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Author Archives: Cassie French
Have you been thinking about trying a memory foam/latex foam pillow or mattress? There are some variables that you need to consider before a purchase. What kind of foam is suitable for my needs? Is there really a difference in feel between latex foam and memory foam? Will I have to deal with any kind of odor when I buy the mattress/pillow? Are there different types of memory foam? Are there different types of latex foam?
Hopefully, this guide will provide you with the answers that you need to make an informed decision, and lead you to the mattress/pillow of your dreams!
We’ll start with memory foam. With the rise in demand for easily shippable mattresses, memory foam has become an excellent solution. This material can be vacuum-sealed and rolled into a relatively compact box for cheaper and more efficient shipping. Once the seal is released just sit back and watch it expand into a mattress that is designed to hug all of your curves and cradle your body throughout the night. The same concept applies for pillows. Memory foam pillows are designed to mold to your head and neck to relieve pressure points, so you wake up without the usual aches and pains that you can sometimes get from a more traditional pillow or mattress.
There are three common types of memory foam to choose from, each with their own unique qualities.
Traditional/Viscoelastic Memory Foam
Traditional memory foam was initially made in the 1970s for NASA. They used memory foam to cushion the astronauts during their turbulent ascent. In the early 90s, memory foam mattresses were put into production. These mattresses are made out of a petroleum-based, polyurethane foam. Once the mattresses began successfully selling, pillows were made to give the body a full cradling feel. Traditional memory foam is designed to for motion isolation as it conforms to the body.
There are some downsides to traditional memory foam mattresses. The first is that this material tends to retain heat which can make you overheat and sweat. Quite often this problem can be remedied with a gel topper that keeps the surface of your mattress cool. The second most common complaint about this material is an off-gassing odor, but if given time to air out, the smell usually dissipates.
Plant-Based Memory Foam
If you suffer from allergies or have really sensitive skin, plant-based memory foam might be the perfect solution for you. At least a portion of “green” memory foam is manufactured with plant-based oils. With fewer chemicals being used to make this memory foam off-gassing isn’t as much of a concern. This foam is also made with an open-cell design so it is much more breathable than the traditional memory foam, which helps it redirect heat away from the body. The primary downside to plant-based bedding products is their higher price tag. They can often be difficult to find in your local mattress store, but many internet retailers do ship directly to the customer.
Gel-Infused Memory Foam
One of the newest types of memory foam, gel-infused memory foam, was made to combat the retention of heat that its traditional counterpart is known for. Gel-infused memory foam can either be topped with gel pockets or millions of gel beads are directly injected into the foam itself. Both are made to dissipate heat away from the body keeping you cool throughout the night. This gel technology is still being improved to ensure that no matter how much you move around you stay cool and comfortable, but with every new product, manufacturers are getting closer to that goal.
Known for its durability and responsiveness, latex foam is a more eco-friendly option over memory foam. There are three different types of latex foam; natural latex, blended latex, and 100% synthetic. Natural latex is harvested from rubber trees and is perfect for people who suffer from allergies.
Natural latex is harvested from rubber trees and is perfect for people who suffer from allergies. Although they do exist, it can be difficult to find pillows and mattresses that are made with 100% natural latex due to high manufacturing costs. Blended latex pillows and mattresses are much more commonly found in retail stores. Generally, manufacturers will “top” their products with natural latex and make the rest with synthetic latex. A less eco-friendly way of manufacturing pillows and mattresses is to use 100% synthetic latex foam. The most common type of synthetic latex is called SBR, or styrene-butadiene rubber. Synthetic latex foam is also not as durable as natural or blended latex, so the lifespan of your mattress or pillow would likely be much shorter.
There are two primary methods of processing latex: the Dunlop process and the Talalay process. The Dunlop process is the original way of making latex foam. It is produced by pouring the latex in its liquid form into a mold and it baked in a vulcanization oven. Then it is washed and dried at a high temperature to help it retain elasticity. This process makes the foam dense and very springy. Dunlop latex doesn’t mold to the body as easily as memory foam.
