Memory foam pillows conform to the shape of your head and neck, helping keep your spine in its natural position while you sleep and easing pressure points. The soft yet supportive material can also make sleep more comfortable for pregnant women and patients with shoulder, knee, or back injuries. Made from antimicrobial materials, memory foam pillows resist dust mites, which can be a major cause of allergies. Overstock carries memory foam pillows made from a variety of materials in diverse shapes that help support therapeutic sleeping positions. Continue reading to learn the everything you need to know about memory foam materials and types.
Types of Memory Foam Materials
Traditional Memory Foam
Invented by NASA for use by astronauts, traditional memory foam is a man-made product created from polyurethane. Pillows made from this cushiony, weight-absorbing material compress under pressure and help distribute weight evenly. Traditional memory foam can be molded into almost any shape, shredded for use as a filler, or combined with other materials for additional versatility.
Although it shares many features with traditional memory foam, latex is a natural product derived from the sap of rubber trees. Used either alone or in combination with memory foam, latex produces pillows of exceptional durability and comfort. Many sleepers love the soft, springy texture of 100-percent latex pillows, and the hypoallergenic material is ideal for people with allergies.
Gel memory foam pillows are often created by infusing cooling gel into the memory foam. The gel helps keep you cool throughout the night by improving air flow and dispersing heat. Manufacturers also combine the two materials in dual-layer pillows featuring a layer of memory foam on one side and a layer of gel on the other.
Derived from bamboo plants, a sustainable natural resource, bamboo charcoal provides deodorizing and heat-regulating qualities when added to memory foam. It also wicks away moisture, helping you stay dry as you sleep. As an added benefit, this organic product resists bacteria, so you know your pillow is hygienic.
A great choice for side sleepers, memory foam body pillows are also an excellent resource for expectant mothers since they can provide extra support for your stomach. Typically long and narrow in shape, body pillows allow you to place the pillow between your knees to keep your spine aligned and help relieve back or hip pain. Side sleepers may also hug the pillow as they sleep to help alleviate shoulder pressure and discomfort.
Contour pillows are designed with a curved surface. The most common type of contour pillow cradles your neck while you sleep, permitting your spine to maintain its natural curvature. The pillow's ergonomic shape also keeps your neck stable as you slumber, helping prevent morning pain and stiffness in your neck muscles and tendons. You can also find contoured pillows that have a curve specially designed to fit your knee or thigh to relieve stress on your back.
Memory Foam Pillows FAQs
What should I know when using a memory foam pillow for the first time?
Some memory foam pillows arrive in a vacuum-sealed package. Allow the pillow to air out for a few hours after removing it from the packaging to permit any odors to dissipate. Memory foam pillows are often compressed or rolled for shipping. It may take up to 48 hours for the pillow to expand to its full dimensions. Be sure to read the instructions to determine whether your memory foam pillow requires any other special care before use.
How do you clean memory foam pillows?
Memory foam pillows may come with a removable cover that is machine-washable. However, in most cases, the pillow itself should be washed by hand. Consult the care instructions prior to washing. If the directions indicate it's safe to wash your pillow, begin by filling your bathtub with lukewarm water. Pour in a small amount of a mild detergent, add the pillow, and gently squeeze it to allow the water to reach the pillow's interior. Drain the tub and refill it with clean water. Rinse the pillow thoroughly, then squeeze it to remove excess water. Never twist the pillow, as this can damage the memory foam. Allow the pillow to air dry outdoors. Between laundering, you can help keep your pillow smelling fresh by sprinkling on a small amount of baking soda and allowing it to sit outside for a couple of hours. Use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove the baking soda.
How often should you replace a memory foam pillow?
Memory foam pillows may last as long as three years with proper care, depending on the material. If your pillow loses its bounce or doesn't recover its shape after compression, it's probably time to order a new one. To help extend your pillow's lifespan, wash it regularly and immediately remove stains by spot cleaning them.