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I kinda have a thing for luxury bedding — especially quality down pillows.
It all started 10 years ago when we decided to buy the same down pillows that we had slept so well on during a stay at a Hampton Inn hotel.
That was the first time I learned that you can actually buy the exact same high-quality bedding that you’ve enjoyed while staying at hotels.
We ordered directly from the Hampton Inn website and received Pacific Coast pillows — a combination of duck feather and 75% down:
We still have those pillows, and we’ve used them every night since then. In fact, once we made the switch from “regular” store-bought pillows to high-quality down pillows, we’ve never gone back to traditional sleep pillows.
Here’s my original review of the Hilton hotel pillows we purchased.
How To Tell It’s Time For A New Pillow
Today, our Pacific Coast down pillows are still fine to sleep on — but they’re rather wimpy after 10 years of use.
It’s not until I held one up next to a brand new down pillow that I realized just how lifeless our old pillows were!
You can see the difference here — on the left is our old Pacific Coast down pillow, on the right is our new Cuddledown down pillow:
Technically, you’re only supposed to keep a pillow for 1 or 2 years, believe it or not. That’s because of the build-up of body oils, sweat, etc. that accumulate on your pillow night after night… week after week… month after month… and year after year! (Yuk.)
Plus, your head is heavy (10 lbs. on average), and bearing the weight of your head night after night will eventually wear your pillow out, cause it to flatten, and reduce the amount of support it provides.
The National Sleep Foundation says to determine whether or not it’s time for a new pillow, you should fold it in half and see if it stays that way. If it does, then it’s time for a new one. But if it springs back to its rectangular pillow shape, then that pillow still has good support and some life left in it.
This video from Cuddledown shows how to do the pillow fold test:
Okay, but down pillow fans like me will appreciate this…
If you spring for a quality down pillow and take good care of it, lifestyle guru Martha Stewart says you can get 10 or 15 years out of them. ~NBC News
…That’s what I’m talkin’ about!!!
You really do get your money’s worth out of an expensive set of down bed pillows — as long as you take good care of them and air them out a lot.
The Type Of Pillows We Like Best
This is the type of support that my husband and I crave from our pillows:
- Hubby sleeps on his back most of the time. I sleep on my side.
- Hubby likes medium to firm support. I like very light support.
- Hubby likes the My Pillow best. I like down pillows best.
- Hubby sleeps with one “firm” My Pillow. I sleep with 2 “soft” down pillows. (Sometimes he likes to switch it up and sleep on a “medium” down pillow, but it has to be really scrunched up into a ball before he puts his head on it — for added support.)
Here’s what Cuddledown says about sleep position and pillow firmness:
- Stomach sleepers need “extra soft” pillows to allow the head to sink to just the right level.
- Side sleepers need a “soft” pillow to cushion the head.
- Back sleepers need a “medium” pillow to provide more support for the head and neck.
4 Reasons I Personally Love Down Bed Pillows
#1 – One reason I’ll never be without down pillows is because down blocks out sound so well!
To block out noise, I just lie on my side — with 1 down pillow underneath my head, and 1 down pillow over the other side of my head. Sounds in the room are almost completely drowned out by the “soft” down that’s inside those pillows.
I use this strategy whenever:
- My husband starts snoring in the middle of the night.
- I’m trying to sleep while my husband is watching TV.
#2 – In addition to their noise-blocking feature, down bed pillows are perfect for side sleepers — especially if you suffer from frequent neck strain like I do (from being on the computer long hours at a time each day).
I don’t go to a chiropractor any more, but I used to go regularly — until he shared with me these DIY tips for back and neck pain and these stretches for neck pain:
- Quick Tricks To Alleviate Neck Pain
- Yoga Stretches & Physical Therapy Stretches That Work For Neck Pain
I actually use my “soft” down pillow instead of doing the “towel roll” that he mentioned.
#3 – Down pillows are so easily moldable to whatever shape you want them in. I call it the “squishability” factor.
I usually fold in half (or bunch up) a down pillow before placing it underneath my head at night. Then, as I wriggle into my favorite sleep position on my side, the down pillow fills in all of the nooks and crannies.
I keep another down pillow between me and the headboard at all times.
#4 – Now don’t judge… but hubby and I sometimes work from our bed. And we even eat from our bed at times. Since our master bedroom has the biggest TV with the best sound — it’s perfect for watching NHL hockey games (Nashville Predators) and for binge-watching movies.
A down pillow makes a great tray-like surface to hold a plate of pizza or a hot bowl of soup! Other pillows are too firm and don’t have the same cradling-factor.
My Favorite Cuddledown Pillows
So… when the folks at Cuddledown asked if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their bedding products, I jumped at the chance to try their down pillows.
I’ve actually been to the Cuddledown Outlet in Freeport, Maine — years ago. But I wasn’t in need of new pillows then.
But now?… Now we could definitely use some new down bed pillows!
