What is a pillow?

Can you imagine a comfortable 8 to 9 hours sleep without a pillow? Well, frankly I can not imagine either. How can it be imagined as amazingly this stuffed little bag has improved our sleep? Have you ever wondered what exactly this human invention is? how the need arises, how it was invented and evolved to this state? Or why pillows are necessary? All these and a million other questions start arising in our minds when we asked to pay around $200 for a stuffed cloth bag. As no question deserve to remain unanswered, we are here to answer yours. If you are one hell of a thinker, here’s all you need to know about pillows than check over the website digital pillows.com


Though, pillows do not need any introduction. If we still have to define it in simpler words, a pillow is a rectangular cloth bag. It is stuffed with soft materials like; cotton, memory foam, latex, down, or some other soft material.


Pillows have been around for several hundred thousand years, the records show that the said sleeping partner has been here comforting us since 7000 BCE, in early Mesopotamia. It’s not clear who invented the first pillow, however, it can be said that Egyptians were the first ones to invent and use it.

The first pillows that we invented were made of stones. They were just not as comfortable as the upgraded today’s version or as much as the pillows should be. The humans of that time never needed a pillow to align their neck to the body or to keep the neck in a neutral position. They needed pillows for a very surprising reason; keeping the bugs away from crawling into the ears. The stone pillows, at that time, were only used by the wealthiest citizens. Pillows later became a necessity of a common man.

Even if not made from stone, in that era pillows used to be breathtakingly hard. The old Chinese pillows were not made from stones but some other hard objects like wood, bamboo, bronze, stone, and porcelain, etc. Japanese pillows were also no exception. The pillows the Japanese made were much smaller as compared to the rest of the world but they used to be as hard as the pillows of that time were. The Romans and Greeks were smarter, their first pillows were not made of stones, bronze, bamboo, wood, or porcelain but cotton, reeds, or straws. These stone-hard pillows lead to the foundation of modern pillows.

The modern pillows did not just magically appear, the stone-hard pillows took so much time to evolve to reach this stage. The stone pillow first became easily accessible, the common man started having them under their heads. Later, these hard pillows started evolving with every day passing. They have evolved enough that these upgraded versions are so comfortable that we started sleeping better. It is no longer a luxurious thing now, it’s cheap and available to almost every single person in the world.

Purpose of a pillow:

Pillows had a different purpose back then, it is now made for some other purposes. As mentioned above, providing comfort was not the purpose of stone pillows. They were invented and used to prevent bugs or insects from crawling into ears, noses, and mouths. For quite some time, the pillows kept being made and used for the same purpose.

The sleeping pillows we have now are not made to prevent the insects or bugs from crawling into ears, noses, and mouths but for some other purposes like;

  • Providing comfort
  • Keeping spine in a neutral position
  • Aligning your neck with the rest of the body
  • Relieving lower back pressure
  • Counterbalancing the points in the body
  • Preventing sleep loss
  • Preventing and easing physical aches; especially neck and back pain
  • Maintaining the natural curve of the body

The special pillows are not engineered to provide the support head and neck needs, the purpose is to;

  • Support the body while sitting and laying down
  • Spice up the corner

Benefits of using a pillow:

We can sleep with or without a pillow. Sleeping with a pillow under your head would help you sleep better, keep the head aligned with your neck and backbone, reduce stress, and prevent sleep loss.


The use of a pillow these days is no secret. However, in the past, the pillows were used to place under the head of the deceased as the head is the essence of life.

Parts of pillows:

Pillow is not a complicated thing, it has two parts.

  • Cover
  • Insert

The cover of the pillow is also called a shell. It is usually made of cotton or silk. The fancier covers are engineered from sham. Pillows have uncountable types, the filling distinguishes one pillow from another. The inserts can be cotton, memory foam, latex, down, or some other material.


Pillows come in a variety of sizes. The sizes we all get to choose from are;

  • Standard
  • Queen
  • King
  • Body

The standard-sized pillows are 20 inches by 26 inches(51 cm by 56 cm), the queen-sized 20 inches by 30 inches(51 cm by 76 cm), the king-sized 20 inches by 36 inches(51 cm by 92 cm), and the body pillows are a bit bigger and comfier being 20 inches by 54 inches(51 cm by 137 cm).


The filling and the quality of the pillow cover determine the lifespan of a pillow. On average, no matter how good and durable the filling is, pillows last around 2 to 4 four years. After the said period, the pillows begin to lose their shape and start developing lumps. The pillows, at this point, can still be used but they would not be as comfortable and supportive as the pillows normally are.


Pillows are not that expensive, even a homeless person can be spotted sleeping with a pillow under the head. The pillows can be bought somewhere between $10 to $1000. The quality pillows that last about a good two to four years can easily be purchased for under $200.

Types of pillows:

Pillows may appear the same but the world inside the cotton or Polyester cover tells a different story. There are two types of pillows; one is called sleeping pillows whereas the other ones are taken as special need pillows. The special need pillows are just as common as sleeping pillows as they support our body when we are laying or sitting down. The sleeping pillows are also made to provide comfort and support but to the head and neck only. Both special and sleeping pillows have several types, the special pillows can be;

  • Throw pillows
  • Body pillows
  • Decorative pillows
  • Orthopedic pillows

Throw pillows:

Throw pillows are also known as scatter cushions. The scatter cushions are decorative pillows that we notice hanging onto sofas and other such drawing and living room furniture items.

