Latex vs. Memory Foam Pillows
Wondering whether your ideal pillow is made with latex or memory foam? We’re comparing both materials to help you decide which one will give you the support you need for your dreamiest night’s sleep.
|Memory Foam Pillows||Latex Pillows|
|Material||Synthetic polyurethane||Natural or synthetic|
Soft and impressionable
|Bouncy and responsive|
Slow to respond
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam is a synthetic material made of polyurethane foam. The material is soft, doughy, and supportive with a signature “sunken” sensation. It typically traps heat, though, so it’s not the best pick for hot sleepers.
Memory foam is naturally cradling and supportive. It’s also pressure-relieving because it contours so deeply, supporting and aligning common sore points, including the neck, to minimize aches and pains.
One of the biggest drawbacks to memory foam is its tendency to retain heat. That characteristic means it’s not a great choice for hot sleepers.
Combination sleepers who tend to switch positions on the pillow throughout the night may find memory foam pillows lacking as well, since they’re slow to respond. If you roll from your back to your side, or vice versa, memory foam pillows can take a little time to catch up. That can be disruptive to your sleep.
Who it’s best for
Memory foam pillows are a great option for sleepers in need of pressure relief, especially if you’re dealing with neck pain. The contouring nature of memory foam delivers the cushioning support you need for proper alignment.
Couples will find memory foam pillows also work well to stifle motion, which means less disruption if your partner is a restless sleeper.
People who prefer soft, doughy pillows that you can really sink into will find memory foam a great option, particularly if you have a preferred sleeping position and don’t move around much at night.
Latex is a natural material made from the sap of rubber trees. It’s processed into a bouncy, rubber-like material that is naturally cool and supportive. Latex is also available in a synthetic form.
If you’re researching latex pillows, you’ll likely run into two different types of latex: Talalay and Dunlop. Talalay latex is softer and more pressure-relieving, while Dunlop latex is firmer and more durable.
Latex is a hypoallergenic pick, and it’s resistant to both fungus and mildew. That makes it one of the safest, cleanest materials you can choose for a pillow. It has a naturally buoyant feel, which means you feel like you’re supported on top of the pillow instead of in it.
Latex doesn’t have the same contouring effect that memory foam delivers, so while it does relieve pressure, it may not do so quite as deeply. Some people also find that latex pillows have a bit of an odor initially, but this typically fades over time.
Who it’s best for
Those with nighttime allergies will find latex a great option because it won’t trigger common allergies. It’s also a good pick if maintaining a clean sleep environment, with no dust mites, fungus, or mold is a priority.
Hot sleepers will also benefit from latex, which is naturally cooling and doesn’t trap body heat. People who like the sensation of feeling supported on top of their pillow, instead of sinking into it, should also enjoy the feel of latex.
Memory Foam vs. Latex Pillows: Similarities
While these are different materials, memory foam and latex pillows do have a few things in common. Both deliver high-density support to the head and neck for comfortable, pain-free sleep.
They’re also a more durable option than common pillow materials like down or down alternatives, which means you can expect a longer lifespan.
If you prefer your bedding to be as low maintenance as possible, good news – both materials naturally hold their shape well, which means no fluffing is needed.
Memory Foam vs. Latex Pillows: Differences
Despite their similarities, there are a few fundamental differences between these two materials. Latex is available in both natural and synthetic forms, but memory foam will always be a synthetic material.
The feel of these pillows is different, too. Memory foam is slow to respond, with a soft, doughy sensation that really sinks in. Latex is responsive, with a buoyant, bouncy feel that keeps you on top of the pillow and not sunk into it. Finally, memory foam has a tendency to trap heat, while latex is naturally cooling.
Popular Memory Foam Pillows
- Brooklinen Marlow Pillow. This pillow is designed to be adjusted via zipper. It combines memory foam and polyester fiber for a great balance of support and comfort.
- Nectar Resident Pillow. This popular pick has a pillow-in-pillow design. Sleepers can add or remove some of the filling to adjust firmness for a truly customized feel.
Popular Latex Pillows
- Avocado Molded Latex Pillow. This pillow is tailor-made for those who prefer a firmer feel for deep neck support. It’s available in three sizes and best suited to back and side sleepers.
- Saatva Latex Pillow. This plush latex pillow combines shredded latex with a removable inner pillow for responsive, breathable support. It’s available in two sizes.
Frequently asked questions
Is latex better than memory foam for back pain?
Both materials can be a good option for sleepers with back pain, but sleeping position and mattress firmness will play a big role in what feels best to the individual. Some sleepers find the buoyant support of latex relieves back pain, while others need the pressure relief that memory foam delivers for relief.
Are latex pillows good for neck pain?
Latex pillows can be a great option for easing neck pain. The material is cushioning and supportive for proper alignment, which means fewer aches and pains. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting too hot.
Memory foam and latex are popular materials for pillows, thanks to the support and comfort they deliver. Memory foam is a soft, pressure-relieving synthetic that’s deeply contouring, but it can retain heat. Latex is a natural material with a responsive, buoyant feel. It’s naturally cooling and hypoallergenic, but it doesn’t have the cradling feel of memory foam.
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