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Are Memory Foam Pillows Good for Your Neck?

Are Memory Foam Pillows Good for Your Neck
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There are few greater annoyances than going through a demanding and stressful day only to have your sleep ruined by cramps, pains and even worse discomforts like headaches, breathing troubles and a pounding heart.

You might be suffering from something more serious, but there’s a good chance that most or all of these troubles can be traced back to the pillow you spend a third of your life resting your head against. 

There’s no denying that the head and neck need to be supported in some way during such long periods. After all, it’s better to address a vaguely uncomfortable feeling now than having to deal with the aftermath of years’ worth of unhealthy sleeping afterwards.

Are memory foam pillows good for your neck

Many people who’ve decided to do something about the discomfort they’re experiencing, are turning to memory foam and the supposed benefits it brings. Are memory foam pillows good for your neck is the question they want a clear answer to, and that’s exactly what this article provides, so do read on to find out.

Why Old-Fashioned Pillows are Bad for You

Why Old-Fashioned Pillows are Bad for You

Before addressing the matter of a memory pillow’s benefits, it is important that a little be said about the dangers of regular pillows. Be they down-filled, purely synthetic or anything in-between, traditional pillows pose a considerable health risk to your neck muscles and upper spine.

A common problem with such pillows is their ample size. Even if they aren’t huge in the literal sense, traditional pillows tend to be stuffed to the brim. This creates a situation where, rather than being supported, your neck and head are actually propped up and put out of alignment with the rest of your body. In extreme cases, the angle between your head and body can approach 90 degrees, which can cause serious issues to develop in the long run.

Not all traditional pillows are overstuffed of course. Those that aren’t have a tendency to get thinner with age, creating an uneven surface that will feel lumpy and rough to sleep on while causing a lot of strain to be applied to your neck at the same time as there’s nothing to support it, making sleeping on a thin traditional pillow especially dangerous for side sleepers.

Choosing a Memory Pillow Based on Your Habits

So, are memory pillows any better? The short answer is yes, with the added caveat that you still have to get the kind of pillow that’s in line with your sleeping style. This needs to be taken into account when considering the pillow’s shape and other characteristics.

Sleeping on your stomach causes the most problems and, while it should generally be avoided, memory foam pillows can make it more tolerable. If you’re primarily a stomach sleeper, a thin, traditionally shaped pillow filled with memory foam is the way to go as it will put minimum elevation on your neck while still offering support.

Choosing a Memory Pillow Based on Your Habits

Sleeping on the back is much better for you in general as this is the most relaxing natural pose your spine and neck can adopt. Still if there’s nothing underneath your neck while sleeping like this, it will act as a bridge of sorts and suffer a lot of stress.

Memory foam pillows with a built-in wedge extension are the best solution for this position as they keel the neck parallel to the rest of your body while giving it a firm base. Memory foam pillows with a low loft are also adequate in this case.

Side sleepers put the most pressure on their neck and require the tallest contoured pillows for optimum sleeping comfort. High lofts are the norm for side sleepers since they conform to the pronouncing arching shape the neck takes on in this position and provide much needed relief. This high loft coupled with the pillow’s middle “valley” your head gets to rest on ensures that the spine remains perfectly straight.

Regardless of your favorite sleeping position, keep in mind that size matters when it comes to memory foam pillows. Each of us is different and the same goes for the proportions of our neck and head.

Instead of helping with existing and the prevention of future back and neck pain, the wrong size pillow can have a negative effect on your health. Before you buy one, make sure that you’ve had a chance to test it out briefly to experience how (un)supportive it feels.


While we can’t claim that a memory foam pillow is an adequate replacement for a true orthopedic one intended for sufferers of complicated types of neck pain, getting a pillow filled with memory foam early on in life and sticking to one can demonstrably prolong the health of your upper spine and reduce the likelihood of more serious injuries and discomfort developing in the future. That should be reason enough to finally ditch the feathers, don’t you think?

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