A Post About Pillows!

Just about everyone has their things, right? Things that they have very strong feelings about that may not make sense to other people? You only drink one flavor of tea, or are happiest writing with a specific brand of pen. So I hope you can reserve your judgment on my materialistic ways when I tell you that I am kind of obsessed with pillows. Not the frou-frou decorative ones that people put on couches and chairs and whatnot, but actual functional sleeping pillows. I am on a constant search for the best possible sleeping pillow combination, and I would like to share some of my findings ““ including a truly oddly-shaped pillow ““ with you today.

I should also mention that I suffer from some pretty significant neck and shoulder problems, of the variety that can cause intense headaches and/or migraines. So proper pillows, to ensure that the muscles that make my life an occasional living hell are relaxed and happy, are fairly important. Similarly, I am really bad at sleeping, and good pillows are important for that, too.

I feel slightly obligated to point out that yes, being able to be choosy about something as silly as pillows is a huge privilege, and there are lots of people that more than make do without pillows, or just use whatever’s on hand. This is probably the most materialistic post I’ll ever write, and I don’t think a single pillow mentioned below costs more than $20. Still.

But enough of that! Here is what I am not even touching with a 10-foot pole: Pillows that are shaped like breasts, pillows that are shaped like laps, and all pillows that explicitly look like body parts. (A Google search for “weird pillows” comes up with some pretty, um, unique things.) No matter the advertising spin, I simply do not believe that lap pillows, or pillows that are painted (printed?) to look like a woman’s upper body, with large bulges in the chest, are going to help anyone get a better night’s sleep.  I am also not going to talk much about body pillows because, well, I have no familiarity with them. The fantastic Ipomoea discussed them at length in several of her pregnancy posts if you are interested.

Now that I’ve defined the limitations of my completely anecdotal study, let’s start with the most common non-rectangular pillow: the c-shaped travel pillow.

A travel pillow! - Photo from

If you’ve got a nonstandard pillow, it’s most likely this one. Frankly, I don’t understand how people can sleep sitting up without one of these ““ don’t you wake up with a horrible crick in your neck? This pillow prevents your head from flopping about as you sleep on a bus, train, or plane. They’re frequently inflatable, which not only makes for easy packing, but also means you can customize how firm you want your pillow to be. In a pinch, if you’re travelling and stuck with a substandard pillow for the night, this can be a lifesaver to use during sleeping as well.

Then, there are the wedge pillows. These usually have “arms,” and are sometimes tragically called “boyfriend pillows,” possibly because it vaguely

The "boyfriend" pillow - Photo from

feels like someone’s hugging you when you’re leaning between the arms? Which is wrong on a lot of levels, but still, these pillows are awesome.  Not only do they provide a good incline if you’re someone who can’t sleep well flat on their back, but they also come in quite handing while reading, studying, or writing while in bed. Protip: put the pillow “facedown” with the arms splayed at the sides for a gentler incline.

Next, for those of us with neck issues, there are the awkwardly-named cervical pillows. Cervical, I have learned the hard way, does not only mean pertaining to the cervix, but also pertaining to the neck. (Apparently, the cervix is so named because it is the neck of the uterus?) Cervical pillows keep your neck in proper alignment with your spine, and often prevent your head from flopping about in your sleep, causing neck pain.  I’m a huge proponent of these types of pillows ““ they’ve made a world of difference in terms of both quality of sleep and pain upon waking for anyone I know who’s used them. There are two main types:

Cervical Pillows - Photos from

The pillow on the left has the advantage of having high sides, which is great for side-sleepers.

Speaking of side-sleepers, there is a type of pillow designed specifically for side sleepers, and it is the odd shape of that pillow that is truly the impetus for this entire piece. Here.

This pillow blows my mind. Photo from

Look at this pillow! It throws squareness right out the window! It’s radical! It kind of hugs you, but in a non-creepy way! (Your shoulder is supposed to go in the middle part, with your ear in the hole, and the longer sides apparently align your spine.)  It has a hole so your ear doesn’t get squished. This is a new frontier in pillows, I guarantee it.

So what about you? Are you a fanatic about pillows too? Do you use one, two, a carefully-constructed combination of sometimes up to 4 pillows, or ::gasp:: no pillows at all?


