Why Are Memory Foam Pillows So Hard How To Soften Them

11 min read

Have you ever wondered why memory foam pillows can be so hard? Doesn’t it seem ironic that something meant to provide comfort and support can be so difficult to rest your head on? 

If you’re looking for a way to make your memory foam pillow softer, then you’ve come to the right place.

The first step in understanding why memory foam pillows can be so hard is knowing what they are and how they work. 

Memory foam is a polyurethane-based material that was originally developed by NASA in the 1970s. It’s composed of millions of tiny cells that respond to pressure and heat and mold themselves around the shape of your body. This makes it perfect for providing contoured support and comfort while sleeping, but it also means that when it’s new or hasn’t been used in a while, it can feel quite firm.

Finally, we’ll discuss some tips on how to soften up a hard memory foam pillow so that it’s more comfortable for resting your head on. 

We’ll also look at some other ways to make sure your pillow is as comfortable as possible – from changing the environment where you sleep, to choosing different types of pillow fillings – so that you can get the best night’s sleep possible.

1. What Is Memory Foam?

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Memory foam is like a mysterious entity – a seemingly simple substance that has the power to both baffle and captivate. 

It’s a material with undeniable strength, capable of providing remarkable support and comfort. 

But why are memory foam pillows so hard, and how can you soften them?

Memory foam is a type of visco-elastic foam, made from polyurethane with added chemicals to give it a higher viscosity and density. 

This makes memory foam dense, yet soft and compliant when pressure is applied. It’s also heat sensitive, meaning it will conform to your body shape as you lay on it.

When new, memory foam pillows may feel quite firm due to their dense construction. 

However, this should soften over time as the pillow molds to your body shape. 

If you want to speed up the process, try using a towel or blanket to cushion it before sleeping on it. 

You can also place the pillow in direct sunlight for several hours – this will cause the memory foam particles to expand and become softer.

2. Memory Foam Properties

Memory foam is made from polyurethane and other chemicals that help create its unique properties. 

It’s a viscoelastic material, meaning it can both resist and conform to pressure. 

This allows it to absorb weight, contour around the body, and provide support where needed.

Memory foam also has a slow response time when pressure is applied, so it takes time for the foam to adjust when you move around in your sleep. 

This helps reduce motion transfer between partners. 

It also offers superior temperature control since it absorbs heat and distributes it evenly throughout the mattress or pillow surface.

However, this same property of slow response time makes memory foam quite firm and difficult to soften. 

If you’re looking for a softer feel, you may want to look for memory foams with added gel or other softening agents.

3. Benefits Of Memory Foam Pillows

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Memory foam pillows are like a magical bedtime companion. 

They provide their users with a sense of comfort and security, like an old friend who never leaves your side. 

Memory foam is an amazing material – it has the power to cushion your head, neck and shoulders for the perfect night’s sleep.

The benefits of memory foam pillows are numerous. 

They offer superior support and conform to the shape of your head and neck for optimal comfort. 

Plus, they don’t need to be fluffed or reshaped like traditional pillows – once you’ve found the perfect shape, it will stay in place all night long. 

Memory foam also helps keep sleepers cool, as it absorbs body heat instead of radiating it back out like other materials.

Finally, memory foam pillows are incredibly durable – they can last up to five years or more if properly cared for. 

This means that you won’t have to replace them as often as some other types of pillows, saving you time and money in the long run. 

Plus, these pillows come in a variety of shapes and sizes so that everyone can find one that fits their needs perfectly.

What’s more, memory foam provides excellent motion isolation so that any tossing and turning won’t disturb your partner during the night. 

With these numerous benefits in mind, it’s no wonder why memory foam pillows have become so popular among sleepers everywhere.

4. Potential Drawbacks Of Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows feel like a dream come true for many sleepers. They offer contouring support and the kind of comfort that can only be found in a cloud. 

However, there are some drawbacks to consider before investing in one.

When it comes to memory foam pillows, hardness is a common complaint. 

Since memory foam is temperature-sensitive and dense, it can become stiffer if it’s too warm or if it’s been sitting unused for periods of time. 

This stiffness can make them difficult to move around on, leading to discomfort and inadequate neck support while sleeping.

On top of that, these pillows tend to trap heat more easily than other materials – making them even hotter and harder than usual. 

This makes them uncomfortable during the summer months, when temperatures are already high enough without having your pillow heat up against you!

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to soften a memory foam pillow and get the most out of your purchase.

5. Factors Contributing To Memory Foam Pillow Hardness

Memory foam pillows are renowned for their comfort, but some people find them too hard. 

To understand why this is the case and how to soften them, it’s important to know the factors contributing to their hardness.

One of these is the density of the foam. 

Memory foam is typically denser than other types of foam, and so a memory foam pillow may be firmer than others. 

The thickness of the memory foam can also affect its firmness – thicker layers will be harder than thinner layers. 

Additionally, because memory foam conforms to your body shape when it warms up, it will become harder if left in one position for a prolonged period of time.

The type of cover that encases the memory foam can also make it feel tougher or softer. 

Some covers are made with materials such as cotton or polyester which have a softer feel, while others use stiffer fabrics like nylon or microfiber which can make a pillow feel much harder. 

