luxury of quantity, and therefore provide more options you can flip to get to the cool side on a warm summer night. Two pillows, though, can fall into disarray during nocturnal movements, leaving you with a crick in your neck in the morning. On the other hand, one pillow can develop that dent in the middle that requires you to bunch up the pillow in a futile attempt to provide additional support.

One pillow, two pillow? It sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, but the experiment continues.

Hotel Pillow Talk

Why do so many hotel rooms look like Parisian bordellos these days?

If you’ve been on the road for business travel lately, you know what I mean.  You get to a hotel room, unlock the door, turn on the light, and flop your stuff down on the bed — and it is covered in pillows.  There are the hotel-miniaturized versions of “normal” pillows, which usually are hidden from view.  Then there are the weird sausage-shaped pillows that look like they were swiped from a Tantric sex clinic or a Lamaze birthing class.  And finally there are the large, faux silk-covered “throw pillows” that are, I suppose, designed to make you feel like a Turkish sultan.  (Here’s a tip for hotel room interior decorators — Turkish sultans didn’t buy their harem pillows from a Target supplier at $2.59 apiece.)

I cannot imagine that anyone uses any of these weird pillows for the purpose of head rest during sleep.  You could not possibly sleep on the hotel bed with the pillows in their initial configuration without risking permanent neck injuries or disk dislocations.  So, the weary traveler must instead try to figure out where to put the extraneous pillows so that the shrimpy “normal” pillows can be accessed.  Usually, the weird pillows  end up on the floor, where they serve as obstacles when the traveler stumbles to the bathroom for that inevitable middle-of-the-night visit.

I can understand hotel designers wanting to add a bit of zing to otherwise cookie-cutter rooms, but I think the pillow approach is an irritating, abject failure.  The hotel experience is bound to be generic  to a certain extent.  I encourage hoteliers across America to resist the weird pillow syndrome, save the few bucks spent on acquiring the unusable pillows, and use that money to provide free wireless instead.