How Well Does Your Own Pillow Perform?
Gordon, Susan J
Grimmer, K A
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Objectives: To examine the consistency of retrospective and prospective self-reports of "own" pillow comfort, sleep quality, and waking symptoms; to determine whether different pillow types perform differently over time; and to identify the pillow types with longevity. Methods: Sixty-one subjects participated in two studies conducted 18 months apart, exploring sleep disruption, waking cervico-thoracic symptoms, sleep quality, and pillow comfort over a week. The first was a telephone survey about "own" pillow performance; the second was an experimental field trial. For 49 subjects, descriptions of "own" pillow provided during the survey were compared with the "own" pillow used during the field trial. "Own" pillow performance over time and change in "own" pillow type between studies were reported. Results: Reports of waking symptoms were consistent over time on the same pillow type. Thrity-nine percent subjects changed their "own" pillow type between studies, varying from one-fifth of the polyester pillows to all feather pillows. For subjects who slept on the same pillow type in both studies, reports of waking symptoms and sleep disruption were lowest for polyester and latex pillows and highest for feather pillows. Pillow comfort and sleep quality were variably reported for the "own" pillow types. Conclusions: Self-reports of "own" pillow type are believable, and reports of waking symptoms, disrupted sleep, sleep quality, and pillow comfort are consistent. Polyester and latex pillows are generally associated with fewer waking symptoms, higher sleep quality, and least reports of disrupted sleep. Subjects sleeping on these pillow types were unlikely to change them over an 18-month period.