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Sleep quality is one of the most important factors in a person’s overall health. A pillow that provides comfort and support can make a big difference.
Other factors to consider when buying pillows include sustainability of the materials, breathability, and whether they are hypoallergenic.
Here we discuss the benefits of latex pillows and list five of the best available for purchase, plus a few alternatives.
Manufacturers produce pillows using various materials, ranging from the traditional, such as synthetic materials and feathers, to the more modern, including polyurethane (PU) foam, gel, and latex.
Latex is a natural substance that comes from the sap of rubber trees. People consider it sustainable because it needs little resources for it to grow.
Manufacturers sometimes combine pure latex with fillers, such as PU foam and chemicals, to make pillows and mattresses. The result is synthetic latex.
However, the most sustainable products contain 100% natural latex, which carry a higher price tag.
Companies often market latex as an alternative to memory foam. However, it is slightly less spongy than memory foam and springs back much faster. Latex also dissipates moisture and heat better than memory foam.
Solid latex pillows retain their height and shape, so a person cannot compress or mold them to suit their sleeping position. Pillows with a shredded latex filling are easier to mold into an individual’s desired shape.
Many latex pillows offer suitable back and neck support while helping ease pain. They may also provide several other health benefits and advantages.
- Easing certain neck conditions: One study found that an ergonomic latex pillow helped people with cervical spondylosis. However, it is unclear whether the latex itself made much difference to participants’ health outcomes.
- Suiting people with allergies: Latex pillows are also resistant to dust mites, making them a suitable choice for around 20 million people in the United States with a dust mite allergy. Latex is also antimicrobial and resistant to mold and mildew. Understandably, people with a latex allergy should also avoid using latex pillows.
- Fewer toxic substances: Latex pillows are less toxic than memory foam alternatives. Synthetic latex may emit volatile organic compounds because it contains PU foam and other synthetic materials.
Some people are allergic to latex, do not like how it smells, or do not wish to pay a higher price for latex pillows.
Below we list alternative pillow materials. Each has a different feel and may suit the needs of different sleepers.
PU foam and memory foam
PU foam and memory foam pillows provide a “sinking in” feeling and contour to the shape of a sleeper’s head and neck.
They take a while to spring back into shape, so they may not suit people who change their head position frequently throughout the night.
Feathers and down
Feather and down pillows are compressible and moldable, so people can adjust them to give support where they need it.
The “sinking in” feeling they provide can be a disadvantage for people who prefer their pillow to retain its shape.
People refer to synthetic pillows as hollow-fiber, microfiber, or polyester pillows, and they are generally the cheapest pillows on the market.
They are soft and compressible, and a person can fold them in half to give extra support. However, Synthetic pillows may not have a long lifespan because the filling tends to clump together when washed, which can make it lose its shape.
Gel pillows offer cooling properties. Manufacturers make them by integrating PU foam with gel or placing separate layers of gel and foam together.
Other pillow materials
Pillows can come in many other materials, including:
Here are five latex pillow options for those looking to improve their comfort and spinal alignment during sleep.
Please note, the writer has not tested these products. All information is research-based.
Organic Textiles Talalay Hypoallergenic Latex Pillow
Organic Textiles have designed this pillow specifically for side sleepers.
It is filled with 100% natural Talalay latex and covered with an organic cotton cover.
Its pinhole design allows air to circulate to help a person stay cool.
The pillow is 5.5 inches (14 centimeters) thick and compresses to 1.5–2.5 in (3.8–6.4 cm).
PlushBeds Shredded Natural Latex Pillow
This eco-friendly pillow features 100% natural shredded latex.
A person can mold it to suit their sleep position without the filling shifting or clumping.
The shredded latex filling also makes the pillow more lightweight than solid latex versions.
This pillow is available in three sizes, including standard, queen, and king.
Latex for Less Pillow
Latex for Less offer a choice of solid or shredded latex pillows in three sizes. These are among the more affordable latex pillows.
People who prefer a lightweight, cooling, and moldable pillow may wish to choose the shredded model.
In contrast, those looking for firm neck and head support might find the solid option more comfortable.
Birch by Helix Organic Pillow
This pillow uses only eco-friendly, natural, and organic materials sourced ethically and sustainably.
The pillow’s core is shredded Talalay latex from Southeast Asia.
An organic wool layer wraps around the core, which adds plushness and wicks away moisture.
The outer cover is 100% organic cotton with a soft, plush surface.
Sleep Artisan Side Sleeper Pillow
Sleep Artisan have filled this pillow with shredded latex, while its cover is a blend of cotton, polyester, and hemp.
This pillow has a zip-up cover that allows people to remove some of the filling to reduce the pillow’s loft.
Its curved design supports the neck to help reduce muscle strain. However, one drawback of this feature is that it will not fit a standard pillowcase. To remedy this, a person can buy matching pillowcases separately from Sleep Artisan.
Latex is a suitable option for anyone looking for a supportive, long-lasting, eco-friendly pillow. However, their high cost is a substantial drawback.
Here are some alternatives to consider.
Bamboo pillows, such as the Xtreme Comforts Bamboo Pillow, offer eco-friendly properties, including latex, but with a lower price tag.
Wool pillows offer temperature regulation throughout the seasons. However, wool pillows can be difficult to wash.
Pillows, such as Organic Lifestyle’s Natural Wool Pillow, provide softness and support.
Memory foam pillows
Memory foam pillows, such as those that Milemont offer, provide similar support to latex and are available in numerous shapes, sizes, and lofts.
The materials the company use are cheaper, which makes them more affordable. However, the environmental cost of memory foam pillows is higher.
Latex pillows are a suitable option for people who prefer an eco-friendly pillow that offers long-lasting durability.
Although they come with a higher price tag, they may be good value over the long term. For people with latex allergies, or those put off by the smell of the material, there are plenty of alternatives available.