By CherriSpryte

CherriSpryte wants you to know that The Great Pumpkin loves you.

9 replies on “A Post About Pillows!”

For me, travel pillows are horribly, painfully uncomfortable. Wearing it so that the pillow is in the back and the opening is in the front just seems so counterintuitive – I already feel like standard airplane seats push my neck and head forward too much, ao I am constantly rolling up my sweater or blanket to create a back pillow so that my torso is actually propped forward instead of my neck (I hope that makes sense). It seems like other people love travel pillows though, and have no problems with the headrests on seats, so maybe I am the weird one? I should call a chiropractor…

I fly pretty infrequently, but I’ve had that issue on airplanes too. The travel pillow that I have is inflatable, so when I feel like it’s making my head tilt too far forward, I take some of the air out of it, and then lean back against the seat so that the back part is deflated but the sides still have enough air in them to prevent the dreaded neck-flop. But all pillows aren’t for all people, obviously,

My friends had something they called a “boob pillow” because it felt exactly like a boob (which is surprisingly dense and less squishy than you’d think — try squishing your boob then go squish a traditional pillow and tell me which one has more “give”). It was actually a nice memory foam pillow. They made sure to always bring it on trips and it was kind of  a “thing” they’d rave about. Ohhhh, the wonderful glorious boob pillow of infinite delicious sleepiness, they’d whisper longingly when it was not around,.


Recently, we bought a new mattress and the salesperson threw in two complementary pillows, and I happened to choose the Tempur-Cloud pillow from TempurPedic. It is kind of like the “boob pillow.” At $129 it is quite the extravagance, but if you have the means and inclination, go check one out at a mattress store. It’s a little weird at first (very dense, takes a few minues to sink your head into it). But it turned out to be a life-changer for me. I’m like that religious fanatic who won’t shut up now, when it comes to this goddamn pillow. I am fully willing to acknowledge that it is not for everybody, but if you’re dissatisfied with all the pillows you’ve tried, this may be the love of your life. And it’s not one of those ephemeral pillows you’re supposed to replace every year (who does that, anyway?). This sucker is getting stuffed into my coffin with me in some distant future (best case scenario), unless they first pry it from my cold, dead hands, which they won’t , because I will haunt the fuck out of them.

First off, the tags on this post made me snort.

I need my pillows to be firm and flat. I usually sleep with just one at home (I’m a side sleeper), but two if they’re flat enough. I HATE squishy pillows. I feel like they’re going to suffocate me as I sleep. And the specialty pillows seem like they’d be great only if you don’t move around and flip over a lot while you’re sleeping.

I feel like this post is personally targeted to me.  Because our bed pillows freaking suck.  They are the worst pillows ever.  I like to have a pillow between my legs and I have majorly crushed two of our pillows doing so, one is minorly crushed, and one remains mostly unscathed.  It’s pillow carnage on our bed and we’re too lazy to go buy new pillows.

I want the pillow of the future so badly.  My ears always get squished. -.-

I currently have a sort of fort during the day, and I use my husband as a pillow at night (I sleep a lot bc of disability).  My daytime arrangement is as follows:  3 single pillows and one double-stuffed pillow (two old pillows stuffed in one case).  The shittiest single pillow goes perpendicular to my body first, then the second-shittiest pillow is stacked parallel to my back, half-overlapping with the first pillow, then the best pillow goes on top of those, horizontally, and finally the double pillow is put on top, parallel to my front, for snuggling.  At night, hubs replaces the front snuggling, while two pillows and the double pillow are built up behind me.  Single pillow #3 goes to my husband.

I have enough pillow under my head, with a bit of a rise on either side, which keeps my neck from flopping around in my sleep, and I get snuggles from two pillows.  I need lots of snuggles.

I had a “boyfriend” pillow for ages, until I had mended it so many times there wasn’t enough raggedy fabric left to keep mending the seams. I want another one! Mine was blue corduroy and, sure, left lines on my face, but was all of the comfies. Plus depending on which way I plopped it, it sufficed for everything from long reading stretches to falling asleep in bed.

Okay, now I miss my boyfriend pillow.

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