According to the latest studies, the typical pensioner has 5.7 pillows on their bed, mainly to provide lumbar support for activities such as reading, knitting, peeling vegetables and shot putting.

However, retaining this amount of pillows is actually detrimental to a good night’s sleep, and current guidance from NAPS (National Advisory Panel on Sleep) recommends a total pillow height of no more than 4” (10 cm) including that of any books, teeth, sandwiches, cats, clock-radios, slippers, indigestion tablets, hot water bottles, tissues, teas-maids, jigsaws and dustpans located beneath the pillows.

NAPS also recommends changing the filling of the pillow to better suit the characteristics of the individual sleeper, including

Clouds:  ideal for very light sleepers and people who regularly dream of being able to fly.

Sausages:  ideal for people who often wake during the night feeling peckish.

Wire wool:  ideal for people who have acne, itchy ear lobes or heavy dandruff.

Spume:  ideal for people who sleep in hammocks.

Coal:  ideal for minors and people with very small heads.

Blancmange:  ideal for people who have two or more heads.