Finding the perfect pillow for a good night's sleep

A good night's sleep on a comfortable pillow is key, 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 trying out the same type of pillow they normally sleep on -- feather-down, polyester or memory-foam.

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

The feather-down face-off was between a $100 Bed, Bath & Beyond pillow and a $30 one from JC Penney.

The polyester pillow showdown was between an $81 Company Store pillow pitted against a $10 Kmart pillow. And the memory foam pillow match-up was between a $99 TempurPedic one versus a $35 Target pillow.

So how did the pillows stack up with the panelists?

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

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? The Better Sleep Council says 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.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2010. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

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