Latex is a natural polymer derived from plants and trees although it can also be synthesised. When latex is used as a pillow filling, it is foamed to create a matrix of tiny inter-connected bubbles which give it bounce and spring. This latex sponge is very reactive to pressure, but unlike memory foam it has instant bounce-back so is very good for back and neck problems as latex relieves pressure when sleeping (see video below).
It is generally sold as a memory foam competitor though in reality it offers different properties and a different experience to memory foam. The good news is that much latex is now produced sustainably, from latex rubber tree plantations, so is potentially more environmentally friendly pillow filling option than memory foam or synthetic fillings.
Generally latex pillows don’t give that ‘sinking in feeling’ you can get with memory foam, it also has better moisture and heat dissipation properties than memory foam. Latex pillows are also good as orthopaedic pillows as they offer great support for neck pain and are also great for allergy sufferers as they prohibit dust mites. The downside is that you can’t shape them to fit, you’re stuck with the fixed height.
UK latex pillows
The best known manufacturers of UK latex pillows is Dunlopillo – sold through John Lewis and other department stores. They also now have developed pillows which have added softness, so give you a little bit of ‘sinking in’ but then have a supportive middle section which keeps its shape – we’ve reviewed a good one here – the Serenity Deluxe latex pillow (my husband is currently happily sleeping on it – Suzie, ed.)! But also put a video below which shows you the supportive nature of a latex pillow.
Pillow advisor summary: Latex pillows have some of the highest satisfaction ratings of all pillows and can offer you a very comfortable pain-free night, but make sure you buy one of the right height for you. Not for you if you like a lighter, mouldable pillow though. We have reviewed some of the best latex pillows available in the UK here : Orthopaedic pillow reviews.
- Pros: Very long lasting natural material, cooler and more airy than memory foam, shapes itself to the head and neck. Soft and supportive offering effective pressure relief, holds its shape well, quiet
- Cons: Can be expensive, heavy, fixed shape and height so if a pillow is not right you can’t adjust it, can smell strange to begin with.