A pillow is an integral part of a bedroom and crucial for good comfortable sleep. An ideal pillow provides support to the neck and back while helping a person get sound sleep.
Few questions pop up in everyone’s mind when it comes to pillows, such as
- Which is the comfiest pillow?
- What is it made of?
- What should be its height?
- Will it be suitable for any sleeping position?
Every person has their preference when it comes to having a perfect pillow. The article aims at providing information with regards to various pillows, the materials used and their pros and cons.
Best Pillows – Type and Material
When it comes to comfort, cooling properties and feel, the fill materials play a vital role. Unlike other products, the pillow does not have a one best type. Factors such as diverse needs and diverse sleeping preferences influence the structure and the fill material used for creating a pillow.
Let's look at the different types of pillow materials as well as the organic and natural options. Latex, polyurethane, and memory foams are some of the very popular foam types existing in the market for the past 15 years and more. All three materials offer excellent support and contouring as well as offer superior cooling properties.
Memory foam is a very popular pillow fill material, especially liked by people having neck or back pain. Memory foam has a slow response time and offers an excellent “hug” (contours quickly to head and neck) thereby providing support where it is required the most. Memory foam pillow comes in three types – molded, shredded or noodle. Some manufacturers also offer a blend of these materials in their pillows.
Some memory foam pillows are noted to emit a strong smell, a factor which acts a downer to some. Another disadvantage of memory foam is that compared to other materials, memory foam gets warmer over time as it retains heat. However, manufacturers are addressing this problem by offering improved designs such as gel-based memory foam pillows.
Offers excellent support and contouring. This material is most suitable for people who have neck and back pain.
An essential characteristic of this material is the ability to adjust the loft height to one’s satisfaction. Compared to molded material, shredded materials are more breathable. This type is highly recommended for people who sleep on their stomach.
Like shredded foam, this material is more breathable and can be easily adjusted. This type of material is recommended for every sleeping position.
Top Memory Foam Pillow Picks:
- Pillows by Coop Home Goods
- Easy Breather from Nest Bedding
Two types of latex are used as fill materials for pillows – natural latex and synthetic latex. Some manufacturers also use a blend of these two types. Natural latex is obtained from tree sap and is counted among the most eco-friendly materials on earth. A mix of synthetic and natural latex is also as an excellent option if you want a cheaper yet excellent product that still retains several significant characteristics of both natural and artificial latex.
A significant downside of latex pillow is the less contouring and hug offered by latex pillows. Moreover, compared to other pillows, latex pillows are more expensive. However, characteristics like durability, superior cooling properties as well as natural materials justify the costly tag of the latex pillow.
Top Latex Pillow Picks:
- Talalay Latex Pillows by Malouf
- Organic Pillow by NaturePedic
Poly-foam pillows offer greater balanced feel when compared to latex or memory foam. When it comes to costs, the poly-foam pillow is the least expensive among the three types. Poly-foam pillows have superior cooling properties when compared to memory foam but lag behind when compared to latex.
The significant drawbacks of poly-foam pillow is the smell emitted by it as well as less durability when compared to other types. However, high-end custom-made poly-foam based products offer superior characteristics while negating the downsides associated with it.
Top Poly-foam Pillow Pick
- Bear Pillow (A custom-made high-end pillow designed for active people and athletes)
Organic and Natural Pillow Types
An interesting fact is that while all organic pillows are natural, all natural products need not be organic.
Products like down feathers, wool, cotton, natural latex are either derived from animals or plants, which means that these are natural materials. Organic products have to be certified before they can be used for human purposes.
The certification process would include verifying that the entire manufacturing process as well as the materials used do not have any dangerous chemicals or pesticides and is safe for human use.
This certification process is essential since many people suffer from allergies and use of unsafe products might also result in people have significant health complications.
Pillows using Natural Organic Filling
Down feather pillows are made from feathers of geese, swans or ducks. The feathers can be soft, ,plucked from beneath the hard outside layer, that gives the soft feel, or it can be denser feathers if a firm feel is what you want. Besides the feel, these feather pillows have excellent breathability and have a high loft when initially purchased, however with use it gradually flattens out.
A downside to down feather pillow is the fact that the pillow cannot be washed and needs to be dry-cleaned. If you prefer sleeping warm, then down feather pillow is the very suitable. However, it flattens out quickly causing it to get warmer.
These pillows are expensive compared to other pillows, and people who have Down Pillow Allergy cannot use them. Down Pillow allergy is allergy caused due to inhaling particles that become airborne after the breakdown of feathers used in pillows. Allergies can also be caused due to mold and dust mites that infest the feathers.
A good Down Pillow choice:
- Goose Down pillow offered by eLuxury.
The buckwheat pillows have low heat retention which gives it superior cooling properties. This low heat retention is possible due to the filling of solid buckwheat hulls. Besides cooling properties, these pillows are hypoallergenic, making it suitable for sleepers who have allergies. These pillows are entirely unresponsive to any movement and can be very noisy, which makes it unsuitable for people who shift a lot in their sleep. Moreover, these pillows cannot be machine-washed, and you can either dry them out in the sun or replace them.
A very popular buckwheat pillow
- ComfyComfy buckwheat pillow.
A natural material, cotton can also be produced organically. Cotton has superior cooling and breathability properties and is also a hypoallergenic material. A significant advantage with these pillows are the affordable prices. Based on the choice of suitable loft, you can use cotton pillows for any sleeping position. These tend to have a very short lifespan as they start flattening out after some time.
An excellent cotton pillow
- Naturepedic Organic Cotton/PLA Pillow
Alternative to Organic Pillows
Alternative pillows have been developed to provide similar user-friendly features and feel of natural materials but at a lesser price. A downside of alternative pillows is the lack of durability. Some of the major alternative pillows that have ruled the roost in this segment in 2017 are explained below.
Since many people suffer from Down Pillow Allergy. To address the needs of these people, pillow manufacturers have created a less-expensive alternative which aims at providing same down feel but uses polyester or cotton as a primary fill material.
These alternative pillows can also offer superior cooling properties since the products used in these pillows retain a lesser degree of heat, thereby providing a better sleeping experience. A drawback with these pillows is the shorter lifespan when compared to other pillow products. Besides, people who prefer natural products might not prefer Down Alternative pillows
Top Down Alternative Pillow Picks
- The Duck And Goose Co
Like cotton, polyester offers pillow users a traditional feel. A polyester pillow is cheaper and provides excellent cooling characteristics. However, shorter lifespan is the most significant downside of polyester pillows.
These pillows tend to flatten very quickly and can also be noisy. All said and done; many other alternatives are available in the market which can offer better fell for the same money.