The right pillow is key to a good night’s sleep. Pillows that retain their loft and do not flatten over time provide the best value and support. Foam pillows are known for their resiliency and long product life. The tradeoff is a significantly higher price tag. Foam pillows that meet the requirements for support, durability and comfort are available in a wide variety of styles and under a number of different brand names.
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Pillows constructed out of memory foam are specially designed to provide support to the neck and shoulder areas. The material in memory foam pillows was first used by NASA as a cushion to protect astronauts during launch. Memory foam pillows are also referred to as contour pillows. These pillows are available in a number of shapes, firmness levels and styles. Memory foam is made by mixing a number of chemicals that expand during the reaction process. The reaction forms air bubbles. The pillow firmness is determined by the type of chemicals used in the manufacturing process. The material has a “natural resilience” that does not flatten with repeated use. Specialty types of memory foam pillows include saddle-shaped that provide back support while sitting; the backrest model that keeps the head elevated while sleeping; and the U-shaped pillow which wraps around and supports the neck.
Tempurpedic is a brand name for pillows and mattresses made of viscoelastic foam, which is a variation of the material used in memory foam. Tempurpedic pillows are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and densities. For example, the ComfortPillow features the common pillow shape and allows users to shape the pillow according to personal preference. Other Tempurpedic pillows are preshaped during the manufacturing process. The company promotes its NeckPillow as “posture-correcting” as well as comfortable. Other Tempurpedic models include the Rhapsody, the Symphony, the Millenium and the Grand. Tempurpedic pillows are pricey. According to The Better Sleep Group, Tempurpedic pillows rarely go on sale.
Latex foam pillows do not flatten or clump during use and provide “superior neck support” according to SleepLikeTheDead.com, a pillow and bedding consumer review organization. Latex foam is made of plant-based rubber. Eighty percent of latex foam pillow owners were satisfied with the performance of the pillow, according to a SleepLikeTheDead survey involving 1,200 users. In general, the users reported good support, effective pain relief and pillow durability. The major downside is the initial odor of the pillow when first purchased. Additionally, some individuals are allergic to the materials used to make latex foam. Survey participants report the pillows last longer and retain their shape better than other pillow types. However, the latex foam pillows may begin to lose their shape over a significant time period.