The Talalay process is a little bit more involved. The partially fill the mold with the liquid latex, and then they seal it and vacuum expand it. The mold is then frozen. This makes the foam become a gel. Once it’s reached this stage, it is baked in a vulcanized oven. this process makes for a more bouncy and less dense foam.
Both processes create a similar feel. They are both more bouncy and responsive than memory foam, so they generally create a firmer feel in mattresses and pillows. This can be great for sleepers with back problems that don’t want to sink as much into their mattress. Because latex foam is a little more breathable than memory foam it tends to help you sleep a little cooler.
No one material is better than the other, but each has its own unique qualities that can help you achieve a deeper, more restful sleep.
We all have our own unique bedtime routines, but some are more “out-of-the-ordinary” than others. Below we will explore how these techniques might help you relax and fall into a deep sleep.
Use A Weighted Blanket
As babies, our parents swaddled us tightly in blankets. This feeling helps babies sleep because it simulates the tight space of the womb. It also prevents babies from restless movement and twitching, promoting a deeper sleep. The same concept applies for adults. Weighted blankets are filled with a variety of things from rice to poly pellets. The weight that these blankets apply to your body simulates the feeling of being swaddled. It is especially good for adults who experience continuous restless nights.
Text Source: Reader’s Digest (http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/sleep-tricks)
Try To Stay Awake
This may seem counterproductive, but trying to force yourself to stay awake can trick your brain into getting drowsy. Sort of a reverse psychology on yourself. Studies have shown that keeping your eyes wide open and keeping your body completely still with no electronics or lights on can actually help you fall asleep faster. I tried this method a couple of times this last week, and sure enough, the longer I tried to stay “wide-awake” the faster I fell into a deep sleep.
Text Source: Life Hacker (http://lifehacker.com/you-may-actually-fall-asleep-faster-if-you-try-to-stay-1693693901)
Watch And Listen To ASMR
This is probably one of the most interesting relaxation techniques out there, but over the past few years, it has been gaining in popularity over social media. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, and is defined as, “a feeling of euphoric tingling and relaxation that can come over someone when he or she watches certain videos or hears certain sounds” (Sleep.org) These responses can be triggered by very simple sounds that we hear every day such as the tapping of rain on a tin roof or the sound of writing with a pencil on paper. These sounds start a tingle at the top of your scalp, and as it travels down your body, your mind relaxes and you can drift to sleep. Now, this hasn’t been proven to work for everyone, but for those of us that it does, it is a great way to relax. If you are interested in listening to ASMR videos there are hundreds of them on YouTube. Below is an example of one of the popular ASMR videos by ASMR Darling.
Text Source: Sleep.org (https://sleep.org/articles/what-is-asmr/)
Video Source: YouTube (https://youtu.be/WX6SPJxurLo)
Roll Your Eyes
Research has shown that this simple trick can trigger the release of melatonin in your brain. All you need to do is close your eyes, and roll your eyes down and then back up. Do this a few times. Rolling your eyes like this mimics the beginnings of REM (Rapid Eye Movements).
Text Source: Restful Insomnia (http://www.restfulinsomnia.com/eye-roll/)
Text Source: Mirror (http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/unable-sleep-eleven-ways-you-2300449)
Make A To-Do List About Your Next Day’s Tasks
If you are like me, you worry about what needs to be done the next day. One way to ease your concerns a little is to write down your to-do list on a piece of paper. Writing each task down makes you feel like you are more in control of your day. So, you can rest easy at night knowing that you have a plan of attack for the next day.
Text Source: Huffington Post: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-kushnick-psyd/5-rarely-seen-tricks-for-_b_10153342.html)
It’s time to start planning for Mother’s Day! Finding that perfect gift for your mother or grandmother can be a daunting task. If you are tired of sending flowers year after year, bedding is a soft and cozy alternative. Not sure what she might like? Not to worry! This bedding guide will walk you through the different options of bedding, and provide links to products that might delight your mother on her special day.
