It took me a while to realize it, but now I get it. The pillow you sleep on each night is every bit as important as the mattress you sleep on. If you’ve been reading BNOTP for a while, you may remember that last November I purchased a new mattress set. It had been a very long time since I last bought a new a mattress and I was long overdue for a new one.
I’ve been very happy with the mattress I chose, it’s great! Unfortunately, about a week or two after I purchased the mattress I did something I really wish I had not done. I got rid of my old pillows. For some crazy reason I figured since I had a brand new mattress set, it was time for two new pillows, too. Big mistake!
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about decorative pillows, the pillows seen on the bed in this picture below. I’m talking about the pillow I sleep on each night.
I’m a back sleeper, I’ve slept on my back for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure when that first started, but I know it’s been that way at least since high school. I’m glad I’ve always been a back sleeper because somewhere over the years I remember reading that sleeping on your side can actually lead to increased facial wrinkles.
This morning, as I was writing this article, I decided to google to see if that was really true or if it was something I had just imagined having read. I didn’t just imagine it, here’s what Web MD says:
The Great Pillow Search
Since I tossed out my old pillows and have been sleeping on a new one, I’ve discovered some really bad things, things so negative I felt the need to create this post in case anyone else is having these problems.
A little background: I’ve always preferred a flat pillow, I can’t stand to sleep with my head tilted forward. When I travel and stay in nice hotels, I’m rarely happy with the pillows they offer. It seems they are either super fat and fluffy, thus tilting my neck and head drastically forward OR they are filled with down which means my head sinks waaaay down into the pillow and it curls up and around both sides of my face. Ugh.
After I got rid of my old pillows back in November, I went in search of new ones. I shopped all the local nearby stores (Bed, Bath and Beyond, HomeGoods, Marshalls) and finally chose two that looked higher than I wanted but were the flattest I could find.
How have they worked? Not good. Despite buying the flattest ones I could find, they are still too tall. I’ve purposely been sleeping on the same one each night, thinking that after a while it would start to flatten down. It has a little, but not near enough. It’s March now, 4-5 months is a long time to test drive a pillow and still not like it.
I have finally decided I have to do something about this issue because I’ve noticed two very disturbing things that I’m now doing, disturbing enough I’m dedicating a whole post to this pillow issue!
1. I’m randomly waking up 1-2 times each night. I’ve NEVER done that before. Usually when I go to sleep, I sleep the entire night (7-8 hours) without awakening even once. Waking up multiple times each night started after I purchased the new pillows.
2. I’ve noticed I’m waking up on my side. Sometime during the night I’m rolling over onto my side. When I awaken, the arm I’ve been laying on always hurts and when I’m brushing my teeth and looking at myself in the mirror, I always have deep creases on the side of my face and on my chest just below my neck, something I’ve never had before. Fortunately, they seem to go away after a couple of hours, but I have a feeling if I continue sleeping on my side, they will become permanent. And who wants wrinkles any sooner than we have to get them!
So, this has to stop…it’s time to fix this problem once and for all. I refuse to cheat myself out of a good nights sleep and to age myself prematurely due to sleeping on too tall, overly stuffed pillows!
Last night I drove over to a local big box store to see if I could find a really flat pillow. Nope. All the ones I saw were very similar to the ones I had purchased that are too tall.
I noticed the “travel” pillows (which are tiny and are probably meant to be used in cars and on planes) were pretty flat. I purchased one to just see how it slept. Here’s what happened. I slept the entire night without awakening even once…a good 8 hours sleep! When I awoke this morning, I was still sleeping on my back. Yay! There really is something to this pillow thing!
Unfortunately, I awoke with my back hurting…you know, the way our back sometimes feels the first night of vacation when you’re sleeping in a hotel on a mattress you’re not used to. So what this basically tells me is I’m headed in the right direction, but the travel pillow probably isn’t quite it.
Thinking back to my old pillow and why it worked for me, I realize that because it was so old, it was kind of malleable. At night, I was always able to squish it around a little, pushing some of the stuffing inside to where it completely supported my neck, while letting my head kind of rest down into the center depression that naturally occurred from pushing the stuffing up under my neck.
So here’s what I’ve done so far: today I ordered two pillows on Amazon. The first one below supposedly conforms to your head and neck and is pretty flat. The second one sort of looks like the shape I think I was creating with my old, more malleable pillow. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of these works. I guess in the meantime, while I wait for these to arrive, I’ll keep sleeping on my teeny little travel pillow.
I’ll be sure to let you know how these work for me. It’s hard to put a price on a good night’s sleep but it can totally make or break how you feel and function the following day.
Anyone else out there as pillow picky as I am? Anyone else need a flat pillow to sleep comfortably? If you do and you have one you adore, please share the name of it and where you bought it!
See the mattress I purchased and really like in this previous post: Create A Winter Retreat