The cushion in history: from simple headrests to a main course on the “sleep menu”

The cushion in history: from simple headrests to a main course on the “sleep menu”

Its comfort welcomes us and opens the door to the dream world. We hold it when we are alone, we soak it with our tears when we are sad, and we used it as a weapon when we were children.

What are we talking about? The pillow, of course!

Whether it is made of feathers, latex or other materials, anatomic or not, soft or firm, the pillow is one of the oldest items in human history; no one knows exactly when it was invented or who invented it, we only know that the birth of the pillow gave light to the concept of comfort.

9,000 years ago, ancient Mesopotamian people used prototypes of pillows created by carving stones following the shape of the skull; in Egypt, at the time of pharaohs, pillows were made in wood and metal, coated in batting, and decorated with precious stones; in ancient China, they were made in porcelain.

The pillow was designed as a simple headrest.

The head was considered by every ancient civilization as the fulcrum of thought and as such, it had to be supported and elevated above the rest of the body. However, their headrests were far, far away from the soft and comfortable pillows we all know and love. Only ancient Greeks and, later, the Romans, used precious fabrics and fluffy feathers in substitute of the slabs of wood and stone.

In the Middle Ages, the pillow was a luxury item, a prerogative of the nobles: the number of pillows in the trousseau unequivocally expressed the family’s wealth.

The common people were stuck with sacks stuffed with straw fabric, at least until the end of the eighteenth century, when the first rectangular pillows stuffed with feathers or wool flakes were produced.

Nowadays, everyone has a pillow. The materials may be different, but not the value: it still represents our refuge, the last thing we touch before falling asleep and the first thing that we embrace when we wake up.

The greatest hotels in the world have a special pillow “menu”, letting their guests choose not only the shape, like the standard or modern “wave“, but also the height, materials and various other therapeutic indications.

We published a useful guide to help you choose the right pillow: read it and give yourself the opportunity to improve the quality of both your sleep and your life.  Then get ready to dive in the wide world of Magniflex pillows.

In Italian, we have two words to indicate a pillow: “guanciale” and “cuscino”. What is the difference? Well, the most suitable word in terms of sleep is “guanciale,” which refers to something created to lean your cheek (“guancia”) on. “Cuscino” is a generic term that refers to something soft but isn’t directly related to the head.  It also has ornamental functions; the term “cuscino” comes from the ancient Latin word “coxa” (“thigh “) and indicates an item on which you can rest your bottom.

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