Memory foam vs feather pillows - which makes the best sleep surface?
Read our comparison and guide to choose the right pillow for you.
Memory Foam Pillows
Firstly, what are memory foam pillows made of? Memory foam is a viscoelastic material that softens slightly on contact with body heat and pressure, springing back to its original form when not in use.
Made from a mix of water and safe chemicals, polyurethane foam was first created to cushion astronauts during lift-off, making this a highly durable and supportive material.
What are Feather Pillows Made of?
Feather pillows are most commonly stuffed with the exterior feathers from duck, geese and other waterfowl.
Down pillows contain duck or goose feathers taken from the softer, underlayer of feathers, resulting in a softer, more luxurious pillow.
Benefits of Foam Pillows
Memory foam works fantastically as a pillow material thanks to its pressure-relieving properties and tailored support.
Memory foam pillow benefits include;
Supports your Head and Neck
As you lay your head on a memory foam pillow, it moulds to the shape of your head, neck and shoulders, providing a personalised sleep surface to fully support your upper body. No matter your sleep style, a memory foam pillow does all the hard work when it comes to finding a comfortable sleeping position.
Hypoallergenic for Allergy Sufferers
If you suffer from allergies, memory foam is a great solution. The dense, tightly-packed structure of the foam forms a barrier against dust mites, dead skin particles and other creepie crawlies to help you get a hygienic night’s sleep.
Memory foam provides a smooth, cushioning surface to rest your head at the end of the day. Say goodbye to lumps and bumps, as memory foam retains its shape and consistency for many years.
Memory foam is a durable material and lasts much longer than other pillow types - 24 to 36 months if cared for properly!
Reduces Snoring and Sleep Apnea
By allowing your head, neck, shoulders and spine to rest in a healthy, natural alignment, memory foam can help to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring.
If this is an issue for you, try using a memory foam wedge pillow to elevate your upper body slightly and open up your airways as you sleep. Sleeping this way can even help to alleviate symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn and back pain.
Helps to Ease Back Pain
By encouraging natural spinal alignment and providing cushioning around pressure points, memory foam can relieve back and joint pain at night.
An orthopaedic memory foam pillow provides the right balance between comfort and support, helping to ease tension in the neck and spine.
Things to Watch Out For
Before buying a memory foam pillow, consider the following;
- If you like to pummel your pillow into shape, a memory foam pillow may not be for you. Memory foam will always return to its original shape (albeit slowly) so if you want a very soft and squishy pillow, look elsewhere
- Some memory foam can retain heat - however, the latest advances in foam technology have resulted in cooling open-cell foam that’s suitable for hot sleepers. Be sure to choose a cooling memory foam pillow if this sounds like you!
- If you sleep on your front, you may be better off choosing a slimmer pillow to minimise any arching in your lower spine
Benefits of Feather Pillows
So, what about feathers? Goose and duck feather pillows have their own set of benefits;
Lightweight & Soft
If you prefer a lightweight pillow that’s soft and squishy, then feather might be more up your street. However, down pillows are superior! Down pillows can provide a comfortable sleep surface that feels luxurious.
Feather filled pillows are breathable, helping to keep you cool during the night.
Drawbacks of Feather and Down Pillows
Feather pillows are not without their drawbacks, consider the following before you buy;
Lack of Support
Feather pillows do not provide the same level of support as foam. If you suffer from aches, pains and tension in your neck, shoulder or back, this type of pillow may not provide adequate support.
Not Suitable for Allergy Sufferers
For people with asthma and other allergies to dust and dust mites, a feather pillow may not be the best choice. Dust can easily build up within the pillow, leading to allergy flare-ups and disrupted sleep.
It almost goes without saying that feather pillows (containing duck, goose or waterfowl feathers) are not free from animal products! If you’re vegan or concerned about the use of animal products in your purchases, opt for a man-made material instead.
Require Regular Plumping
To maintain shape, feather pillows require regular fluffing to prevent the feathers from clumping into lumps and bumps. One more bedtime chore most of us could do without!
Feathers Can Poke Out Over Time
Over time, feathers can start to poke out from the fabric cover, tickling or scratching your face and head while you sleep - that’s not what we call a relaxing night’s slumber!
Memory Foam vs Down Pillow
While down pillows are slightly more luxurious than standard feather pillows, you can expect similar advantages and disadvantages as outlined above. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference - do you like your pillow to be very soft and squishy or more supportive and cushioning?
Find the Best Memory Foam Pillow For You
Looking for a pillow that solves all your sleep issues and requirements? We’re here to help...
Best Pillow for Side Sleepers
If you mostly sleep on your side, a contour memory foam pillow could be the answer to a good night’s sleep.
The curved shape provides a cradle for your head and neck and helps to maintain the natural curve of your spine when on your side. A contour memory foam pillow mirrors your shape, relieving any pressure on your shoulders.
Best Pillow for Hot Sleepers
If you tend to overheat at night, choose a pillow with cooling sleep technology built-in. The 4G Aircool memory foam pillow features breathable, open-cell foam and a Coolmax cover that helps to regulate body temperature and is washing machine friendly too.
Best Pillow for Neck and Back Pain
The right pillow can do wonders for upper body pain. Look for an orthopaedic pillow such as the 4G Aircool memory foam medical pillow. This pillow is made from chambers filled with polyester and a high-density medical grade memory foam core, as chosen and endorsed by the NHS.
Advanced pressure mapping technology provides unparalleled head and neck support where you need it most.
Find your perfect match - explore all of our quality memory foam pillows to suit all budgets and preferences.