A hard day’s work should be repaid by getting the right quality of sleep. Improved sleep quality results in numerous physical and mental health benefits, if you’ve read any of our other articles you’ll know this is something we simply can’t stop emphasizing. Improved sleep can be achieved with the addition of a good mattress and the right pillow. The pillow essentially provides comfort and the required support to the head and neck, while the mattress should also comfortably provide support to the body. Check our pointers on shopping for the best memory foam pillows on the market, as well as our list of top picks.
General Thoughts on Memory Foam Type Pillows
While it seems to have increased dramatically in popularity over the last decade or two, memory foam actually has quite the history. So what’s the big deal?
Memory foam is made from viscoelastic polyurethane, which makes it very soft and highly absorbent. It was first developed in the 1960s for NASA astronauts; the substance was used on the seats so as to relieve pressure experienced during take-offs and landings. Memory foam generally molds to the body’s contour in response to pressure and heat thus evenly distributing the body weight. It also slowly springs back to its original shape when the pressure is removed.
Memory foam pillows are highly conforming to the neck and head and ensure proper alignment of the upper body with the rest of the body while providing luxurious comfort during sleep. The body heat softens the memory foam adapting it to the natural curves of the neck and head. They are available in different densities to suit any sleeping position or personal preference. Memory foam pillows are best suited for back sleepers.
Certain kinds of memory foam pillows have hypoallergenic properties because there are less places for dander and allergens to nest in. It also helps repel dust mites, since the mites can’t feed on the foam although they might feed on the dead skin cells. They also provide a relatively long lifespan of up to three years or more which is more than on some pillow types.
Heat retention is a major drawback of using memory foam pillows, so consumers should consider spending a bit more on a good quality memory foam pillow so as to fully enjoy its numerous benefits. The best memory pillows come with ventilated designs or contain gel-infused foam to help in heat dispersion. High quality shredded foam pillows are very breathable to ensure cool, comfortable sleep all through the night.
5 of the Best Memory Foam Pillows
Here are the all around best memory foam pillows of 2016.
- Hypoallergenic, and dust mite resistant
- Made from polyester, Viscose rayon made from bamboo
- 30 Day Trial and 5 Year Warranty included
This shredded memory foam pillow from Coop Home Goods is one of the most popular and highest rated pillows in the market. This pillow provides a firm support maintaining spinal alignment while ensuring plush comfort. It is made of CertiPUR-US certified memory foam and has a bamboo-polyester blend cover.
The CertiPUR-US certification means high quality memory foam with less odor emission. The soft cover fabric has a high thread count and contains 60% polyester and 40% viscose rayon from bamboo. The memory foam and bamboo fabric gives the pillow its hypoallergenic qualities.
It is also dust mite resistant while the shredded design allows more breathability, air circulation, heat regulation and shape-ability. It can be fluffed to provide the suitable height and support for any sleeping position. The Coop Home Goods’ shredded memory foam pillow is especially a good option for side sleepers. The pillow is available in king and queen sizes and comes with a 5-year limited warranty as well as 30-day trial period.
- Eco-Friendly manufacturing
- Made from viscose of bamboo, polyester, lycra
- 90 Day Trial and 20 Year Warranty
Available in three different sizes, the Snuggle-Pedic shredded memory pillow comes with an impressive 20-year limited warranty and a 90-night trial period. This makes the Snuggle-Pedic a pillow worth investing in. It offers a conforming support while ensuring luxurious comfort for all sleeping positions and even pregnant sleepers. This pillow is made with CertiPUR-US certified foam and features a plush micro-vented Kool-Flow bamboo cover for a cool, comfortable sleep.
The shredded design makes it soft, light, and very breathable. The cover contains 43% bamboo viscose, 56.4% polyester and 0.6% Lycra. This pillow is machine washable, dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic. The Snuggle-Pedic shredded pillow has low odor emissions and is designed to comfortably provide support to the head and neck.
- Angled design helps prevent snoring and heartburn
- Removable 100% Egyptian Cotton cover
- Memory foam and firmer base
Made with highly resilient polyurethane, this pillow measures 25”×24”×12”. It has a dual layer design that comprises of a soft memory foam top (1-inch) and a firm foam base to ensure proper support and better comfort. This wedge memory foam pillow comes with a machine-washable white cover. An optional 100% Egyptian cotton (400tc) pillow case from InteVision can also be bought separately. The InteVision Foam Wedge pillow is ideal for people with snoring issues, poor blood circulation, neck or back pains, acid reflux, allergies or other breathing complications.
- Contoured to relieve and prevent pain
- Dual layer to keep the user cool
- 5 year warranty
This Contour memory foam pillow from Sleep Innovations is one of the best and cheapest pillows in the market. It is made of Sleep Innovations SureTemp Memory Foam with 3lbs density to provide ample support ideal for spinal alignment. Sleep Innovation’s SureTemp open-cell technology allows air circulation and heat dispersion.
The pillow’s dual-height design makes it ideal for back sleepers. A machine-washable cover is included with purchase. This pillow is well designed to relieve back, neck and shoulder pain while ensuring luxurious comfort as is provided by memory foam pillows. It is available in two sizes (queen and standard) and comes with a 5-year limited warranty. The Sleep Innovations – Contour Memory Foam Pillow is very durable and does not lose shape for a long period of time.
- Hypoallergenic and machine washable
- 100% cotton cover 100% polyester fill
- Available for side sleepers, and three other sizes
The gusseted design provides a soft, comfy and conforming support to side sleepers. The pillow has a 4-inch edge which provides a cradle-like support to the head and neck. The pillow features a 100% cotton cover with Outlast Adaptive Comfort material, which is made of microscopic Phase Change Material (PCM) beads that can either release heat and feel warm or absorb heat and feel cool.
