Every product must conform to the product’s description. What does this mean? Another way of saying this is that the product will behave in the way you expect or suppose it will behave. If the seller describes the product, provides specifications or makes claims as to what it will do, then the seller is making a product warranty. If the product does not do what the seller says it will do, then the product is regarded as non-conforming or “off-spec” and the buyer could potentially have a claim against the seller for breach of warranty. So, the term “conform” as it relates to products is a pivotal word.
Now, the subject of conformity is brought up in the context of pillows… pillows used for sleeping. There are many types of pillows on the market. There are memory foam pillows, shredded foam pillows, latex pillows, down feather pillows, polyester fiberfill pillows, inner spring pillows, and buckwheat hull pillows. Pillow sellers all describe the features and benefits of their pillows in the most favored light. But what will each type of pillow actually do? What won’t it do? Sleeping on the pillow, will you be satisfied?
Let’s take the memory foam pillow. They are supposed to improve the sleep quality by providing neck and back support and mold to the shape of your head and neck. But they really don’t offer any firmer support for the neck in relation to the head. They also retain the heat, making you feel warmer and more prone to sweat at night. Some memory foam pillows are infused with so-called cooling gels, polyurethane foam or other materials. But do these additives really improve sleep quality?
Shredded foam pillows are just what it is… clusters of polyurethane foam, sometimes claimed to be made of memory foam that makes the pillow more moldable to the neck and head and flexible. While these shredded foam pillows are easier to shape and conform to your head and neck, they too trap the body heat and do not differentiate between the neck and head, thus exerting the same amount of pressure to each body part.
The same can be said for latex foam pillows made of either natural or synthetic latex. The former comes from a rubber tree that produces a white, sticky fluid. The latter comes from a man-made composition of various chemicals. Sometimes latex pillows are blended with natural and synthetic latex. However, their insulating quality and uniformity in the amount of pressure exerted on the neck and head makes it questionable whether a latex pillow will improve the sleep quality.
Down feather pillows do even worse as far as trapping heat and not providing adequate support to help the neck maintain its natural curvature by elevating it versus the head. The down is too soft and light to provide any structure. Also, while breathable, they are to a fault too malleable and go flat, requiring constant fluffing. Also, they have the natural insulating feature that is craved for down-filled parkas and coats to keep the heat in, which is not what you want to do with a sleeping pillow. Then, due to their being of animal material, they can trigger allergic reactions in some people and have the ability to attract bugs.
Polyester fiberfill pillows feel like down pillows but don’t provide the kind of structure the memory foam pillows offer. While they are made of synthetic chemicals, people are generally less allergic to fiberfill pillows than down or memory foam pillows.
There is such a thing as an innerspring pillow that has a core of steel springs much like a mattress but with memory foam or polyester fiberfill wrapped around it. Obviously, its construction is to provide the support missing in memory foam and fiberfill pillows. However, unless the spring action provides greater support for the neck and give for the head to be lower in relation to the neck, it does not provide the adequate neck support to maintain the natural curvature of the cervical neck. While it’s supposed to be cooler that is questionable given that it is wrapped with insulating material.
Finally, there is the pillow filled with buckwheat hulls. The buckwheat hulls are the chaff removed and separated from the buckwheat grain. If high quality, the buckwheat hulls have a 3-D structure that allow the hulls to interlock with each other, forming a structure inside the pillow. Naturally ventilating, they do not retain the body heat. However, unless there are walls and compartments inside the pillow to hold the buckwheat hulls, the hulls have a tendency to flatten and need to be fluffed up to maintain the structure around the neck and head.
So, the question is which pillow conforms to the pillow sellers’ product description, specifications and claims? The next time you shop for a new sleeping pillow, ask these questions and compare.