NAVIGATING THE PILLOW AND MATTRESS MAZE

According to the “Goldilocks Zone” we wanted pillows and mattresses that were not too firm nor too soft, not too cold and not too hot.

Scouring the research like Goldilocks trying a bed there was a lot of anecdotal evidence, some research and a lot of testimonies which is condensed in this table with consideration of the afore mentioned principles/requirements.

PILLOW TYPES 

Feather/Down Pillow Comfort ·         Softest material therefore most likely to be comfortable.
Adjustability ·         Very adjustable as more feathers/down can be added into the pillow to find the best shape/height.

·         The pillow moves easily with the head as feathers move and can be pushed around.

·         Has the potential to flatten overnight and lose shape so potentially needs to be puffed up more often.

Sleep Management ·         Is the warmest of materials.

·         Has the potential for allergy problems especially if allergic to feathers or down. However, the research articles are divided in that if the pillow is encased in an appropriate material which is anti-bacterial and hypo-allergenic then the risk of an allergic reaction reduces.

Contoured ·         Feather and down pillows can be contoured with the contour easily adjusted with the addition or reduction of feathers in the pillow.

 

Memory Foam Pillow

The benefit of these pillows seems to be that they are generally more durable and last longer. There is almost a pillow to suit everybody and every need. The trouble is where to start. Here are some ideas.

Comfort ·         Memory foam is often uniform without lumps but has the potential to be rigid.

·         However, the density of the foam can change with the higher the density the more rigid and hard. The lower the density the more soft.

Adjustability ·         Memory foam pillows will come in various sizes to improve ability to adjust to correct height but may not pass the pillow selfie test.

·         Shredded memory foam can improve this adjustability and allow the pillow to move with the head.

·         The Memory foam pillow makes most claims to being able to hold head and neck in proper spinal alignment. Viscoelastic material reacts to body heat and allows more moulding of the head to the pillow and therefore provides good adaption which occurs over time. The modelling process is continuous therefore adding to the fact that the pillow will move with the head.

Sleep Management ·         Memory foam is anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic.

·         Depending on the density of the foam and whether it is shredded or is gel infused will determine the heat of the pillow. Dense pillows will be generally warmer however the gel based/ plant based or shredded memory foam is the coolest in this variety.

Contour ·         Memory foam pillows can be contoured but again the more dense the less adjustability of the contour to the neck.

 

Latex Pillow    
·         The benefit of this pillow is that like the memory foam it is very durable.    
  Comfort ·         The latex pillow generally provides a more firm support for the head. Without that sinking feeling that can accompany a memory foam pillow.
  Adjustability ·         Potentially less adjustable but will come in different sizes to reduce problems associated with the pillow selfie not being quite right.
  Sleep Management ·         Latex is resistant to water and therefore has a good response to sweating.

·         Natural latex can be amongst the coolest of materials to sleep on.

·         It is hypoallergenic for people with allergies along with those who might have some chemical insensitivity.

  Contour ·         Latex pillows come with contours generally but can have similar problems with height and size as mentioned with the memory foam pillows.

 

Water    
Comfort ·         As water cannot be compressed, a water pillow will always have a firm feel.
Adjustability ·         Very adjustable as water can be added or removed.
Sleep Management ·         Always the coolest of the pillow range.
Contour ·         Water pillows generally have no contour.

 

MATTRESSES

Many of the principles/requirements that apply to pillows also apply to mattress selection as many of the materials used in production are the same or are hybrids with other materials.

Basic principles related to materials include:

1)Research and anecdotal evidence suggests that a medium firm mattress significantly reduces chronic low back pain.

2) A good mattress can last 10 years but should be checked around the 7 years mark for dipping specifically around the shoulder and hip regions.

3) Mattresses need to be turned and flipped every 6 months. If you have a mattress with a soft, quilt pillow top, the mattress will not be able to be turned so it should be turned around 180 degrees.

4) A bed system is comprised of mattress and foundation. The foundation is the section of the bed below the mattress. The foundation of a bed can add to the overall support with some foundations having extra springs whilst other foundations are just metal or wooden beams across the bed adding no support at all. A futon type of bed may just have a mattress alone on the floor.

Consider the foundation of the bed especially if you are looking for extra support and comfort. Obviously a foundation with extra springs is better for those looking for more support.

5) A pillow top mattress is a mattress with an extra layer sewn on top. This allows the purchase of a firmer mattress which is suggested for better support of the spine without adversely affecting the comfort to the bony points of the body. It is an excellent fit for support and comfort with spring mattresses.

MATTRESS TYPES

Type Description
Innerspring Coils One of the most common types of mattresses, coil mattresses come in different gauges and concentrations.

The gauge numbers relate to the thickness and stiffness of the wire in the coils. The lower the gauge the thicker and stiffer the wire, the firmer the mattress.

The higher the concentration of coils, the better the ability and adaptability to support the body as there are more points of support.

Box Springs:                                                        Refers to the system of having a raised                                                                                        platform (foundation) and a spring mattress                                                                                 on top.
Latex Mattress Same properties/requirements as for Latex pillow.
Foam Mattress Same properties/requirements as for Foam pillow.
Water Mattress Same properties/requirements as for Water pillow.

 

Ultimately, pillow and mattress selection will be determined by trying before buying and using pain as your guide. New pillows and mattresses need time to adjust so usually allows 2-3 weeks for pillow and 1-2 months for mattresses.

Again this a work in process and not a definitive guide so I will be updating with additional blogs in the future.

Any further information please do not hesitate to contact the practice on 9670 3996.

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