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7 of the best memory foam pillows for easing neck pain

House Beautiful (UK) Logo By Jess Denham, products tested by The Hearst Institute of House Beautiful (UK) | Slide 1 of 8: Fed up of waking up with an aching neck and shoulders? It might sound counterintuitive, but it's probably your pillow to blame. If you tend to sleep on your side or back, a memory foam pillow should give you the support you're clearly lacking. The good news is, we've found the best you can buy. Winner: REM-Fit 500 Cool Gel PillowRunner-up: Simba Hybrid PillowBest for back sleepers: Mammoth Ultimate Slim PillowBest for side sleepers: Mammoth Ultimate Deep PillowBest for front sleepers: Nectar A Whole Night’s Sleep Adjustable Memory Foam PillowBest budget: Panda Luxury Memory Foam Bamboo PillowBest for temperature regulation: OTTY Deluxe Pure PillowAre memory foam pillows better than other types of pillow?Some people will say so, but others will adamantly disagree. It largely depends on your sleeping style. The main thing to remember is that your pillow should help keep your head, neck, shoulders and spine aligned while you sleep. Memory foam pillows offer a lot of firm support and are usually on the thick side, which is great for side sleepers, but less than ideal for front sleepers, who need a flatter, softer pillow to keep their neck from cricking (try down or microfibre). Back sleepers often get along with memory foam but will need a pillow with a medium thickness or adjustability to keep themselves in a straight line.Memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic and relatively long-lasting, but they aren’t breathable and can feel rigid and trapping if you’re prone to tossing and turning.How do I choose a memory foam pillow?Settled on memory foam as your filling of choice? Great. There’s a fairly wide range of memory foam pillows on the market, so you might want to consider looking for the following features:Removable layers: Most of us are combination sleepers, but no one pillow fits all sleeping styles perfectly. Look for an adjustable pillow if you want to play around with the thickness and firmness. There are a couple on our list, including our winner.Sustainability: Memory foam isn’t the most sustainable choice – that would be natural wool – but some of our listed pillows have covers made partly from eco-friendly bamboo, which also happens to be hypoallergenic and breathable. Cooling claims: Hot-headed types might struggle with memory foam’s limited airflow. Don’t write it off just yet though, as some pillows claim to keep you cool with moisture-wicking covers or a layer of heat-absorbing gel. Trial offer: Memory foam pillows can be pricey, which is a turn off if you’re already on the fence. Some brands offer a trial period, usually for a fortnight or a month, so you can try your pillow before you commit to keeping it. How often should I replace my memory foam pillow?Expect your memory foam pillow to last for two to three years with nightly use. If you start getting neck pain or noticing lumps and bumps, it might be time to replace it. Fold it in half and if it fails to spring back, get a new one. How we testWe recruited a panel of testers to try memory foam pillows at home in place of their usual pillow. They judged each one on its support, comfort, breathability, washability and overall quality. The following seven met their high standards:

Fed up of waking up with an aching neck and shoulders? It might sound counterintuitive, but it's probably your pillow to blame. If you tend to sleep on your side or back, a memory foam pillow should give you the support you're clearly lacking. The good news is, we've found the best you can buy.

Are memory foam pillows better than other types of pillow?

Some people will say so, but others will adamantly disagree. It largely depends on your sleeping style. The main thing to remember is that your pillow should help keep your head, neck, shoulders and spine aligned while you sleep.

Memory foam pillows offer a lot of firm support and are usually on the thick side, which is great for side sleepers, but less than ideal for front sleepers, who need a flatter, softer pillow to keep their neck from cricking (try down or microfibre).

Back sleepers often get along with memory foam but will need a pillow with a medium thickness or adjustability to keep themselves in a straight line.

Memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic and relatively long-lasting, but they aren’t breathable and can feel rigid and trapping if you’re prone to tossing and turning.

How do I choose a memory foam pillow?

Settled on memory foam as your filling of choice? Great. There’s a fairly wide range of memory foam pillows on the market, so you might want to consider looking for the following features:

Removable layers: Most of us are combination sleepers, but no one pillow fits all sleeping styles perfectly. Look for an adjustable pillow if you want to play around with the thickness and firmness. There are a couple on our list, including our winner.

Sustainability: Memory foam isn’t the most sustainable choice – that would be natural wool – but some of our listed pillows have covers made partly from eco-friendly bamboo, which also happens to be hypoallergenic and breathable.

Cooling claims: Hot-headed types might struggle with memory foam’s limited airflow. Don’t write it off just yet though, as some pillows claim to keep you cool with moisture-wicking covers or a layer of heat-absorbing gel.

Trial offer: Memory foam pillows can be pricey, which is a turn off if you’re already on the fence. Some brands offer a trial period, usually for a fortnight or a month, so you can try your pillow before you commit to keeping it.

How often should I replace my memory foam pillow?

Expect your memory foam pillow to last for two to three years with nightly use. If you start getting neck pain or noticing lumps and bumps, it might be time to replace it. Fold it in half and if it fails to spring back, get a new one.

How we test

We recruited a panel of testers to try memory foam pillows at home in place of their usual pillow. They judged each one on its support, comfort, breathability, washability and overall quality. The following seven met their high standards:

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