It seems the time has come to replace your old pillow. With all the different materials available, it can be overwhelming to choose which pillow to get. Some pillows offer better ventilation, while others provide better support for sore necks and backs. How does one choose!?! This guide will explain some of the pillow materials available for purchase, along with explaining their pros and cons, to help make the decision process a little easier.
Latex-filled pillows can either be made with natural or synthetic latex (or a mix). Natural latex comes from trees that produce a milky fluid found beneath the tree’s bark. Synthetic latex uses styrene and butadiene, which come from petroleum. While synthetic latex has become more common, it is not as durable as natural latex.
Latex is mainly manufactured in two methods: Dunlop or Talalay. Both methods use the liquid latex taken from the tree substance and are poured into molds. The Dunlop method fills the mold in one pour, creating a dense bottom layer and soft top layer. The Talalay method fills only part of the mold, and is then vacuumed to expand the liquid, which is then frozen for preservation, and finally heated via a vulcanization process. Talalay is softer and bouncier as a result.
Latex offers firmness to the pillows, which can be beneficial to head and neck support while sleeping. If you suffer from neck pain after waking up, transitioning to latex pillows may help ease and further prevent pain. It is also durable and hypo-allergenic, making them easy to clear and long-lasting.
While latex offers a lot of great benefits, it is also one of the more expensive types of pillows. So, if you are on a budget, you may want to look at other options available.
Memory foam pillows are very popular amongst consumers. The material was created by NASA engines to act as cushions for both spacecraft and aircraft. Memory foam is treated polyurethane, meaning that it is not based off natural materials like latex.
Memory foam tends to be comfortable because it can contour to your body and changes shape for even alignment for your neck and back. This happens because memory foam is easy to mold to different shapes once it is exposed to heat, meaning your body heat helps with the molding to your body.
Memory foam pillows are hypo-allergenic since they tend to retain less dust than other materials, and are easy to clean, since they are not enclosed. It is important to note, however, that memory foam pillows by default tend to run much warmer than other pillows, and are much more absorbent of liquids, so you will have to wash them more frequently.
Shredded Memory Foam
Shredded memory foam pillows follow most of the same principles of memory foam, with some key differences. As the name suggests, the memory foam is shredded down, making the pillow softer, but less stable.
Compared to traditional memory foam, shredded memory foam has better ventilation, which is perfect for summer nights or those who live in hotter regions. Shredded memory foam pillows also allow you to add or remove shredded foam to adjust the pillow’s height for better alignment and support for your neck.
It is important to know that shredded memory foam pillows do not mold to your body as well as traditional memory foam pillows, so it may not provide the same level of support.
In terms of availability and price, polyester pillows are at the top. Polyester is a man-made material based off petroleum. The fiberfill used inside pillows is produced via a process called garneting, which breaks up material and brings it back to a fluffy, fibrous condition for use in blends or on its own.
Polyester pillows are sold in different levels of firmness, which allows consumers to select what level of support they are most comfortable with. They are also easy to clean as they are machine washable and dry quickly.
While these pillows are one of the most affordable options available, they do have their downsides. Those with chemical sensitivity should look for alternative pillow types as polyester is made with chemicals. Polyester pillows also do not breathe as well as other pillows, so they can become hot. And finally, the polyester materials do not last as long as other materials, so the pillows will have to be replaced every year or two.
Down pillows are also a very popular choice for consumers. Down is a grouping of fibers rather than feathers that fill the pillows. These groupings are soft and fluffy. The filling helps make the pillow light, which allows you to travel with it, should you choose to do so.
Down pillows are great at regulating the temperature, allowing you to keep cool when the temperatures rise. Down pillows also have a wide range of firmness, with larger fill numbers giving a firmer pillow.
Like any other materials, down pillows do have some drawbacks. Because they are made of natural fibers, it can be tricky to ensure they are hypoallergenic. Down pillows also absorb all moisture which can break the pillow down over time. So if you live in a humid climate or sweat frequently at night, a down pillow is not the best option.