When most people picture a pillow in their mind, they probably picture a white, fluffy, down-filled object. But recent changes to the technology used to manufacture pillows may force many to change their perception of the ideal, or typical, pillow. Memory foam pillows have been growing in popularity in recent years, as sleepers have enjoyed the many benefits they offer.
Originally developed by NASA, this high-density foam conforms to the shape of anything that puts pressure on it, and temporarily holds the indentation for a brief time after the object’s removal. For example, if you were to press your hand into memory foam and remove it, you would see the shape of your hand in the foam for a moment before the foam bounced back, or recovered. Because of its density, memory foam is also relatively heavy.
Our favorite memory foam pillows of 2015
Here are our 7 favorite memory foam pillows, keep reading beyond the table for more tips on how to pick the pillows that will be right for you.
In pillow form, then, memory foam has a unique ability to provide even support to all parts of the sleeper’s head and neck. This prevents uneven pressure in any area of the neck, preventing soreness that can sometimes happen when uneven support forces the neck into a misaligned position. Because it conforms to the shape of the head and neck, memory foam helps to hold the spine and neck in proper alignment. For this reason, memory foam pillows are often recommended for those who experience neck pain or headaches. The way one’s head sinks into the pillow can also help reduce excess movement during sleep, resulting in more restful sleep. Some memory foam pillows also claim to reduce snoring, since their body-contouring style won’t force the neck and throat into unnatural angles, but still provide appropriate support.
If you’ve decided that you’re interested in memory foam, there are still a number of other decisions to make. Memory foam pillows come in various thicknesses, densities, and shapes. Besides the standard pillow shapes, some memory foam pillows are contoured, with one or more larger bumps intended to provide even more support by following the lines of the head and neck more closely. When considering thickness, think about whether you currently prefer to sleep with one or two pillows, and whether you are often trying to flatten or fluff your current pillow. If you like your head higher, you may want to choose a thicker pillow or one with more resistance to keep your head where you like it to be. You may also want to consider your sleeping position when selecting a memory foam pillow. Side sleepers usually need thicker, denser pillows because their position leaves more space between their heads and the mattress, while stomach sleepers commonly prefer thinner pillows.
Memory Foam Pillow Reviews
Memory foam pillow reviews tend to be generally positive. Many reviewers declare their memory pillow to be the best one they’ve ever had, claiming they’ve gotten the best sleep of their life while using it.
That said, some common themes in consumer complaints can also be found, though manufacturers have worked hard to address them. Odor is one complaint—some consumers note that an initial odor faded away, while others noted that following the instructions of airing the pillow out before using it helped. Some pillow makers have tried adding pleasant scents to solve the problem. Another issue often cited with memory foam pillows is heat retention. The density of the material could trap heat, leading to the pillow becoming uncomfortably warm. Manufacturers have responded by creating more breathable fabrics, and some offer pillows with “cooling gels.” Finally, the relative firmness of memory foam is just too much for some users. While many sleepers love the extra support that memory foam offers, a minority of those who try them find that they feel too rigid or hard. Of course, each individual needs to find out for themselves whether a memory foam pillow is right for them.
Some memory foam pillow reviews rank the top options for this type of pillow, so let’s take a look at some of the products that came out on top. Good Housekeeping’s reviewers awarded a grade of A+ to the Megaflex Memofoam Comfort Pillow, the Leggett & Platt Brisa Memory Foam Pillow, two different Cannon memory foam pillows, and the Carpenter Thera Gel pillow by Isotonic. Sleep Mentor’s unbiased reviews give top scores to the Sleep Better Iso-Cool, Sleep Innovations Contour, and Dream Supreme Plus. Sleep Like the Dead reports the highest buyer satisfaction rates for Bodipedic Standard Contour, the Italian 6-inch from Overstock.com, and the Classic Memory Foam Pillow from WalMart.
These are just a few of the options available to those looking for a sleeping solution. Whether your search is based on sleeping discomfort, back or neck pain, or just the desire for a better night’s sleep, memory foam pillows offer some unique abilities that may be just what you’re looking for.