About memory foam pillows

Memory foam, also referred to as visco elastic foam, is foamed polyurethane with additional chemicals which increase its density and viscosity – sounds lovely doesn’t it. The foam bubbles or ‘cells’ are open, effectively creating a matrix through which air can move. Memory foam was first discovered under a contract by NASA who were looking into new materials to increase cushion safety. Memory foam’s key characteristics are that at high densities it reacts to body heat, conforming and moulding itself to the body over a couple of minutes, at low densities memory foam is pressure sensitive and will react quickly to body shape. 

The original discoverer of Memory foam called the product Temper foam (because it reacts to temperature) which eventually gave rise to the popular Tempur brand of memory foam mattresses and pillows. 

Pillows using this material are either shaped like a normal pillow or are contoured to fit more closely to the head and neck. Because of its properties, memory foam pillows are often sold as offering effective pressure relief and unparallelled comfort, many users do rave about them although in reality, they are not to everyone’s taste. Because memory foam is relatively dense, the height is relatively fixed so it is not adaptable to different height requirements, it can also be quite warm as it doesn’t offer much air flow.

Variants of this pillow include: shredded memory foam pillows and contoured memory foam.

  • Pros: Offers good support and pain relief, is soft and smooth without lumps, can be contoured to closely match head and neck, quiet, good durability and easy to look after, those people who get on with memory foam pillows LOVE them.
  • Cons: If you tend to move around during your sleep or swap between sleeping on your back, side or front, then the fixed height won’t suit you, it can initially be a bit smelly, heavy, not very good ventilation so can be hot, relatively expensive.

Pillow advisor summary: worth a go if you get the opportunity, they might be your favourite ever pillow, but they are a bit pricey and not for everyone.

See Memory foam pillow reviews