Talk about pillows and you soon find people disclosing all kinds of unsuspected preferences about shapes, support, configuration and fillings. Debate will ensue on the contrasting properties of foam, soft down or organic buckwheat to guarantee peaceful repose at the end of a long day. And opinion may be divided about the relative merits of bolster, contour or butterfly pillow to provide an unbroken night's sleep.
'I know some people who take their pillow with them when they travel,' says Geoff Fuller, managing director of Tequila Kola, emphasising the personal nature of these decisions. 'They know what is right for them, and that is important because you don't want to get neck trouble.'
These days, of course, the choice is extensive. To narrow it down, Fuller highlights three factors for special consideration: a non-allergenic filling, natural rather than synthetic materials, and good neck support. In addition, it makes sense to take due note of the prevailing climate.
'Feather and down pillows can be a problem in Hong Kong's humidity,' he says. 'And for a good night's sleep, it also helps to have a 100 per cent cotton pillowcase.'
Introducing an extra element of technology, a new 'neck care' model gives a clue to how things may develop in future.
It is fibre-filled and has very fine springs, thereby providing cushioned support to maximise comfort and reduce potential strains. '[The manufacturer] put a lot of research into this,' Fuller says. 'It means your neck is not all over the place, and we think it is one of the best products on offer.'
He suggests that to find a preferred pillow type, it is probably best to experiment for a while before settling on a favourite.
This is time well invested if it contributes to sounder sleep in the long term and reduces the possibility of niggles, aches or pains on waking. Dondy Poernomo, general manager, Asia, for Okooko, also stresses that the right pillow can make all the difference to how well one sleeps.
His advice to customers is to focus on the thickness, shape and material used, and to know their own sleep habits. In his view, the 'contour' range - shallow on one side, deeper on the other - is best suited for side sleepers, while the elliptical shape is more suitable for those who tend to lie on their back or shift around more. Different heights and thickness are available.
'The proper pillow should help you sleep better, especially if you have neck or back problems,' Poernomo says. 'Your favoured sleep position and [any known medical condition] should guide your purchase.'
For example, sufferers from asthma or allergies should look for pillows made from natural materials or organic latex. And if unsure what to consider, people should not hesitate to seek advice from sales professionals or sleep experts.
One persistent myth, though, Poernomo hopes to nail.
'There is no scientific evidence that a good pillow will overcome a snoring problem,' he says. 'That has to be dealt with some other way.'