photo of lady in bed sleeping with dog who is awake

My review of the Panda Life Memory Foam Pillow after a 7 day test ride: It’s worth the money

By Jason Wooden, PhD | June 17, 2022

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My quest for better sleep…

This isn’t one of those articles where you’re going to get a top to bottom review of a bunch of products side by side.

What it’s really about is my ongoing quest to sleep better with nagging neck and shoulder pain.

If you’re like me and the millions of others who suffer from pain at night, you’re always on the lookout for more ways to get relief.

The other nagging issue I deal with at night is obstructive sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder which leaves you in the morning feeling as if you haven’t slept at all.

I have one of those CPAP machines which has been a big help but it’s far from perfect.

I’m always on the lookout for options to help with preventing “breakthrough” sleep apnea on the nights when something is off with my setup.

So, that’s what I’m up against and why I’m on a quest.

What’s worse is that because of the shoulder pain I’m no longer able to sleep in my natural position as a side sleeper.  I’ve been doing everything I can think of including pain meds but anything that can make sleeping on my back easier could mean more restful nights.

I know from past experience the right pillow can make a big difference for how you feel when you wake up in the morning.

We’ve all awaken in the morning with a crook in the neck due to sleeping in an odd position.  However, that’s not the only way a pillow can be your friend or an enemy.

There’s too much at stake not to do everything you can to get the best possible sleep every night…

Okay, there’s currently a global pandemic in which every night one in three people struggle with poor sleep.

It’s taken a back seat to everything else that’s going on in the world but we’re paying the cost for it even if it’s not on the nightly news.

And it’s not as simple as waking up feeling miserable and dragging throughout the day.

Sleep deprived people don’t think as clearly, have a harder time coping, and they’re more moody.  They also perform more poorly in school or on the job.

Would you believe being sleep-deprived has the same effect on your brain as being drunk?

Over the long-term, poor sleep can increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, depression, and dementia.

That’s pretty high stakes .

Anything you can do to make your nights easier is definitely worth a try even if it’s trying out a different pillow.

Why I decided to give the Panda memory foam pillow a try

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been doing everything I can think of but I’m always on the lookout for alternatives.

So far, my pain management quest has involved medications, dietary changes, physical therapy, exercise, and cold packs for flareups.

They’ve all helped but things are still far from where I want them to be.  Also, there’s the downsides from long-term use of pain meds which is another reason I’m interested in natural remedies.

It was time to take another look at my bed support.  After all, we spend a third of our lives in bed.

photo of anti-snoring pillow

I’ve gotten mixed results with this anti-snoring pillow I bought online

I’ve played around with different types of pillows over the years, but this would be my first ride with a memory foam pillow.

The idea behind these pillows is that they mold to your head, neck, and shoulder. 

This is thought to support a more natural position and help relieve pressure.

It may also help keep your head aligned with your neck which means a more open airway, a big plus for snoring and sleep apnea prevention.  

A recent study involving 32 sleep apnea patients found that a memory foam pillow could help with snoring.

As far as memory foam pillows go, I was intrigued about the Panda memory foam pillow for several reasons:

  • It’s made with 3rd generation memory foam technology, gel particles designed to reduce trapped body heat and give a softer feel.
  • The pillow cover is breathable and made with 40% bamboo fiber, a sustainable source material great for the environment.
  • It’s hypoallergenic, a major plus for the millions of allergies sufferers.
  • They offer a 30-night trial and a 10-year guarantee.

Do a quick search online and you’ll see plenty of reviews, mainly positive.

That was more than enough for me to give it a try.

I’ve never tried a memory foam pillow before, so I was excited to see what would happen.

My seven-day test of the Panda Life Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow

My pillow arrived on my doorstep nicely double packed in a Panda pillow box.

photo of Panda pillow double boxed
photo of Panda pillow inside the inner box

Unpacking it, I saw that it was firm but soft with a cool design.

photo of Panda plillow unboxed showing cool design

The other thing I noticed right away was that there wasn’t that new pillow odor.  In the past, I’ve had to air out a new store bought pillow for days.