Give your mother the gift of a peaceful night’s sleep with pillows that support and cradle her head. In this section, we’ll break down our pillows on Pillows.com by fill. Each fill offers its own set of support levels.
Feather and down pillows are probably some of our best selling pillows. These pillows have a cloud-like feel and compress under the head. If your mother is a little “old-fashioned”, she might prefer a feather and down option. They are offered in varying support levels as well. Generally, a good rule of thumb for determining the support level of a feather and down pillow is to look at the ratio of feathers to down. A 100% down pillow is going to be the softest and most compressible pillow you can get, whereas the firmest is a 95% feather/5% down or 100% feather pillow. Below are some pillows under each support level category:
Soft: Pacific Coast Feather Company Natural Down Pillow (Good for stomach sleepers)
Medium-Soft: Phoenix Down 50% White Goose Feather/50% White Goose Down Pillow (Good for stomach and back sleepers)
Medium: Manchester Mills Down Dreams Pillow (Good for side back, and some stomach sleepers)
Medium-Firm: Pillowtex Triple Core Pillow (Good for side and back sleepers)
Firm: Down Dream Classic Firm Pillow (Good for side sleepers)
Polyester pillows have several advantages over the traditional feather and down pillows. The first is that they are great for people who suffer from allergies. Many people are allergic to the dust particles that tend to cling to feathers, and polyester doesn’t retain dust. The second reason why polyester is a good option is that it doesn’t need frequent fluffing like its feather/down counterparts. Polyester has a more springy quality to it, so it helps the pillow maintain it’s loft and form. Below are some pillows under each support level category:
Soft: Pillowtex Down Alternative Pillow (Good for stomach sleepers)
Medium-Soft: Restful Nights Conformance Supreme Pillow (Good for stomach and back sleepers)
Medium: Down Alternative Eco Pillow (Good side, back, and some stomach sleepers)
Medium-Firm: Dream Surrender Pillow (Good for side and back sleepers)
Firm: Dream Surrender Firm (Good for side sleepers)
Extra Firm: Infinity Pillow (Good for side sleepers with a wider shoulder width)
Memory Foam is certainly an acquired taste for many sleepers. These pillows tend to be firmer and a little warmer than the traditional pillows. Of course, memory foam technology has come far in recent years. Many manufacturers are making memory foam more dough-like, and some introduce cooling gel to combat the heating qualities of this material. Below are some of our favorites:
Soft to Medium-Soft: Malouf Zoned Dough Low Loft Plush Memory Foam Pillow (Good for stomach and back sleepers) This pillow is also offered in High Loft Plush, Low Loft Firm, and High Loft Firm)
Medium: Technogel Deluxe Pillow (Side and back sleepers)
Firm: RemFit 400 Series Pillow (This pillow is adjustable, so it can potentially be good for all sleep positions)
Another excellent Mother’s Day gift is a new comforter! Depending on where you mother or grandmother lives, she may need a comforter to fit the climate. Below are some great comforters for summer, winter, and fall:
These comforters are very lightweight and feel more like a blanket or throw. They are excellent for summertime sleeping or for areas that stay warmer for longer during the year.
Down Comforter: Phoenix Down Brussels Comforter
Polyester Comforter: Tempo Duvet Insert
These comforters are very versatile and are great for the fall, or climates that generally stay in the mid-range temperatures.
Feather and Down Comforter: Pillowtex Classic Weight Feather and Down Comforter
Polyester Comforter: Malouf Down Alternative Microfiber Comforter
These are the heaviest comforters that keep you warm, even in the dead of winter.
Feather and Down: Pillowtex Arctic Weight Feather and Down Comforter
Although we carry many different pillows and comforters, these are some of our favorites. Hopefully, this guide can lead you to find the perfect gift for your mother or grandmother! Happy Mother’s Day!