PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

What is “off-gassing,” and how can I protect myself from it when I use a memory foam pillow?

ANSWER

Memory foam is made from polyurethane. This is a type of plastic you can find in a variety of products around your house. This includes things such as sofas, mattresses, insulation, and spray foam.

Some memory foam products have chemicals in them called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These chemicals can give off a bad smell when the pillow is new. This is called off-gassing. You may be extra sensitive to the odor. If you are, it may cause a hard time breathing, headaches, nausea, eye and throat irritation, or asthma. To protect yourself, keep your new pillow in a well-ventilated area for a few days or a week before you use it. You can also look for brands labeled “low VOCs.”

SOURCES:

The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine : "Improving the Quality of Sleep With an Optimal Pillow: a Randomized, Comparative Study."

National Sleep Foundation: "What is Memory Foam?" "Choosing a Mattress: Everything You Need to Know," "Best Online Mattress."

The Journal of Physical Therapy Science : "Development and Comparative Evaluation of New Shapes of Pillows."

Cedars-Sinai: "Cervical Spine."

Cleveland Clinic: "Back, Side or Stomach: Which Sleep Position Is Best for You?"

Harvard Medical School: "Say 'Good Night' To Neck Pain."

NBC News: "Sleep on This: Consumer Reports Rates the Best Pillows for Better Sleep."

Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo on April 23, 2020

SOURCES:

The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine : "Improving the Quality of Sleep With an Optimal Pillow: a Randomized, Comparative Study."

National Sleep Foundation: "What is Memory Foam?" "Choosing a Mattress: Everything You Need to Know," "Best Online Mattress."

The Journal of Physical Therapy Science : "Development and Comparative Evaluation of New Shapes of Pillows."

Cedars-Sinai: "Cervical Spine."

Cleveland Clinic: "Back, Side or Stomach: Which Sleep Position Is Best for You?"

Harvard Medical School: "Say 'Good Night' To Neck Pain."

NBC News: "Sleep on This: Consumer Reports Rates the Best Pillows for Better Sleep."

Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo on April 23, 2020

NEXT QUESTION:

What is a wedge pillow?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

"ALEXA, ASK WEBMD"

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.