Finally, different brands may vary in terms of how soft or firm they are overall.

With all this in mind, understanding how to soften a hard memory foam pillow is essential for achieving optimum comfort levels.

6. How To Soften Memory Foam Pillows

Have you ever wondered why memory foam pillows can be so hard? 

It’s a common issue for many sleepers and though there are many factors that can contribute to this stiffness, it doesn’t mean the pillow isn’t comfortable.

Here are some tips on how to soften memory foam pillows:

  1. Heat: Applying heat is one of the best ways to soften a memory foam pillow. This could include placing a warm towel or heating pad over the pillow, or even using a hair dryer set to low heat.
  2. Sleeping Position: Adjusting your sleeping position can also help make the pillow more comfortable. Try sleeping with your head turned slightly to one side or try propping up your neck with an additional pillow for added support and comfort.
  3. Adding Extra Fluff: To further ensure comfort, try adding extra fluff to the pillow by stuffing it with cotton balls or shredded sheets. This will provide added cushioning and help keep your head in place while you sleep.

These methods can help make memory foam pillows more comfortable without sacrificing their supportive qualities. 

But how do you ensure they stay soft and supportive? Read on for tips on how to retain comfort and support from memory foam pillows…

7. How To Ensure Memory Foam Pillows Retain Comfort And Support

Memory foam pillows have gained popularity over the years, providing comfort and support to sleepers. 

But these pillows can be difficult to keep soft and comfortable. To ensure that memory foam pillows retain their comfort and support:

  1. Rotate them regularly: Memory foam pillows should be flipped or rotated every few weeks to distribute wear more evenly and help maintain shape.
  2. Add a pillow protector: A pillow protector helps protect the pillow from dirt, dust, body oils, sweat and other elements that can cause it to break down over time. It also helps maintain the shape of the pillow, so it stays supportive for longer.
  3. Keep them clean: Regularly cleaning your memory foam pillow with a mild detergent will help prevent bacteria and mold growth as well as maintain its integrity over time.

In order to maximize its performance, following these steps is essential for keeping memory foam pillows comfortable and supportive. 

From here we’ll discuss how you can find alternatives if you’re looking for something different.

8. Alternatives To Memory Foam Pillows

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Memory foam pillows have become increasingly popular. They offer superior comfort and support, but can be difficult to break in. 

If you’re not a fan of the harder feel of memory foam, there are alternatives.

Non-memory foam pillows come in a variety of shapes and materials. 

Shredded latex pillows offer great contouring to your head and neck, while down or feather pillows provide a softer cushioning feel. 

There are also gel-infused or cooling pillows available for those who tend to sleep hot.

No matter what type or shape of pillow you choose, make sure it supports your neck and head properly. 

You’ll want something that helps keep your spine aligned while you sleep so that you wake up feeling rested and refreshed. 

Transitioning away from the hard feel of memory foam is possible with the right pillow choice.

9. Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about memory foam pillows are common. Here are nine frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers that can help you understand why these pillows are so hard and how to soften them.

  1. What is a memory foam pillow?
  2. Why is memory foam so firm?
  3. How can I make my memory foam pillow softer?

Memory foam pillows are made from viscoelastic polyurethane material that is sensitive to heat and pressure. 

It conforms to the shape of your head and neck, providing personalized support for better sleep. 

But it’s hard because the material doesn’t have much flexibility or breathability, leading to increased heat retention and a stiffer feel.

To make your memory foam pillow softer, consider adding extra cushioning such as a thin layer of soft fiberfill or down feather filling on top of the pillow. 

You can also fluff it regularly by hand or in the dryer with tennis balls to redistribute its contents and improve air circulation around the fibers. 

Finally, try using a cooling mattress pad or pillow protector to keep it cool during use and make it feel less stiff when you lay down at night.

These tips can help you enjoy all the benefits of using a memory foam pillow without sacrificing comfort for support. 

10. Summary

The journey to a good night’s sleep can be long and winding. 

With so many options available, it can be hard to know what will work best for you. 

Memory foam pillows have become increasingly popular, but why are they so hard? How do you soften them up? 

In this summary, we’ll take a look at the answers to those questions and more.

Like a long-lost key unlocking the door to a better sleep, memory foam pillows are the perfect fit for many people. 

They offer support and comfort that other types of pillows simply can’t match. 

But why are they so firm when you first get them? It’s all thanks to their unique composition – memory foam is denser than traditional fillings like feathers or down, meaning that it takes a while for them to fully ‘loosen’ up.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to speed up the process and make your pillow more comfortable in no time. 

First, fluff it up by hand or with a machine; this helps break up any lumps or clumps that may have formed during shipping. 

Then, place the pillow in direct sunlight for a few hours; this will help activate the air pockets inside the material and soften it further. 

Finally (and most importantly), make sure that you’re using the right size of pillow – if it’s too big or too small for your head, then it won’t provide adequate support regardless of how soft it is!

With just a few quick steps you can transform an uncomfortable memory foam pillow into something much more suitable for restful slumber – all without having to buy an entirely new one!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Replace My Memory Foam Pillow?

