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Up until recent times many experts insisted that pillows should be made of feathers or latex, and your mattress should be firm.
Those professionals were probably thinking along reasonable lines because the option, synthetic foam, had a cheap and nasty image.
Back then, foam mattresses bottomed out quickly and failed to support the body under the load areas of the shoulders and hips, and foam pillows also suffered from the same fate, because some foam producers continued to produce on price and subsequently the densities were low grade and the foam quickly collapsed.
Remember the cheap foam 'caravan' mattresses that would collapse in weeks under the body's load areas, failed to encourage the natural curvature of the spine during sleep, and thus promoted poor sleep posture.
Well, those days have long gone as foam technology has allowed producers to now make luxury-grade foam densities that continue to support the body, in comfort, for year after year after year.
Quite simply, you get what you pay for with synthetic foam, and the more you pay the better the ongoing support and comfort.
In fact a rule of thumb when selecting a mattress or foam pillow is its weight.The heavier it is, the better the quality, and the longer it will last.
More recently foam has thrust itself into the space age with memory foam (generic name visco elastic foam) which contains remarkable pressure diffusion properties to lessen and spread the load to the body's pressure points.Foam technology has indeed come a long way!
Remember the days of the roll-up futon which was all the rage, particularly for students who could 'take it anywhere'!The futon was all hype ... too firm, usually natural fillings such as moisture-absorbing cotton which harboured allergenic matter such as dust mites, and it was like a rock to sleep on.No give where it counted.A recipe for creating a bad back!
Then there were the mattress makers of a decade ago who said that firm was where it was at.It was simply an advertising ploy to get you to trade in your old mattress and buy a new one from them.
'Hard' was actually bad news, as just like the futon the mattress it didn't give where it needed to ... under the shoulders and hips ... and your body would never settle and be quite simply fighting the mattress through the night.Result: A restless sleep and a sore back!
Those days have now long gone of course as health therapists such as chiropractors, osteopaths, and physiotherapists have worked with mattress makers to ensure that the mattress gives where it should, but still provides ongoing support where it is needed.
And this can be done with a combination of different densities and grades to produce the ideal platform to sleep on.Foam technology has certainly advanced!
Of course there is an alternative to shelling out a fortune on a high-end mattress, and that is the mattress topper which sits under your bottom sheet and over your mattress, and spreads the load evenly.
These toppers, usually around 5cm thick, are available in memory foam, natural latex, or convoluted egg foam.One is virtually as good as the other, and so long as you pay the extra and get a good quality one (you can usually tell quality by how much you pay!) then it will give you years of pressure dispersion joy and avoid you paying thousands for a new mattress.
Fortunately technology has also been at the forefront of latex in particular, and the old days when producers used to put fillers such as clay into latex has virtually long gone!
Remember the days when your latex pillow would turn to crumb?No more! Technology now is so finite that densities and softness/hardness degrees are accurate to within a few percent, and your latex pillow will probably now last you a lifetime.But don't fall for the trap of paying too little for your latex pillow ... it may be full of fillers as a substitute for the real thing!
And feathers?They have a place, particularly in pillows for 'feather lovers' ... but the problem is that they groove through the night under the body’s load and you subsequently lack the support where you need it.
Re plumping gets it back, but it is a consideration nevertheless when you are at point of purchase that you remember that feathers will 'groove'. Super soft is not always best and the rule for good posture through the night is to spread load evenly ...A pillow should support the neck and cradle the head, and a mattress depress under the body's load areas such as hips and shoulders and ankles.
Sleep technology has come a long way since the days of collapsing or crumbing mattresses and pillows.
It's all good, but look carefully, scrutinise, and be sure that the foam in particular, no matter traditional foam or memory foam, is made in Australia.
Our technology for bedding products is vastly superior to that of any country or region.It must have something to do with being 'Down Under'!