Throw pillows

Body pillows:

Body pillows are not at all ordinary pillows, they are known for providing maximum comfort and improving the person’s sleep quality. Body pillows, as the name suggests, are long pillows that we place between our legs to provide support to our entire body.

Body pillows

Decorative pillows:

Throw pillows or decorative pillows are more or less the same things. The throw pillows are the decorative pillows that are only placed on sofas, armchairs, and beds whereas the decorative pillows are bought to tie in color accents within a room.

Decorative pillows

Orthopedic pillow:

The Orthopedic pillow is one of the greatest human inventions. These pillows are also known as therapeutic pillows. It is designed and engineered to correct the position of the body in bed or any other surface. These pillows are proven to help with certain conditions like; insomnia, sleep apnoea, breathing issues, blood circulation, lower back pain, neck pain, rotator cuff injury, whiplash, gastroesophageal, and acid reflux.

Orthopedic pillow

The special pillows do not have many impressive types. The sleeping pillows however have uncountable kinds, the few most popular ones are;

  • Bamboo pillow
  • Gel pillow
  • Polyester pillow
  • Microbead pillow
  • Buckwheat pillow
  • Shredded memory foam pillow
  • Latex pillow
  • Memory foam pillow
  • Feather pillow
  • Cotton pillow
  • Down pillow
  • Down alternative pillow

Bamboo pillow:

Bamboo pillows are the most beloved kind of pillows. These pillows have a shredded foam interior and bamboo viscose shell or exterior. Bamboo pillows are hypoallergenic but they can be heavy and a bit hard to clean and maintain.

Bamboo pillow:

Gel pillow:

Gel pillows are the most forgiving invention. The said form is engineered by combining gel with other materials like latex or foam. These pillows are known and admired for holding their shape and keeping the sleeper cool.

Gel pillow

Polyester pillow:

Polyester pillows or poly-fill pillows are made for budget-conscious buyers. These pillows are made from shredded clumps of fiber. These pillows are lightweight and economical, however, they do not last long.

Polyester pillow

Microbead pillow:

Microbead pillows are another economical one from the pillows world. Like Polyester pillows, these pillows are also filled with cheap synthetic material like uniform polymer particles. These economical pillows are breathtakingly breathable, firm, and supportive. Despite having all the qualities of a good pillow, they do not last long as well.

Microbead pillow:

Buckwheat pillow:

Buckwheat pillows have just made it to the north-America however, they have been around in Asia for years. The Buckwheat pillows are malleable, long-lasting, and breathable. The only issues some people have with Buckwheat pillows make a lot of noise and are a little too firm.

Buckwheat pillow:

Shredded memory foam pillow:

In some countries, shredded memory foam pillows are taken as the upgraded version of the traditional memory foam pillows. However, we think shredded memory foam pillows are the best alternative to the traditional memory foam pillows. The said pillows do not clump and are breathtakingly easy to clean.

Shredded memory foam pillow

Latex pillow:

Latex pillows have gained a lot of popularity in the last few years for several legitimate reasons, one being biodegradable. The Latex pillows are super soft and unbelievably cozy. The said pillows are prized for providing unmatchable support to the neck and head. Keep in mind that latex and latex-blend pillows are two different pillows.

Latex pillow

Memory foam pillow:

Memory foam pillows made their way to our hearts years back, they are still ruling our hearts. The memory foam pillows are made to relieve pain and contour to users’ bodies, providing the comfort they deserve.

Memory foam pillow

Feather pillow:

A feather pillow is another lightweight, affordable, moldable, comfortable, and supportive option. It has got all the qualities of a good pillow however, it just does not work well for people allergic to down. Feather pillows stay true to their shape but it needs fluffing to maintain loft.

Feather pillow

Cotton pillow:

The cotton pillows were in the limelight till the time memory foam pillows got introduced. The cotton pillows are engineered from classic pillow material that makes this version easier to clean, use, and maintain.

Cotton pillow

Down pillow:

Down pillows are filled with fibers that resemble the skin of geese, ducks, and swans. Besides the traditional filling, down pillows can have feathers as well. The down pillows are soft, cushiony, and moldable. Down pillows serve the purpose well they are made for; providing support to the neck and head.

Down pillow

Down alternative pillow:

This particular kind of Polyester filled pillows is known as down alternative pillows. The down alternative pillows are cheap, hypoallergenic, and supernaturally easy to clean. The only issue down alternative pillow got is that the said pillows have weaker insulation than the traditional down pillows.

Down alternative pillow

In brief the:

the pillow is a small, medium, or large-sized cloth bag stuffed with cotton, memory foam, latex, down, or some other soft materials. It was invented back around 7000 BCE, in early Mesopotamia. At that time pillows were designed to keep the head high so the insects or bugs do not crawl into the mouth, nose, or ears. The evolved pillows we now see on the market are not at all made to prevent bugs crawling into the ears, nose, or mouth. The pillows are now manufactured mainly to align the neck with the rest of the body.

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