People spend about one-third of their life sleeping about 8-9 hours on their pillows every day. Our pillows are the closest companions so these must never be ignored.
Image by JayMantri
The pillow market offers a variety of options to choose from, addressing every sleeper’s unique needs. You may find pillows with the latest technology, cooling gels, and anti-snoring mechanisms, or you can find the cheapest ones depending on your budget. But one thing remains a fact, the right pillow will change your life. Because you will feel more rested, relaxed, and motivated to do your errands.
There do exist people who like to sleep without a pillow but if you are not one of those, this guide is for you.
So what is the right pillow material to buy? Here are 5 pillow stuffings to choose from.
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory Foam Pillows are made of a solid material called polyurethane, a kind of plastic used in many other items like sofas, mattresses, insulation in the house, and spray foams. One of the most distinctive qualities of memory foam is that it changes its shape with pressure and heat, and returns to its shape once the object is lifted. This characteristic makes it a good choice for those needing a durable material that doesn’t flatten with time.
Memory foam is suitable for those who have spinal issues, specifically back and side sleepers. There are different varieties in the market, in every shape and size. There are ortho pillows, the rectangular memory foam pillows that can help people with stiffening neck aches.
On the contrary, if you have allergies, memory foam may not be your ideal choice because of VOCs (Volatile Chemical Compounds) present in the foam. These chemicals produce a smell due to off-gassing when the pillow is new but the odor subsides after a few weeks.
People who are prone to heating may not find memory foam pillows comforting as some of them trap heat inside. The memory foam containing cooling pads may be more comforting.
A down pillow is most popular among sleepers because of its soft, cotton candy-like filling that is a dream to sleep on. Although more expensive than most pillows, these are top-notch in quality. Down pillows, as the name suggests, are made from the clusters of down plucked from the chest area of a goose, swan, or duck.
The down pillows should not be confused with feather ones as those are made from the quills of the bird.
The down is often mixed with a feather to give it a greater volume and fullness. A pillow that can be called ‘down’ has 75% of this material and only 25% of feathers. The best thing about down pillows is that they are suited to almost all types of sleepers. These are moldable, lightweight, and very comfortable compared to any other pillow in the market.
On the downside, the natural fibers of a down pillow are prone to flattening over time, making them not just pricey but less long-lasting. Regular fluffing up may help to resolve the issue.
Plus, they also can’t be machine washed as any moisture is going to ruin the material almost instantly. For larger people, down pillows may not provide optimal support while sleeping and may lead to backaches.
Buckwheat Pillows originated from Japan, where it is known as ‘Sobakawa’. This is a natural pillow filling that is also a biodegradable alternative. The pillow filling is made of a thick outer casing called the Buckwheat Hulls. These feel like bean bags filling and conform easily to your head’s shape.
For sleepers who like to adjust their pillows loft quite often may find this a good option. You can always remove or add buckwheat hulls to adjust them. This filing is also available in the market in bulk so you can keep extra. These adjust very nicely with hot sleepers as the hulls promote a constant airflow. These are also very durable compared to other natural alternatives like down pillows.
On the other side, if you are a sensitive sleeper, the constant rustling of the buckwheat hulls may annoy you mid-sleep. They also have an earthy-smell that you may not find very pleasant. They are quite firm and if you like softer, more fluffy pillows, this isn’t for you.
Polyester Fiberfill Pillows
Polyester fiberfill pillows are some of the most commonly bought pillows as they are adjustable to every sleeper’s need. Made from thousands of synthetic poly fibers, they are a cheaper and versatile alternative to the down pillows. They are quite breathable and easy to maintain as you can machine wash and tumble dry them.
Polyester Fiber Pillows are ideal for those looking to buy pillows on a budget. They have plenty of air construction inside, which keeps the temperature regulated and your head won’t sweat because of it. They are light-weight and customizable as you can fill or remove the stuffing. Polyester Fibers have the least amount of smell and are hypoallergenic.
On the other hand, if you care for your environmental impact, these may not be for you since polyester fiberfill pillows are derived from petroleum and therefore, non-biodegradable.
They are also prone to clumping and have a low life span of almost 1-2 years. People with neck aches may not find them very supportive as the material spreads unevenly and flattens out with time. For people with allergies to dust, this stuffing may not be suitable as it can harbor dust mites.
Latex Pillows are another alternative that sleepers are loving these days. The biggest advantage of a latex pillow is that these provide the comfort of the down, yet they are firm and more durable. The material latex comes in two types: organic and synthetic.
Organic Latex, which is 100% plant-derived, is a biodegradable alternative whereas synthetic latex, mixed with other chemicals is toxic to human health as well as the planet.
Organic latex pillows are hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and breathable that will give you the most comfortable sleep. These provide great support to your head and neck because they contour easily. They don’t make any shifting noise, are anti-bacterial, and harbor no dust mites or bold.
But if you are on a budget, these pillows may not fall into the category as these pillows are quite pricey. Latex pillows are also hard to wash and some people can be allergic to latex itself.