I've swapped my cheap microfiber pillow for a luxury memory foam — here's how it's changing my sleep

A woman laying on her back on a light gray Ostrichpillow
(Image credit: Ostrichpillow)

As a sleep writer, I spend an inordinate amount of time hunched over a laptop writing about sleep hacks and the best mattresses. While working, my posture is, frankly, terrible. And when I go to sleep, I favor a cheap microfibre pillow with a high loft that can cradle me in this unhealthy croissant-shape that I’m slowly turning into. 

When those microfibre pillows inevitably lose their shape, I simply stack them on top of each other until I reach the desired depth. Although this has always suited my sleep, I’ve lately begun to experience niggling neck pain. So when I received a luxury memory foam pillow from Ostrichpillow, I was intrigued to try it. 

It’s now been three weeks since I swapped my sad stack of cheap microfibre pillows for one luxury memory foam one, and here’s how it’s changing my sleep… 

Nectar Mattress: up to 40% off at Nectar Sleep

Nectar Mattress: <a href="https://nectar.xovt.net/c/221109/473932/8338?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nectarsleep.com%2F" data-link-merchant="nectarsleep.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">up to 40% off at Nectar Sleep
During Sleep Awareness Week, you can save up to 40% on memory foam and hybrid mattresses at Nectar Sleep. We rate the Original Nectar Memory Foam as one of the <a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-memory-foam-mattress" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="nectarsleep.com"">best memory foam mattresses for most sleepers with a smaller budget seeking a breathable all-foam bed to relieve aches and pains. A queen is now reduced to $649 in the US and <a href="https://nectaruk.aor6.net/c/221109/617480/10042?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nectarsleep.co.uk%2Fproducts%2Fmemory-foam-mattress%3Fvariant%3D39895082532910" data-link-merchant="nectarsleep.co.uk"" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="nectarsleep.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">£600 for a double with a free bedding bundle in the UK. You'll also get a lifetime warranty and year's sleep trial.

What is a memory foam pillow?

Like the best mattresses, the best pillows come in a wide range of materials, including down, microfibre and latex, to target different sleep positions and needs. The benefit of a decent memory foam pillow is that it will contour to your head and neck, while providing just enough push-back to prevent your head from sinking too deeply into the pillow. 

A memory foam pillow is thought to be one of the best pillows for spine health, thanks to the natural alignment of head, shoulders and lumbar that it encourages. However, as memory foam is generally prone to trapping heat, some memory foam pillows without additional cooling technology can cause sleepers to overheat. 

The memory foam pillow I've been sleeping on

The Memory Foam Bed Pillow by Ostrichpillow is a luxury memory foam pillow designed to suit any type of sleeper. Its ergonomic shape means that different parts of the pillow have a different height, making it suitable for back, side and stomach sleepers. 

How the Ostrichpillow looked upon arrival and still in its packaging

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It’s slightly hollow in the middle on one side, which has been designed with back and stomach sleepers in mind. As you place your head into the recess, a little roll of memory foam gently cradles and supports the nape of your neck.

For side sleepers, sleeping on the outer edges of the pillow provides a deeper loft, designed to accommodate the depth of your shoulder. Air channels throughout the pillow provide excellent temperature regulation.

Image

Memory Foam Bed Pillow: <a href="https://www.awin1.com/awclick.php?awinmid=31149&awinaffid=103504&clickref=hawk-custom-tracking&p=https%3A%2F%2Fostrichpillow.com%2Fproducts%2Fmemory-foam-bed-pillow" data-link-merchant="ostrichpillow.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Was $120 now $96 from Ostrichpillow
At MSRP, the Memory Foam Bed Pillow by Ostrichpillow sits firmly in the premium price category for a pillow. However, to celebrate Sleep Awareness Week, you can save 20%. That brings the price down to $96. You'll have to be quick if you want to capitalize on this saving -<a href="https://www.tomsguide.com/wellness/mattresses/sleep-awareness-week-2024" data-link-merchant="tomsguide.com"" data-link-merchant="ostrichpillow.com""> Sleep Awareness Week 2024 ends tomorrow.

How a memory foam pillow has changed my sleep

While I’m well aware of how a decent mattress can dictate the quality of your sleep, ensuring that my head and neck is also well supported has been less of a priority. But after years of sleeping on cheap microfibre pillows, my neck has started to feel stiff and sore upon waking. 

When I received the Memory Foam Bed Pillow from Ostrichpillow to try, I was eager to see how it could - or would - change my sleep. However, I was also a little apprehensive, as it has a much lower loft than my usual stack of microfibres. Three weeks in, here’s how the Memory Foam Bed Pillow is changing my sleep…

1. My sleep posture has improved 

As a side sleeper, the loft of my pillow needs to be as deep as the distance from where my shoulder touches my mattress and my head settles into the pillow. However, the pillows that I normally sleep on are much higher than this, which puts my neck under pressure for a prolonged period of time. 

At first glance, I was dubious that the Memory Foam Bed Pillow was anywhere near as deep as I would find comfortable. But as I laid my head on the outer edge (the depth of which is higher, with side sleepers in mind), I felt my neck stretch gently in an unfamiliar way. 

Instead of being held at an awkward angle, my neck is now in natural alignment with my shoulder, chest and lower back. 

2. I sleep on my stomach more often 

I am a side sleeper who occasionally rolls onto her stomach. However, when I do, I normally wake with searing pain in my lower back, which is largely due to the high loft of my microfibre pillows causing my spine to dip even further out of alignment. 

Memory Foam Bed Pillow by Ostrichpillow

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Since sleeping on the Ostrichpillow, I've noticed that I'm waking on my stomach much more often - but without the pain. That's because, due to the slight recess in the middle, the pillow is suitable for back, stomach and side sleepers. Now, when I sleep on my stomach, my head, neck and spine is still held in the correct position.

3. My neck pain is easing 

Switching from a microfibre to a memory foam pillow hasn't been a quick fix for my neck pain, which is largely due to my enduring poor daytime posture. However, given that I'm no longer waking in the middle of the night with lower back pain, or waking in the morning with neck pain, it's safe to assume that my sleep posture is much improved. 

Will I go back to my microfibre pillow? Now that I've slept on a good quality memory foam pillow, I can't imagine sleeping on a cheap microfibre pillow ever again.  

Nicola Appleton
Sleep Features Editor

Nicola Appleton is Sleep Features Editor at Tom’s Guide, specialising in quality news content surrounding sleep and wellbeing. Nicola cut her teeth as a journalist in a busy newsroom in Bristol, UK, 15 years ago as part of a team at Britain's largest independent press agency. Since then, her job as a journalist has taken her to the States, to Sydney, and then back to Blighty, where she has written and edited features for a whole host of prominent British and international brands, including  The Independent, The Sydney Morning Herald, HuffPost, Refinery29, Stylist and more. As well as tackling the vast topic of sleep, Nicola will be joining the raft of expert mattress reviewers at Tom's Guide, helping steer readers towards the very best mattresses on the market.