Pillow talk

There are everyday things we use in life and barely give them a second thought.

Knives and forks at mealtimes, mirrors in bathrooms, zips on our suitcases….items we would struggle to live without but we’ve no idea about how or why they came to be in the first place. Same goes for the humble pillow, right? Snuggle your head into it every night, use two or three to prop yourself up reading your favourite book or pile them up with the kids to make a den.

But who actually made the very first pillow and why?

Well, those of you who already know helmii will know our obsession with all things sleep, so it’s exactly the kind of thing we’d wonder about, late at night, propped up on our own pillows. And because we can’t resist a good story, we thought we’d share our discovery with you, too.

It all started, it seems, as a bit of a status symbol. Yep, you read that correctly. Forget flashy cars and big houses - in ancient Asian culture, the ownership of a pillow or two meant you were a pretty big deal.

Although the very first versions were soft and made from cloth, age-old whispers of superstition that dominated the Far East in those times gave way to the paranoia that soft pillows would steal energy from your body whilst you slept; so they were quickly replaced with hard blocks made from wood, stone, porcelain or bronze with a half-moon shape carved out to fit the neck. Ouch!

The Ancient Egyptians also used pillows made from stone or wood and they were used for mummies in tombs to cradle the head of the deceased. These raised platforms were also seen as a way to stop creepy crawlies from wandering into your ears at night which seems sensible enough if you ask us!

But it was the Ancient Romans and Greeks who perfected the art of the soft pillow we know today. Made with elaborate stitching and natural dyeing techniques and stuffed with straw, reeds and feathers, they were first used to cushion the knees of congregations praying in churches and then became the preserve of the upper classes until Henry VIII’s reign, where he banned them for everyone except women giving birth.

Fast forward to the present day, and it’s the Industrial Revolution that swept the globe in 18th century that we have to thank for the mass production of this most simple yet treasured possession. Everyone has their favourite one to sleep on, few of us would swap ours for someone else’s unless we really had to, and a growing number of hotels now offer a full pillow menu so you can choose exactly the right one for you during your stay.

Millions of dollars are spent by businesses all over the world on technology to produce the best range of pillows for the optimum night’s sleep and we all know at least one person who won’t ever sleep without their own pillow, so it travels everywhere with them.

When you hop into bed tonight, why not give yours an extra squeeze of gratitude for all the great night’s sleep it’s given you so far. And if you think you might have fallen out of love or it’s time for an upgrade, well, you’re in the right place. www.helmii.com/collections/mattress-protector


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