What is Memory Foam?
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 foam pillows are pressure sensitive and will react quickly to body shape.
Memory Foam 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.
Which are good UK memory foam pillows?
Our Memory Foam pillow reviews are the place to start if you’re in search of the best memory foam pillow for your particular budget or sleeping needs.
To give you a bit of background on memory foam pillows, we’ll take you back to the US in the 1970s. Memory Foam was developed ‘under a NASA contract in the 1970s that set out to improve seat cushioning and crash protection for airline pilots and passengers 1991’ – Nasa.gov. It was originally called Temper foam (because it reacts to temperature) which eventually gave rise to the popular Tempur brand of memory foam mattresses and pillows – Tempur still produce some of the best memory foam pillows in the UK.
Newer manufacturers of UK memory foam pillows have recently come onto the market, making very good quality, long-lasting pillows (and mattresses).
Other types of memory foam pillow include: shredded memory foam pillows (see the Simba Hybrid pillow) and contoured memory foam (the Tempur original Queen pillow is a classic example of this for neck pain).
Love them or hate them, memory foam pillows are becoming one of the best-selling types of pillow filling on the market and there’s plenty of choice.
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.
- 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.