The pillow case is removable for washing, a must have for me.

photo of Panda pilow showing cover unzipped

Below you can see the Panda pillow side by side with my old pillow that I’m most comfortable with.  It’s higher but I would soon find out that wouldn’t be an issue.

photo of anti-snoring pillow

Unpacked and on the bed, I was ready to start my 7 night test.

It took me a couple nights to get used to it. The feel was different than any other pillow I’ve had.

You should also know that it takes a minute or so for the pillow to contour to your body.

However, after settling a bit, it worked as advertised.  My head felt snugly aligned with the rest of the body and I was comfortable throughout the night.

It didn’t aggravate my neck and shoulder pain as some pillows do.

As the week went on, I got more used to it.

As far as my sleep apnea, I didn’t notice it being any better or worse.  However, keep in mind this was not a scientific test and my main interest is in finding a pillow that can be a complement to my sleep apnea and pain management.

Given the more ergonomic feel of the Panda pillow, I feel that I accomplished that.

So, after 7 nights, I would say my experience was positive and I feel the Panda pillow is a great way to support healthy sleep.

My wife decided to give the pillow a try and I haven’t been able to use it since…

Okay, this is where things got interesting.

My wife saw how much I was liking the Panda pillow and asked if she could try it out for a couple of nights.

Her main sleep challenges are staying comfortable throughout the night, stiffness and soreness in the morning, and seasonal allergies.

She’s a side sleeper and currently uses a stack of three pillows as shown below.

She was curious whether the Panda pillow would make a difference for her so she tried it out double-stacked.

So, how did it go?

She really liked it.

“If I was shopping for a pillow in the store, I wouldn’t necessarily choose this because I’ve never tried firm before.  Now that I’ve used it I can’t imagine sleeping without it.”

(And she hasn’t…)

She found it had just the right amount of support.  Even though it’s a bit firmer than a pillow she would normally use, it still was soft and comfortable enough.

And the fact that Panda pillow was hypoallergenic and washable was a definite plus for her.

My verdict: It’s definitely worth the money

If you’re looking for something simple that can a make a difference for your sleep, the Panda memory foam pillow is definitely worth a try.

Keep in mind that if super soft is your preference, this may not be the pillow for you.  However, my wife who normally uses softer pillows was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it felt.

The memory foam really does a great job of molding to your head to create a snug fit.

So, again, the things I liked:

  • minimal odor out the box
  • cool design
  • hypoallergenic pillow cover made from bamboo fiber
  • washable cover
  • 30-night trial, 10-year guarantee

One thing I wish they would do for newbies like me is to include some basic tips for getting the most out of a memory foam pillow.

You know…do you use it any differently if you’re a side, back, or stomach sleeper?

Is it okay if it overlaps your shoulder?

How best to combine it with other pillows?

Through a little trial and error, I found that having the pillow bottom flush with my shoulders worked best for me.  It would be good to know whether that was the best placement.

Despite this, it was worth the money.

I’ve found a natural remedy that help with my pain and sleep apnea management which means better sleep for me at night.

So, what’s next for me?

I have to get my hands on another Panda pillow as it’s now clear I’m not getting the original back from my wife.

How to get your hands on a Panda memory foam pillow

In the UK, you can get it online directly through their website:
https://mypandalife.com/product/bamboo-memory-foam-pillow/

In other countries, you can get it online from Amazon:
United Kingdom
United States

Sources:

1. Estimation of the global prevalence and burden of obstructive sleep apnoea: a literature-based analysis. Lancet Respir Med. 2019 Aug;7(8):687-698.

2. “Talking Points”, World Sleep Society website

3. “Sleep Deprivation Has The Same Effect as Drinking Too Much, Says Study”, 2017, Science Alert

4. Memory Foam Pillow as an Intervention in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome: A Preliminary Randomized Study. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 Mar 9;9:842224.

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