I love how Cuddledown pillows are custom made by hand in Yarmouth, Maine every time someone places an order. Here’s how their down pillows are made:
We got our start in 1973 — during the first oil crisis — making down comforters in Yarmouth Maine and selling them to our friends. Back in those days, down comforters were a European tradition that hadn’t yet made it to the U.S. But oil prices were high and down comforters were a great way for New Englanders to turn down the thermostat at night and still stay warm. We had such success selling locally that we took out advertisements in magazines such as Yankee, Down East, and The New Yorker. People from all over the country started ordering from us and, just like that, the Cuddledown catalog was born. Source
Since we enjoyed our very first set of down pillows so much (the Pacific Coast ones from Hilton hotels), I wanted to make sure that we got a new set of pillows that were a similar match.
These are the Cuddledown pillows we got:
Our Cuddledown pillows are a hypoallergenic 50% White Duck Down / 50% Small White Duck Feather blend.
From the website: “You’ll feel the perfect combination of the loft and softness from down and the support and spring-back qualities of small goose feathers.”
We got 1 “soft” (19 oz. of down) and 1 “medium” (26 oz. of down) Cuddledown pillow — both are queen size.
The differences between the 2 firmness levels are very subtle. The easiest way to tell is to look at them side by side — but it’s not a dramatic difference. In this photo, the “soft” down pillow is on the left and the “medium” down pillow is on the right:
The “soft” pillow is slightly more floppy than the “medium” pillow — which feels like it has a little more substance and structure to it. (Because it does.) But… if I only had Cuddledown “medium” pillows in my hands (without anything to compare them to), I would call them both “soft” pillows. That’s how miniscule the differences are to me.
Internally and quality-of-sleep-wise, those extra 7 ounces of fill give you a pillow that’s ever-so-slightly more firm. However, both are soft enough for my personal taste and “not too firm” at all.
I tend to gravitate to the “soft” one most often.
Any Downsides To Cuddledown Pillows?
I’ll be honest, when I first took the Cuddledown pillows out of the box, I was nervous that they were going to sound slightly “crunchy” up close to my ears — you know like some mattress protectors do. But these Cuddledown pillows DO NOT sound crunchy in any way!
The only reason they sounded slightly different to me at first is because the outer material is not a “regular” cotton fabric, like I’m used to.
Instead, it’s a “double-stitched downproof, smooth 280 thread count, 100% cotton cambric” — a much higher quality cover fabric, actually. (FYI… downproof fabric — or downproof ticking — is a tightly woven fabric that prevents the feathers and down from working through the cover of pillows.)
Generally, the higher the thread count the softer the pillowcase will feel. However, a Consumer Reports article said, “Thread counts between 200 and 400 are fine. Within that range, a higher number may provide a softer feel. With counts over 400, the main difference is price.” Source
Other than my initial impression of the cover fabric, I can’t think of a single thing I don’t like about these pillows.
I’m certain these Cuddledown pillows will play an important role in our good nights’ sleep for the next 10 years… or more. And since I’m going to be diligent about fluffing and airing out these down pillows, I’m pretty sure they’ll last a good long time!
Care instructions from Cuddledown: Fluff on a daily basis. Air outside to keep smelling fresh. Spot clean small stains with a mild detergent and thoroughly dry area with a handheld hair dryer. Machine wash warm with our Fine Fabrics Wash, or your preferred [low-sudsing] mild detergent. Thoroughly dry on low to prevent mildew. To keep down from clumping during the drying process, we recommend using down fluffers in the dryer.
Oh, and there’s one more thing I’ve learned about caring for down bed pillows and making them last longer…
You shouldn’t make a habit of using them to prop your back — when watching TV or reading a book in bed, for example. The reason? Because that reduces the amount of air circulating through them, thus reducing their life. Down pillows need lots of fresh air!
Customer Service At Cuddledown
Without a doubt, the staff at Cuddledown went above and beyond to make sure we got the exact pillows we wanted with the right amount of firmness we desired.
From my first correspondence with them to my last, they showed that they genuinely cared about our sleep… and our comfort.
For consistency’s sake (since we like these pillows so much), I’m going to stick with Cuddledown when it comes time to order some new down bed pillows. They’ve impressed us so much — both the quality of the pillows themselves, and the knowledge & kindness of the people who work there.
Who knows… maybe I’ll step things up in our guest bedroom and put some fresh new down pillows in there, too!
I do know that I plan to order Cuddledown pillows as wedding gifts in the future. Luxury bedding is such a classy gift.
Must read: Make your bed quickly like hotels do. Here’s how to do triple sheeting without the need for a duvet cover!
I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Household Tips and Life Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I'm super-organized. And I LOVE to clean! I even enjoy doing laundry (but not ironing). I’m also a lifelong dog owner — so I often share my favorite tips for living with dogs inside your home (like smart home design choices and dog-friendly cleaning & decorating ideas). Career-wise, I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). Prior to that, I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I'm truly passionate about instead. For example, I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. When I’m not cleaning, organizing, decorating, or fixing something… you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).