The zippered cover is machine-washable and has a thread count of 300. SleepBetter Iso-Cool memory foam pillows are also available in the Standard and Contour designs. This pillow is hypoallergenic, noiseless and perfect in heat regulation.
Key Benefits of a Memory Foam Pillow
Here are the top benefits of sleeping with a memory foam pillow.
Quality of Life
Even though having a good night’s sleep due to a good mattress or pillow is subjective. Studies have shown that memory foam pillows improve the overall quality of sleep since they help alleviate neck and shoulder pains. The memory foam material softens on the main pressure points due to the released body heat, which in turn makes for better support along the natural curves and lines of the body. This proper alignment support relieves pain and results to a restful sleep. In fact: memory foam pillows offer more neck pain relief than any other types of pillows.
Keep it Quiet
Memory foam pillows are also noiseless thus cannot cause disturbances during sleep. The foam material has above average motion isolation qualities. Apart from the shredded type, memory foam pillows have a one-piece design thus no content-shifting or clumping. Also memory foam pillows tend to provide the required firmness while being more comfortable than other pillow types like latex or down pillows. The firmness and design of the pillow makes it most beneficial for back sleepers.
Memory foam pillows are mostly hypoallergenic, although they may cause airway irritations due to odors emitted by the memory foam. Dust mites don’t feed off the foam, but may feed on the dead skin cells on the pillow. Memory foam pillows are also quite affordable as compared to latex or down pillows.
These pillows are durable and can maintain their shape for many years. Memory foam pillows do not require frequent fluffing as is the case with feather pillows, which means a relatively low maintenance. These pillows are soft, comfy and provide the required support ensuring a restful, healthy sleep.
Factors to Look Out for When Buying a Memory Foam Pillows
A major concern about memory foam products is the release of unpleasant chemical odors especially when the pillow is new (commonly referred to as off-gassing). The odors have been found to cause pulmonary irritation and sensory irritation. However, they are not necessarily toxic or dangerous as they decrease upon regular airing of the pillow. Nonetheless, memory foam pillows should not be used for babies.
Additionally, the viscoelastic foam generally retains heat and can cause sleeping hot which can be very uncomfortable. Memory foam pillows with ventilated designs, breathable shred type and gel-infused foam pillows, should always be your first choice.
They feature tiny, porous foam cells which may hold water particles even after the pillow has been rung out to dry. This can enhance fungus growth or even destroy the pillow’s compression properties. For this reason memory foam pillows should not be machine washed instead they may be spot-cleaned and dried out using an electric fan. A shredded type is usually machine-washable.
However, the manufacturer’s instructions should be checked prior to cleaning the pillow. Using a zippered cover or pillow protector can keep it fresh and clean as well as extend its life. The cover should be easy to clean and breathable. Cotton covers are naturally absorbent and breathable while bamboo-fabric covers have hypoallergenic qualities.
First time buyers may opt for a low-priced memory foam pillows so as to get the general sleeping experience before investing in high-end ones. The size of the pillow apart from personal preferences should also correspond to the size of the mattress.
Other factors to consider when picking the best memory foam pillows include the following:
Types of Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillows come in different shapes and styles. There are four types used in a typical sleep setting namely; traditional, contour, shredded and wedge memory foam pillows.
- Traditional pillows refers to a relatively low loft rectangular-shaped one and mostly features single seam all around the four edges or a double seamed edge that allows for a consistent, higher loft. The double-seamed traditional memory foam pillow is also referred to as a gusset pillow.
- Contour memory foam pillows usually have a subtle groove as well as two ridges that run horizontally from side to side. The groove offers a cradle-like support to the head while the ridges support the neck while providing maximum stability to the head as well. The contour memory foam pillow is ideal for people with neck problems. It is also one the best pillows for back sleepers.
- A wedge pillow is triangular-shaped, slanted and is mostly used to prop the body up. The slope’s angle and size mainly determines its usage and whether it is for babies or adults. Wedge pillows are recommended widely for medical purposes especially for people with respiratory issues, sinus problems or acid reflux. They are good reading pillows and can also be used to uplift the lower body when placed underneath the back of the knees. Wedge pillows are also considered the best pillows for pregnant mothers as they can be used to reduce stress on the lower back.
- On the other hand, a shredded pillow is usually oblong shaped and similar to a traditional memory foam pillow. Its loft is relatively average making it ideal for all sleeping positions. The biggest difference from the traditional type is that a shredded memory foam pillow contains compacted filling of numerous tiny shreds of foam. The shredded nature gives the pillow more breathability thus making it retain less heat. Shredded pillows are easily moldable and scrunch-able and also their loft can be adjusted.
Firmness of the pillow
The firmness of the pillow is very important when shopping for a pillow. Different firmness levels provide varying comfort levels, and suit diverse sleeping positions. A denser pillow tends to provide more comfort and support to the neck and head as compared to a thinner one. Memory foam pillows are usually soft and comfy.
Different sleeping positions require different levels of firmness. Therefore, identifying the preferred sleeping position will greatly help in determining the right memory foam pillow. Stomach sleepers tend to prefer a thinner pillow while side sleepers may go for a thicker pillow. Most memory foam pillows are best suited for back sleepers. The right pillow should keep the neck and head properly aligned with the rest of the body in a neutral position while still providing comfort.
Return and Exchange Policies, Warranties
A risk-free guarantee coupled with a lengthy full-replacement warranty can offer peace of mind when buying a memory foam pillow. Most foam pillows come with 5 to 20-year warranties.