Are pricey feather-down pillows better?

LOS ANGELES There is nothing like a good night's sleep on a comfortable pillow. But there are so many different kinds. How do you know which one to choose?

Consumer Reports asked dozens of panelists to go to sleep on the job. They were asked to try out the same type of pillow they normally sleep on whether it be a feather-down, polyester or memory-foam.

"Each person took home an expensive and an inexpensive pillow, not knowing which was which," said Adam Kaplan, Consumer Reports. "And then we asked them to sleep on them for five consecutive nights."

The pillow pairs tested:

  • Feather: a $100 Bed Bath & Beyond pillow and a $30 one from JCPenney
  • Polyester: an $81 Company Store pillow and a $10 Kmart pillow
  • Memory foam: a $99 Tempur-Pedic vs. a $35 Target pillow
So how did the pillows stack up with the panelists?

"The first one was too firm," said one panelist.

"One was noticeably more comfortable," said another panelist.

"I didn't notice any difference between the two. They were both comfortable," said a third panelist.

"It turns out for the polyester and feather-down pillows, most staffers did find the more expensive pillows more comfortable," said Kaplan.

But when it came to memory-foam pillows, panelists judged both pillows to have about the same level of comfort. So you could save $64 by getting the $35 memory foam pillow from Target. Savings that just might help you sleep better at night.

Trying to figure out whether a soft, medium, or firm pillow is the one for you? It all depends on how you sleep. For people who sleep on their side, firm pillows are best. Back sleepers should use a medium-firm pillow. And soft is good if you like to sleep on your stomach.

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