How to Sleep on a Contour Memory Foam Pillow: Tips For All Sleeping Positions

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If you’re considering purchasing a contour memory foam pillow for sleeping, then you’re not alone. Memory foam is one of the most common used pillows, and one of the most talked about types of pillows, for good reason.

One very common question is how should I sleep on a contour memory foam pillow? How you sleep on a contour memory foam pillow depends on your sleeping position:

  • Back sleepers should lay their contour memory foam pillow on the bed so that the slimmer side of the pillow runs in line with the head of the bed.
  • Side sleepers should place the larger end of the contour memory foam pillow underneath the hollow of the neck.
  • Stomach sleepers should get a pillow that has a lower side specifically made for stomach sleeping.

So, why choose a memory foam pillow? What are the benefits of using the pillow? How well does it work on leg and knee pain? Or neck pain? This article will not only share that, it will share tips that are helpful for all sleeping positions. We will help you to get the best use out of your contour memory foam pillow.

How To Sleep on Your Memory Foam Pillow?


Memory foam pillows work based on the heat from your body, softening into the ideal shape to support your head and neck. There are ways to use a memory foam pillow to improve your sleep, as well as ways to use it incorrectly.

When you remove the pillow from the packaging, allow it to remain unused for at least 24 hours. This will allow the pillow to reach its full shape and lessen the odor of the pillow that came about during it’s packaging.

It’s always best to place a pillow cover or pillowcase over the pillow before using. Make sure to remove other pillows from your side of the bed. Memory foam pillows are designed to be used alone. Place the pillow at the head of the bed, with the flat side down and the larger of the two curves facing the foot of the bed. This will offer the greatest support for your head and neck, regardless of whether you sleep on your side or your back.

Settle down into your pillow and let your head sink in. Hold your head straight so that you are looking up at the ceiling. Avoid slumping your head so that your chin is being pressed up against your neck. This can constrict your airway, making any snoring issues even worse.

The pillow may seem too hard at first, but do it anyway. Try not to switch positions for 5 to 10 minutes. The pillow will gradually begin to conform to your head, neck, and shoulders as your body heat rises. It may take the foam a while to change position when you decide to change position, but again, it will eventually conform. The more patient you are with a memory foam pillow, the better it will be able to deliver to your body what it needs.

It’s a good idea to use your contour pillow every night to give your body time to adjust to it. It may take several days or weeks to become used to it.

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers should lay their contour memory foam pillow on the bed so that the slimmer side of the pillow runs in line with the head of the bed. The larger end of the pillow should run underneath the hollow of your neck when you lie down, with the curve of your neck resting in a natural position on top of the hump.

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers should place the larger end of the contour memory foam pillow underneath the hollow of the neck. Make sure the pillow is as close as possible to the top of the shoulder, seamlessly supporting the natural curve of the neck and allowing for full relaxation and muscular rejuvenation during the night.

Stomach Sleepers

It’s recommended to never sleep on the stomach, regardless of the pillow you use. It’s the worst position to sleep in and affords the most body pain.

With that said, the contour memory foam pillow isn’t a suitable choice for this sleeping position. A stomach sleeper may feel more comfortable with a slimmer pillow.

There are certain types of contour memory foam pillows that have a lower side that is specifically made for stomach sleepers. For instance if you turn the MemorySleep pillow that I personally use 180 degrees you will get a pillow that is only a couple inches high and perfect for stomach sleepers.

Here’s how the MemorySleep pillow is designed to work and help the sleeper:


What Should You Look for in a Memory Foam Pillow?

To make sure you’re purchasing a quality memory foam pillow, here are some things to take into consideration:

  • Your sleeping position – Consider your sleeping position when selecting your pillow. Contour pillows come in shapes that conform to particular parts of the body.
  • The contour pillow – Make sure your pillow is flat on one side and curved on the other side. The larger of the two curves is designed to cradle your neck. This is your contour pillow.
  • The right foam – There are some that resemble memory foam. Make sure you are getting viscoelastic foam, and not eggshell-crate designed to look like a quality pillow. If you press your hand firmly into the pillow and the indentation looks like your hand and springs back at once, you know it’s the real memory foam.
  • Pillow size – A standard size pillow should work for most adults. They also come in king and queens sizes
  • Pillow Firmness – The firmness of the pillow depends on personal preference. As a rule, the heavier you are, the more firm the pillow should be.
  • Pillow Filling – Memory foam has two types of filling, shredded and solid. The solid foam lends more support for muscles and upper body. The contour memory foam consists of a solid filling.
  • Sleeping Position – The way you sleep can impact the type of pillow you need. Although memory foam works well with any sleeping position, it’s best for side sleepers and back sleepers.

Who Could Best Benefit From A Contour Memory Foam Pillow?


Contour is a popular choice of pillow for people with neck problems or people who sleep on their back. The pillow is a block of foam with a dipping groove in the middle. The groove makes two ridges on either side, and serves as a headrest and allows the ridges to support the neck while sleeping on your back.

Memory foam pillows work based on the heat from your body, softening into the ideal shape to support your head and neck. It’s especially beneficial to those suffering pain in particular parts of the body.

Leg and Knee Pain Sufferers

Contour memory foam is a perfect solution for those looking for relief from back pain, hip pain, leg pain, or even knee pain, and it’s perfect for side sleepers.

It has all the benefits of a regular contour memory foam, with the added benefit of helping side sleepers cushion not just their thighs and legs, but their knees also. This automatically puts you in proper sleeping alignment and prevents your back and hips from rotating that causes painful pressure points.

This pillow is also excellent for expectant mothers. It helps to ease pain in the legs, knees, and back. It’s also a great remedy for easing pain caused by arthritis.

Neck Pain Sufferers

Contour pillow’s curved design naturally adapts to the neck, head, and shoulders regardless of your sleeping position. It also offers therapeutic relief from neck pain. There are customized contour memory foam pillows that are excellent for neck pain.

The unique design allows you to customize the pillow to the right size for you, by allowing you to adjust the pillow’s height by removing part of the memory foam padding from the base. This will help you to keep the best sleeping posture for proper alignment of your spine and neck, and reduce neck pain.

Benefits of Sleeping on Memory Foam Pillows

  • Teaches how to not sleep on your stomach
  • Great support for your head and neck
  • Promotes healthy spine alignment
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Retains its shape
  • Can reduce snoring
  • Helps with sleep apnea
  • Temperature-dependent
  • Reduces pressure on joints

How To Best Care For Your Memory Foam Pillow

Never wash a memory foam pillow. The foam will expand and break apart, permanently ruining the pillow. If airing the pillow before use does not eliminate the odor, it will fade on its own, to the point where the odor is no longer noticeable.

If the odor is still unbearable for you, place two or three dryer sheets in the dryer and tumble dry on no heat for about three minutes. Wash the pillow cover and pillowcase weekly.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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