A good night’s sleep is essential for a productive day. That’s why it’s important to keep your memory foam pillow in top condition. 

Memory foam pillows are usually known for their hard and firm surface, but when it’s time to replace them, it can be difficult to know when.

Allusion can be made here to an old saying – ‘out with the old and in with the new’ – which is true both for people and for things. 
It might seem counterintuitive, but replacing your memory foam pillow every six months or so can actually keep your sleep environment more comfortable than if you bought a new one every few years.

Not replacing your pillow regularly can mean that you’re left with an overly firm surface that doesn’t provide enough support or comfort while sleeping. 

However, if you replace them often enough, you’ll have a softer, more supportive sleep surface that will help ensure a good night’s rest. 

So don’t wait too long – take stock of your current memory foam pillow and decide whether it needs replacing soon.

Is It Possible To Make A Memory Foam Pillow Softer Without Altering Its Shape?

A soft pillow is a must for a good night’s sleep. But memory foam pillows are notoriously hard, even when brand new. Is it possible to make them softer without altering their shape?
The old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ may apply here.

Memory foam is engineered to be firm and supportive. Squeezing, stretching or bending the material could permanently damage its structure.

Fortunately, there are several ways to soften a memory foam pillow without sacrificing its shape: 

1. Placing the pillow in the dryer on low heat for 10-15 minutes can help fluff it up slightly. 
2. Adding a cotton pillowcase can also help make the surface of the foam more comfortable and cushiony. 
3. Investing in an adjustable bed can further customize your comfort level by allowing you to adjust the angle of your head and neck while sleeping.

Making a memory foam pillow softer doesn’t have to mean compromising on support – with these simple tips, you can get both!

Are Memory Foam Pillows Better For Side Sleepers Or Back Sleepers?

Memory foam pillows come with a range of benefits, making them an attractive option for many people. 

But when it comes to determining which type of sleeper they’re best suited for, the answer isn’t always so clear-cut. 

With their unique properties and design, memory foam pillows can provide comfort and support to both side sleepers and back sleepers alike.

To understand why memory foam pillows are suitable for both types of sleepers, it’s important to look at the construction of these specialised pillows. 

Memory foam is dense and slow-responding compared to other pillow materials, meaning that it contours precisely to the shape of the head and neck in order to provide better support while sleeping. 

This makes memory foam ideal for all types of sleepers, as it provides flexibility when sleeping on your side or firmness when sleeping on your back.

Whether you’re a side or back sleeper looking for comfort and support from your pillow, a memory foam pillow may be just what you need. 

Its flexible design means that it will mould itself around your body regardless of where you lie on the mattress, allowing you to get a good night’s sleep without having to choose between one type of pillow over another.

How Long Does It Take For A Memory Foam Pillow To Break In?

Memory foam pillows are much firmer than the traditional pillows we’re used to. 

But how long does it take for them to break in? It’s an important question, especially for those of us looking for a good night’s sleep.

The answer varies depending on the type of memory foam and the individual pillow. 

Some can start to soften up after just a few nights, while others may take weeks or even months before they feel comfortable. 
It all depends on how often you use it and how much time you spend on it during the day.

It’s easy to see why memory foam pillows have become so popular – they offer great support and help keep your spine aligned while sleeping. 

But if you’re looking for maximum comfort, it’s worth taking the time to let your memory foam pillow break in before expecting results. 
Even if that means waiting a bit longer than you’d like, it’ll be well worth it in the end!

Is There A Risk Of Dust Mites Or Allergens In Memory Foam Pillows?

Recent studies show that almost one third of people in the United States have some kind of dust mite allergy. 

This statistic makes it clear why so many people are concerned about the potential presence of dust mites and other allergens in memory foam pillows.

Memory foam is denser than most other types of pillow fillings, making it harder for dust mites to penetrate. 

To reduce the risk even further, many brands make sure to use a hypoallergenic outer cover with their memory foam pillows. 

This helps keep dust mite allergens out, while also making them easier to clean and care for.

However, it’s still important to take precautions when using memory foam pillows. 

Regularly washing the pillowcase and outer cover can help keep allergens away, while airing out your pillow every once in a while can help keep it fresh. 

Taking these steps will ensure your memory foam pillow remains comfortable and allergen-free.


Memory foam pillows can be a great choice for those looking for extra comfort and support while sleeping. 

They are often harder than traditional pillows, however, making them difficult to break in. 

With a few simple tips, though, you can soften your memory foam pillow and make it more comfortable.

It’s important to replace your memory foam pillow periodically. Studies show that nearly 70% of people don’t replace their pillows often enough; this can lead to poor sleep quality and health issues. 

Regularly replacing your pillow will help keep it in good condition and provide the best level of comfort.

Finally, if you want to soften a memory foam pillow without losing its shape, consider using a fabric softener or two tennis balls placed inside the pillowcase when washing it. 

Doing so will help give it some extra cushioning while still providing all the benefits of a memory foam pillow.

Overall, memory foam pillows are an excellent choice for anyone looking for extra comfort and support while sleeping. 

With proper maintenance and care, they can provide long-term relief and help you get a better night’s rest.

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