Reporter: Helen Wellings

"A bad pillow can be damaging your back, insomnia, neck pain shoulder pain, back pain and also headaches" says Marnie Douglas. We spend around one third of our lives sleeping, so the correct pillow for your health and well-being is as essential as a good bed. But because we can't properly try out a pillow before we buy, we often end up and put up with, a dud. "Most people have the wrong pillow and they don't know what to look for when choosing a pillow" says Marnie.

Pillow design has become high-tech science. You can buy all sorts - for pregnancy, snoring, allergies, back and neck problems. In polyester, latex, foam, duck down, luxurious goose feathers, special NASA developed materials, even filled with water or buckwheat. You'll pay from just $10 up to $300.

"You need a pillow that's going to support in between the head and the shoulders so that whether you are sleeping on your back or side your spine is actually straight 26.44 so it has to be aligned" says Marnie Douglas. Our pillow expert, physiotherapist, Marnie Douglas from Ergoworks guides you to the best pillow for your size, weight and sleeping position. Our testers, on a quest to find the pillow of their dreams, also trial these - the latest hi tech models. Kelli Wolloghan, Francis Croydon and Katherine Stubbs all suffer from neck and back pain.

The pillows we tested all claimed to give pain relief, better support and a good night's sleep. We'll tell you soon which ones our testers preferred and whether they're also recommended by our expert physiotherapist.

First, the complete Sleeprrr Delux in polyester and foam at $55. It's height adjustable and comes with removable inserts to adapt to your particular comfort and posture needs. The Dentons Contour pillow around $70 is contoured for the head and neck. And water beds, we've all heard of, but there's also the Mediflow water-base polyester hypoallergenic pillow at $99.95! Your head floats over a layer of water, temperature-controlled by a thermal insulator. "The Mediflow is adjustable also, you can place water in the valve to increase the firmness and support of the pillow" says Marnie. "It is certainly very comfortable but it didn't give me the support that I was looking for. I was still waking up in the morning with a sore neck" says Francis. "It was quite comfortable but the whole sloshing sound of water was a bit off-putting in the middle of the night but it was relatively comfortable and I didn't have a sore neck" says Kelli.

The results; while the others weren't so keen on it, Catherine's outright favourite: "The Mediflow is probably my favourite. That is the water one. It is quite heavy now because it has about 5 litres of water in it."

The Dentons, very similar to the Tontine foam pillow recommended by The Physiotherapists Association of Australia, is a favourite of Marnie Douglas', because it gives firm contoured support.

But it wasn't Number 1 with our testers."It didn't work as well as I hoped" said Kelli.

The Complete Sleeprrr.

"You can keep it. I absolutely hated it. It felt like sleeping on weird bits of foam" said Katherine.

But for both Kelli and Francis, the Complete Sleeprrr was tops. And our expert also recommends it. "I'd give this a perfect score 15 out of 15" said Kelli. "As soon as I put my head on it, it felt like you're sleeping on a cloud it was I just melted right into it."

Frances said "My favourite one was the cheapest out of the lot so it just goes to show that you do not need to spend a lot of money to find a solution to the problems you have with your bad back or your neck."

So how about really cheap, - a $10 pillow. "It is probably made out of a polyester synthetic fill, it doesn't provide a huge amount of support for sleeping so it is not ideal if you're a back or side sleeper. If you are a tummy sleeper this would be the best one to get" says Marnie.

This $275 Tempur NASA pillow should be the ultimate. "It is made out of a special temperature filling which moulds to your head. This would be better for a larger person this pillow for me would probably push my spine the other way and I would wake in an awkward posture" says Marnie. Marnie Douglas warns many soft fill pillows don't give constant firm support and proper alignment for your neck, shoulders, and spine. The firm latex type can last a few years, but she advises ... don't rest on your laurels.

"We need to be changing our pillows every 6 months to 2 years because as soon as it loses its firmness, it also looses its support so your head maybe in an awkward position while you are sleeping" adds Marnie.


Marnie Douglas


Website: www.ergoworks.com.au

Tel: (02) 9251 0822

Complete Sleeprr

Price: From $59.00

Website: www.the-pillow.com.au

Ph: 02 9773 1232


Free Call: 1800 356 050

Website: www.dentons.com.au

Price: $69.95 rrp


Judy 03 9837 7474

Website: www.synapticdesign.com.au

Price: $109.95

Tempur Cervical

Website: www.tempur.com.au

Price: $275.00

Tontine Comfortech


Price: $79.95

Theraputic Buckwheat Pillow

Tel: (02)97491188

Website: www.naturalink.com.au

Price: $79.95

Duck Down

Website: www.hotelluxurycollection.com.au

Tel: (02) 9232 5358

Price: $80

Goose Feather


Tel: (02) 9232 5358

Price: $320.00