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Have you ever got confused shopping for pillows? The size, shape, texture, color, fill, density - finding a perfect pillow is indeed a tough process. There are so many options available out there, but it’s the filling on the inside that counts the most. It is the type of fill that determines the level of comfortability of a pillow. But, there is also something else that you should know. The pillows you squish your faces into for long hours at night can be riddled with toxic chemicals!
Why does your pillow matter?
When it comes to sleep equipment, most of you focus more on mattresses. But, pillows are as important as mattresses in the matter of sleep quality. They support your sleeping posture and help you wake up without pain and stiffness in the morning.
Pillows can either help you or hurt you - it all depends on their firmness and your sleeping position. When your neck and shoulders fail to get the proper support or are bent at an angle that causes crunching and twisting, your spine and body go out of alignment. This can strain your neck, back, and shoulders.
Here, I’m going to give you a detailed idea about what exactly latex, duck down, and synthetic pillows are. Keep reading!
Latex is considered one of the most popular materials in pillows and mattresses. Organic, blended, and synthetic are the three different types of latex. Among them, 100%organic certified latex is considered the best.
Organic latex is taken from the rubber tree's sap, synthetic from petrochemicals, and blended latex is the combination of the two.
Whether you sleep on your back or your side, latex pillows provide the perfect combination of firmness and support. The greatest advantage of natural latex pillows is their extraordinary comfort level. Since the material is very dense, it holds its shape and softness for a much longer time. Latex has elastic properties that allow it to flex throughout the night so that you get a sound sleep.
If you are someone with allergies, then this one's for you. Latex pillows are mildew proof and antimicrobial, and they do not support the growth of dust mites or other common allergens.
Duck down pillows
Duck down pillows - are they just a bag or pile of feathers? You might have noticed the terms feather and down pillows used interchangeably. But, duck down pillows are something different. They are made from the clusters of down that are taken from the chest, back, and wing areas of a duck. Its stuffing looks like that of the fluffy dandelions that children blow on to make a wish.
Not only are duck down pillows comfortable, but they also have so many other benefits. Imagine sleeping on a bed of cotton candy -you feel as if you are sleeping on a cushiony cloud. You will experience the same when you lie on these down filled pillows! The clusters compress, and you might notice a springiness effect on the surface.
Down pillows can contour around your head and neck providing you natural softness. This can be super beneficial if you are someone with frequent neck pain or stiffness. In addition, they are even breathable - heat and moisture can easily escape from the pillow and help you sleep better, especially during restless summer nights.
Even though down pillows belong to the category of luxury pillows, they are of supreme quality and can be considered to be a long term investment.
However, they have drawbacks too. Since they are made using natural fiber, we can’t just blindly ensure that duck down pillows are completely hypoallergenic. They require constant fluffing up to help retain the feeling of softness. Also, there are concerns about plucking down the feathers, which is considered animal cruelty.
When it comes to synthetic pillows, I would say a big NO. Do you know why? Synthetic pillow stuffings can cause off-gassing, and they are not at all sustainable. They require huge amounts of resources to manufacture. And the worst part - these pillows wind up sitting in a landfill for years and years before they begin to actually break down.
Some of the widely used synthetic pillow fillings include polyester fiber, the most common being PET or polyethylene terephthalate. Memory foam made from polyurethane is also used as synthetic pillow filling. Both of them are non-biodegradable and can also cause potential risks to your health and the environment.
I agree that synthetic pillows are inexpensive, lightweight, and very easy to clean. But they have so many drawbacks. They are non-absorbent and don’t contour well to your head and neck. Compared to other pillows, synthetic pillows have the shortest life span, and the fillings may become clumped quickly.
Which one is the best for you?
When it comes to selecting a pillow, I would say it is a very individual process. No one pillow size, shape, texture, or material fits all.
If you ask me to choose one from organic latex, duck down, and synthetic, I would prefer a more comfortable, supportive, better for health, eco-friendly, and certified pillow, say organic latex.
When to replace your pillows?
When you sleep at night, your pillow absorbs the body oil and other substances that the body sheds. The regular build-up of these materials can make your pillow stink. Over time, these conditions attract tiny creatures like dust mites to naturally grow inside your pillow. This adds extra weight and impairs your pillow's ability to stay supportive long term. Also, bearing the weight of your head can eventually wear your pillow out.
If you notice any of these signs, then know that it is high time to replace your pillows:
There are permanent stains from body sweat and oil.
Noticeable lumps in the foam or filler materials
Wake up sneezing from dust mites
Constantly have to re-fluff (in case of down pillows)
Wake up with tension headaches
There are plenty of pillow options available in the market now and so before buying, make sure that your pillow is of the highest quality, certified, and provides optimal neck support. If you are someone who struggles with getting good sleep at night, why not try an organic latex pillow?