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.
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
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:
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.
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?