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The right pillow is key to a good night's sleep
Jul '09
A good night's sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, insufficient sleep can lead to a host of chronic health problems including diabetes, depression and obesity. The CDC's "Sleep Hygiene Tips" lists a comfortable bed as an important element to sleeping well. Because a good pillow -- or combination of pillows -- is an essential element of bed comfort, the American Down and Feather Council (ADFC) has developed tips for purchasing and caring for the perfect pillow.

The right pillow for every sleep type.

Whatever the position of the sleeper -- whether it is side, back, or stomach -- the correct pillow should support the head and help align the neck and spine. When used in pillows, down and feathers provide adjustable comfort that conforms to changing sleep positions and pillow shape preferences.

For people who like to feel as though they are resting on a fluffy cloud, a 100 percent down pillow will offer the softness they seek. People who require a little more firmness may want a pillow containing a blend of feathers and down. For even more firmness, a pillow containing only feathers should provide the support needed.

What to look for in pillow construction.

No one wants their pillow to leak down and feathers, which is why it is important to look at the construction of the pillow cover -- or ticking. Tightly woven fabrics with a thread-count of 230 or more will help keep down and feathers from escaping. However, thread count in itself does not make a pillow "downproof," double needle sewn construction also prevents leakage and produces durable pillows.

Make that pillow last a long, long time.

Down and feather pillows are easy to revitalize. Simply place them in the clothes dryer on low heat along with a damp washcloth. The warmth and humidity will bring back the original fluffiness.

It is important to follow the instructions on the care label, but most pillows can be laundered in a home washing machine on the gentle cycle using mild non-bleach detergent. Using a pillow protector between the pillow and pillow case will prevent yellowing and will reduce the amount of washing needed.

To dry a pillow, place it in a dryer and set the heat on low, toss in one or two tennis balls to break up any clumps that formed during washing. Drying times vary, but the process may take several hours. It is important that the pillow be thoroughly dried before use or storage to avoid mildew.

Reading the product label.

Federal and state regulations specify how down and feather products may be labeled. To be certain that their pillows are accurately labeled, consumers should look for the ADFC's Seal of Approval on the packaging. The presence of the Seal of Approval on a product's package indicates that the manufacturer participates in the ADFC's Labeling Compliance Program and is committed to truth-in-labeling. For additional information on down and feather bedding visit the ADFC's Website at www.downandfeather.org.

ADFC Member Companies: Aeolus Down, Inc.; Allied Feather & Down Corporation; Blue Ridge Home Fashions, Inc.; Down, Inc.; Eurasia Feather Company; Hollander Home Fashions; Louisville Bedding Company; Pacific Coast Feather Company; United Feather & Down Inc.; WestPoint Home Inc.

American Down & Feather Council

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