Let’s Sleep On It
The regular use of pillows goes back about 9,000 years, but the notion that they should be soft only goes back about 2,000. Before that pillows were made of stone, wood, ceramic, metal, and other hard materials. Among the reasons for the rigid pillows was a fear that such softness would steal bodily energy or appear as weakness.
You might not think the purpose of your pillow is to keep your head off the ground so that insects don’t crawl into your ears, nose, or mouth, but this was a reason early pillow adopters used them.
Between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Industrial Revolution, pillow use and evolution was greatly slowed in the Middle Ages. Henry VIII even banned the use of pillows for all but pregnant women.
One modern pillow and mattress staple material, memory foam, was actually developed by NASA to keep test pilots better cushioned during flight.
The oldest discovered burial in all of Africa is that of a young child with its head on a pillow. It was about 80,000 years old, and researchers named him “Mtoto.”
There are well over a dozen types of stuffing options for the modern pillow shopper, including natural and synthetically-sourced material.
Competitive pillow fighting is a real sport, involving two competitors trading blows with 2 lb. specialized pillows for 90 second rounds.