Everything You Need to Know About Memory Foam Pillows

Woman sleeping on memory foam pillow

A quality pillow invites deep sleep. Chiropractors and physical therapists routinely recommend memory foam. This adaptable material molds to the shape of your body, providing maximal comfort, thus memory foam pillows carefully align your spine by maintaining your head in an optimal position. It also facilitates sleep by promoting blood flow. Following are the advantages of this versatile construction:
• decreases spinal pressure
• prevents nerve impingement
• improves circulation
• regulates body temperature
The term “memory” refers to the textile’s ability to remember and regain its original shape. The material responds to your body temperature: when you’re cool, firmness increases, when you’re warm, the foam softens.



Memory foam originated in the 1970s with research performed by NASA. The goal was to devise a material that would protect astronauts from gravitational pressure during lift-off. The first generation of material lacked durability. It tended to flake and crack. Fumes released by the foam were dangerous in confined cabin quarters. NASA ended up abandoning the development of memory foam. However, the medical field found it useful for the prevention of pressure sores.

In the 1980s, Sweden began work on perfecting memory foam for consumer use. It took 10 more years to achieve success and put the product on the market. The second generation version had a luxurious feel, improved air flow, and greater longevity. In 2006, the third generation of memory foam was born, incorporating gel. This material was softer, further dissipated body heat, and increased the speed of spring-back.


Memory foam pillows are available in various types of construction and shape. Following are descriptions of the dreamy pillows available on the market and the unique qualities of each.

1. Construction

Shredded Memory Foam Pillows
Shredded memory foam pillows mimic the softness of down. This pillow reshapes easily and you can bunch it up or thin it out to your comfort. Shredded foam increases air flow to a greater degree than conventional memory foam, it also enhances thermal moderation. The synthetic material inhibits the growth of dust mites, mold, and bacteria. It’s completely hypoallergenic.
Best For: Shredded memory foam pillows suit all sleep positions since they yield to your preference. Whether you lie on your side, back, or stomach, you can flatten or fluff it up to your liking.

Gel Memory Foam Pillows
Gel boosts temperature moderation with the use of cooling beads. They’re infused into the foam, rendering an open-cell structure that improves air flow. The beads add strength to the pillow, making it more supportive and durable. They create a firm, comfortable cradle for your head.
Best For: Gel memory foam pillows are great for side-sleepers and for those who tend to get warm during the night. Gel excels at insulating joints and relieving pressure points.

Bamboo Memory Foam Pillows
Bamboo-infused foam is the most breathable type. It dissipates up to 80 percent more heat than conventional memory foam. Producing this material involves burning bamboo fibers to charcoal and mixing them with other foam components, a process which unfortunately makes such memory foam pillows more pricey than their before mentioned counterparts. Bamboo evaporates moisture, it increases the flexibility and recovery of memory foam and it naturally repels dust mites and bed bugs. Its deodorizing property delivers a fresh, clean scent, while it also imparts a soft luster and silky feel. Bamboo is hypoallergenic and anti-microbial.
Best For: If you tend to get warm during sleep, bamboo will keep you cool. Also, bamboo helps relieve asthma, allergies, and sensitive skin.


2. Shapes

This pillow has a recessed dip across the width that cradles your head. It gives extra support to your neck, and at the meantime it relieves muscle tension, stiffness, and pain. The contour shape helps to quell headache and snoring. It can also alleviate sleep apnea, characterized by periodic interruptions in breathing. Sleeping on your back can trigger apnea by obstructing your airway, however the slightly raised position of the contour pillow reduces airway blockage.
Best For: Side-sleepers enjoy optimal spinal alignment and neck stability with the contour pillow.

A wedge memory foam pillow elevates your upper body. It supports a semi-reclining position for reading, resting, and watching TV. The angle of the pillow helps prevent acid reflux. When placed under your knees while back-lying, it resolves pain by supporting the curve of your spine. The raised position also deters snoring, sinusitis, and apnea.
Best For: Back and side-sleepers benefit from the slant of a wedge.

This pillow is an elongated cylinder. Tucked behind the neck, it prevents muscle pain and stiffness. Positioned at the low back, it averts backache by supporting the lumbar curve.
Best For: A roll pillow is ideal for traveling in a car or plane. It prevents the muscle strain that otherwise occurs when sitting unsupported.

Egg Crate
The surface of this pillow resembles an egg carton. The convoluted design increases ventilation and support. Foam peaks and valleys improve blood flow and lessen joint stress. The reduced mass makes this pillow softer and lighter than flat styles. It also has a cooling effect.
Best For: The egg crate pillow accommodates all sleep positions. Stomach, back, and side-sleepers all benefit from its airy construction.

Although this pillow is termed “V-shaped,” it’s actually an inverted “V” when in position. Two long arms meet at a central point to create the “V” shape. The sides curve along the shoulders, while the peak of the “V” supports the head and neck. This pillow provides back support while sitting up in a bed or chair. Children can use it on the floor to prop up homework. The pillow also enfolds a baby in the perfect feeding position.
Best For: The V-shape memory foam pillows are suited to back and side-sleepers. It perfectly aligns the head and spine and provides room for the shoulders.


Memory foam pillows promote sweet dreams and happy awakenings. Take your pick of construction from conventional, shredded, gel, or bamboo. Opt for your choice of shape from contour, wedge, roll, egg crate, and “V.” Whatever you decide, you’ll wake up feeling vitalized!




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