Monday, July 18, 2005

Awful Peed-On Pillows

I have done it - finally got myself one of those swanky memory-foam, NASA approved pillows that are supposed to take all your aches and pains away and give you the most peaceful sleep you've ever had in your entire life.

Being a tightwad (Capricorn, of course), I didn't pay full price. I'd advise anyone who wants one to try to get it for less than full price, especially if you are on benefits. We didn't plan to go bargaining for expensive pillows, we merely stumbled on the solution, but it happened to work - and best of all fitted in with my habit of not paying full price for anything if I can possibly avoid it.

We were having a little trip out to cost bedroom furniture for our new bungalow (dunno if it's going to happen yet, but fingers crossed). The bed showroom had those memory foam products, so we tried the beds, the pillows, the toppers - the lot. I've been hankering after this stuff because it sounds gadgety and wonderful - but there's the rub.

The saleswoman came over with a little demonstration kit designed to show how memory foam is different from the ordinary stuff. She dropped a small heavy metal ball onto a small piece of ordinary foam. It bounced several times and rolled around a bit. When she dropped it on the memory foam, it stopped dead. Didn't even move the tinest bit. This was good, she told us - it showed how absorbing and cushioning the foam was.

Good? Unfortunately, when we tried the mattress, our arses did the same. Didn't appear to be able to move easily on the foam. At all. Undignified pushing and sinking occurred. It negated your every effort to move, slowing you down and absorbing the effort as you tried to push yourself to the edge of the bed. Oof. Y'see, thats the reason why they claim you don't move around as much in the night - it's not just because you're comfy - it's because unless your body put in a herculean effort that would wake you up - you bloody well can't.

Thank god I didn't just order one of these things based on the marketing guff. Didn't they ever think it might be a consideration for the same people it was aimed at? Those who have painful joints who want to make life easier in the first place? I'm sure super-fit astronauts had no trouble, especially in zero gravity, but reality has a bad habit of happening here on planet earth, especially to crips who listen to marketing claims. My niggly hip cursed me as I tried gracefully to heave myself off the bed without showing my pants.

We tried the pillows. They were better. The 'classic' shape was ok. It was like a 'normal' pillow - not those horrid weird shapes that are supposed to fit into your neck and give you the ultimate position. That's a rip as well. In vain I've tried those pillows that have this 'core support' inside- basically a couple of hard lumps of another type of foam... Mr F has taken to called them "awful peed-on pillows" rather than say 'orthopedic' pillow because of these bitter disappointments.

We decided to get one of the classic memory foam pillows anyway. The remaining shred of gullability in my soul for this comfort-promised land overtook me. Like the matresses, the pillow was heavy and solid feeling. The saleswoman went to get a new one - we had tried a demonstration model - and she commented it felt much lighter than the test one. We all had a feel. It was. These pillows are made from what the manufacturor calls 'shredded foam'. It appeared every other pillow other than the tester was sort of lumpy, with loose covers and uneven-looking. We started edging away until my bargain-lust kicked in and I asked if she would sell us the demonstration pillow for a discount.

Whereupon she did. If you want one of these (eeeek - expensive) pillows, then try it. Prod all the others, proclaim the display one is the only comfy one, and say the magic 'D' word. Ten per cent is about right but if the discount is less than a fiver, wheel away.

I have to say I like this pillow (I will be in trouble if I reject it), but it isn't what I expected it to be. It is heavy, and after putting your head on to it, you sink into the foam for a few seconds afterwards, giving a weird feeling of involuntary movement. If you turn your head, the foam behind it takes a few seconds to follow. Stupidly, but perhaps expectedly, I'd got the feeling of lightness and airiness from the marketing - not the unwieldiness and heavy density of the actual product.

Even if I wake up with an aching neck, I am still trying to convince myself that it is on a journey to re-educate itself on good posture, aided - not thwarted - by the Rolls-Royce of the pillow world. It is only aching because it has never had it so good, and it must adapt for the sake of gaining something better than it had before.

But here I fear the concept of 'better' may be subjective - by around 50 quid...

15 comments:

Timmargh said...

I got given one of the "pressure relief memory foam" mattress toppers and I, too, had trouble moving on it - my procedure for getting in and out of bed involves sidling about halfway along the bed before performing the leg-swinging action but I could barely move on the foam.

Katie said...

Hi Fang, I could do with one of those mattresses, they sound really relaxing. This morning I woke up stiff, but I have a pillow that is a pressure relief one to my back( supposedly!), neck.

Try my blog; www.personaleyeview.blogspot.com

Katja said...

We bought the whole mattress.

Yes, it's comfy. No, it's not the answer to all your problems - I still have plenty of lower back pain, thanks.

I have the same problem you've described - there's so much resistance to movement that it's a real challenge to turn over or transfer off this thing.

Lastly, it's warm - it really holds the heat. This might be good for some folks, but not so good for me with MS.

Agent Fang said...

I don't think I'll ever learn to be suspicious of hype when it comes to pain relief. Du-oh. Timmargh and Katja did you keep your topper/mattress in the end? I could just imagine waking up either being very sore or not having the strength to move when very fatigued. Not to mention poor movement perception (especially after a few drinks)!

We tried a water bed whilst we were there... I liked it a lot despite there being a hard bit at the side as you climb off. It might be a late entry on the 'toys' wish list... Seemed to be supportive but you could move around without any restrictions. Each side had temperature controls too. ;0)

Katja said...

Yes, we kept it. It's not any *worse* than my old, old mattress with the body-shaped dents in it, and it is pretty comfortable. When it's time to buy another mattress (hopefully in 5 or 10 years!) we'll reconsider again.

kezzykat said...

Ok Af,
I am goona sound REALLY sad and bad now. I got so sore on night this last week that I took the pressure cushion off my w/chair and used THAT for a pillow


:)

K

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Belinda Gwen said...

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Belinda Gwen said...

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Belinda Gwen said...

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bruce said...

It's been 2 months since I bought my first memory foam mattress, and I absolutely love it! I don't think it was this blog, but it was reading something like this that convinced me to buying one. I was originally concerned that it would make me too hot after reading some article about how memory foam is an insulator - but to be honest I've not noticed any difference, have you?