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Category Archives: Pillows and Bedding
5 Ways to Assess if Your Pillow Needs Replacing
If you can’t remember the last time you changed your pillows, know that you’re not alone. We don’t tend to think about the longevity or performance of our pillows when we lay down at night, exhausted from a long day. We’re just happy to be in bed, able to catch some shut eye – if only for a few hours. However, if you want to guarantee that the sleep you are having is top quality, that starts with your pillows.
Even though you aren’t a pillow expert, there are a few easy steps you can take to assess if your pillows are in desperate need of replacement.
Here are 5 quick tips for determining if you need some new pillows:
- The Fold Test: Take your pillow, and attempt to fold it in half. If you fold it in half and your pillow quickly bounces back into shape once you let go, chances are you have a few more months with that pillow. However, if your pillow fails to assume its prior shape, and slumps sadly onto the bed, it’s definitely time to consider new, supportive pillows. These are the things that support your head throughout the night, after all.
- Take a Peek: Sometimes, what we can see in plain sight is telling enough. Take off the pillowcase and observe your pillows. Do you see any yellowish stains? Those stains are the result of body oils, dead skin, and dust mites building up over time – yuck! If your pillows are discolored, you definitely need some new pillows and bedding.
- Take a Whiff: Moving onto the next sense, smell, it’s time to get up close and personal with your pillows on a scent level. Take your pillows and smell them. If they have an odor, it’s likely due to a bacteria build-up over time. That’s both disgusting and detrimental to you and your partner’s health. Time for some new, bacteria-free pillows.
- Feel It: Now it’s time to really feel around at the composition of your pillows. When you take and touch your pillow, can you feel lumps or feathers poking out of the pillow? Do you see foam or batting? If yes, that means your pillow has lost the supportive structure it once had. If the pillow is unable to contain its composition, it most certainly is unable to support your head and shoulders.
- Sleep Quality Test: This one is more figurative in nature. Sit down and really ponder if you are catching quality sleep at night. Do you wake up with a sore neck or headaches in the morning? Are you tossing and turning all night, struggling to find a comfortable sleeping position with your pillow? Is your pillow giving you the support it used to, a long time ago? If you suspect your pillow is linked to your sleep quality, it’s time for pillow replacement.
Here at Pillows.com, we’re happy to provide you with new, clean, structurally sound pillows that are complementary to a sound night of sleep.
You know why Saturdays are so awesome? It’s because we all get to sleep in. Not just sleep in past the alarm, but sleep past 2 if we want and stay in our pajamas all day! There’s no judgment because you are catching up on the sleep you missed out on during the week, right? WRONG! Catching up on sleep is a myth like a unicorn or a leprechaun or a season of Grey’s Anatomy where Meredith doesn’t almost die. According to Dr. Kiljeet Gill, one of our biggest priority in getting better sleep is consistency. Makes sense, right? I mean, we need consistency to see results, consistency in our diet and consistency in our relationships. Sleep is not like vacation days, we can’t just cash in on sleep when it fits our schedule, we need consistency.
On my quest of ascending the mountain of discovery, I realized I needed an expert to help guide me on the journey. I kind of like a sleep Sherpa, so I called Dr. Kiljeet Gill, a sleep expert, to help me understand how to make sleep a priority in 2018.
Q: What is the number one mistake people make in prioritizing their sleep?
Thinking they can catch up on sleep on the weekends. You need to be consistent in your sleep.
Q: What is the magic number of hours to sleep?
7.5 hours a night consistently.
Q: Can you recommend any natural ways to help catch some ZZZZ’s?
I recommend taking a warm bath or shower before bed to lower your core body temperature. Turn off all electronics two hours before bedtime and try not to watch the clock.
Q: What is the ideal sleep environment?
Cool and dark is the best. Make sure you feel comfortable.
Q: Is technology damaging our sleep habits, and if so, how can we correct these habits?
Yes, technology can be interfering with our sleep. I tell my patients to turn off electronic devices two hours before bedtime. Using our screens before bed is giving our brains too much stimulation and making it harder to fall asleep.
Q: What are the most common health problems caused by not getting enough sleep?
Hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. There is a clear link between poor sleep habits and overall poor health.
Q: What would be your best advice to young adults who are in college or even new to the workforce that are not making sleep a priority?
Not giving your body the rest it needs will actually interfere with your overall performance. Not getting proper rest can lead to you making bad choices, it can also put you at risk while driving.
Q: At what point should someone seek help from a Doctor for their sleep problems?
Seek medical help if you snore or have trouble breathing while sleeping. Also, seek medical attention if you feel like you have insomnia and need sleep aids or have a significant Starbucks habit.
Q: What would you say is the biggest reward for making sleep a priority?
People forget that your mood is easily affected by your quality of sleep. Get enough sleep more constantly each night and you might see a big improvement in your mood. Also, alertness is a big reward for making sleep a priority. We all function better when we are more alert and can make sound and wise decisions.
I was so thankful that Dr. Kiljeet Gill from Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group took the time to talk to me and even more thankful that she never mentioned the consumption of wine and how that could possibly interfere with better sleep, even though I already know the answer to that question. Insert sad face here.
So, after talking to Dr. Gill I started doing my own online research to see how many people struggle with sleep in our country. The huffingtonpost.com (find the direct link below) had an article about this that was shocking. It says more than one-third of U.S adults don’t get enough sleep! Take a look at this bar graph they made to show us how many hours Americans average a night.
That is a tremendous amount of people who lack sleep. I wanted to dig deeper into my own group of friends on Facebook to see why they are not getting their 8 hours of sleep. Hopefully you can relate to these answers. They mentioned Kids, Caffeine, hard time staying asleep, bladder issues, health problems, making other tasks a priority over sleeping, insomnia, Netflix, noisy neighbors, worry about work, wanting to enjoy the quiet after the kids go to bed, stress, catching up on housework, and a snoring spouse, to name a few. Forget about those scary scenes of a zombie apocalypse, we already are a bunch of sleepless zombies just trying to make it through life.
Where do we go from here? We all have legit reasons why we don’t get the proper amount of sleep. Well, the pillows.com team wants to encourage you to make sleep a priority in 2018, add 8 hours of sleep to your goal of getting healthier this year.
Health.com gave us 11 surprising health benefits of sleep:
- Sleep improves memory
- Getting enough sleep makes you live longer
- Sleep curbs inflammation
- It spurs creativity
- It makes you a stronger competitor
- Sleep gives you the attention, alertness and sharp memory you need to get better grades
- Healthy weight
- Sleep lessens stress
- Sleeps helps to avoid accidents and depression.
We all want these things! Let’s not sacrifice our sleep and our health for things that don’t bring us health and joy. Keep these benefits of better sleep in your mind when you pass on going to that party, watching that last episode, or drinking that 4 pm coffee. Exercise, eat well, and SLEEP, that is the magic combination for a healthier YOU! So, add sleep to your new year goals and go ahead and snooze, your body will thank you!
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.