Happy Easter And Also A Question

For some reason I feel the need to tell you that I am typing this post on HIGH ALERT. Alex went to bed about thirty minutes ago, and he wasn’t feeling so hot. His main complaints were a stomachache and “a shaky feeling,” so I feel like we are now on a countdown for Stomach Virus ’13. I’m trying to remember that his late afternoon “snack” of chocolate cake and Sour Patch Kids may very well be the cause of his stomach woes, and as much as I hate to see the little guy not feeling his best, I have to say that I’ll take the fallout from a sugar high over a stomach bug any day of the week. And I’ll take it ALL. DAY. LONG.

Clearly he felt much better earlier.

 photo Easter_zps47b9c33f.jpg

(I did something weird when I was making that little collage and now the right side isn’t the same size as the left side.)

(I’m going to go ahead and post it as-is, but if you wake up tomorrow and the whole world has in fact fallen apart as the result of my sloppy collage skills, then please know that I’m just as sorry as I can be.)

So I was going to tell you all about our Saturday in Mississippi at my parents’ house and our very relaxing Easter Sunday here in Birmingham, but David just walked by, saw me writing a blog post, and said, “Can you please see if somebody can help us with our pillow situation?”

And yes. Yes, I can.

Perhaps I should explain.

We have an obnoxious number of pillows on every bed in this house. On our bed we have all the shams and decorative what-nots – and then we have four king-sized pillows that I absolutely despise. They look pretty when the bed is made, but if there’s a way to sleep comfortably on them, I have yet to figure that out. On our guest room bed we also have all the shams and decorative what-nots – and then about six regular bed pillows stacked behind the decorative stuff. We haven’t always had that many pillows in the guest room, but over the holidays we had a ton of company, and I kept moving pillows to that bed so that people would have plenty of pillow options. And since I don’t like the king-sized pillows on our bed, I will occasionally grab one of the standard pillows in the guest room and try to make it work for me.

(Please add the previous paragraph to your file folder that has “Trivial First World Problems” written on the outside of it.)

(Because GAH.)

Anyway, for the last couple of months I’ve been waking up with weird tension headaches. At first I thought it was sinus ish-ahs, but after sleeping on a delightful pillow when I was in Dallas for dotMOM and waking up headache-free, I realized that what I’m dealing with is a pillow problem. Sure enough, the headaches started again when I got home, and I think this is because I either sleep with my head too high when I try to use one of the king-sized pillows, and when I try one of our standard pillows, they are all so BROKE DOWN that I end up stacking a couple of them on top of each other and sleeping with my neck kind of jacked up off the mattress.

Doesn’t that sound comfortable? And also refreshing?

D has also started waking up with pillow-related headaches and neck aches (he had a pillow that he loved, but alas, it is old and tired), and we have come to the conclusion that we are in need of a pillow overhaul in our house (and especially in our room). We don’t like all-feather pillows because they make me sneeze and itch, two conditions that you’d really like to avoid when you’re trying to rest. Honestly, the fact that our pillows have even become an issue makes me feel like we’re 109 – I mean, when I was in college, I could sleep with my head on the arm of a sofa and wake up feeling 72 kinds of refreshed – but I guess pillow problems are one of the unexpected perks of the 40s.

And when I say “perks,” what I really mean is “SWEET MERCY THIS MAKES ME FEEL OLD.”

D and I both want pillows that are supportive – but by the same token they need to have some give (to avoid the aforementioned sensation of feeling like my head is resting six inches above the mattress). Also, we’ve tried those sculpted memory foam pillows that are supposed to be good for neck alignment or whatever, but I found that particular option to be so burning up hot that I wondered OH MY WORD HOW IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A PILLOW TO BE MADE OF FIRE?

So that pillow is probably not the solution.

Do any of you have any standard pillow suggestions? Any brands you’d recommend? If I sound a little desperate, that’s because I am.

Well, as desperate as a person can be about pillows. Which, honestly, is probably fairly low on the desperation scale.

Thanks in advance for your help – and I hope y’all had a wonderful Easter!

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  1. Tammy Elrod says:

    Well, I am out of ideas as my tempurpedic (sp?) pillow is the best and surprisingly, it is not hot at all to me and I have major issues with night sweats. You might want to check this option again as they now have memory foam with a cooling core (we have that type of mattress) and it is heavenly.


      Oh. I am so intrigued.

      • I have seen these at sam’s club recently- and have wondered myself, cooling core? I am 46 and have found that the olden days of sleeping on the high loft pillows are over, and sadly have had to face the fact that old people need support. Having spent many a high $$ only to pass them on to my kids or relatives because they are not comfy, may I respectfully recomend the “signature collection side sleeper” pillow from JC Penneys. It’s $55 of money well spent, it stays cool, supports my head and neck and doesn’t even shame me when I sleep on my stomach (even though it has “side sleeper” in it’s name it appears to be an equal opportunity pillow and does not judge how one chooses to sleep..). Funny story- left this pillow in a hotel room in New Mexico (won’t leave home without it..it travels well) and called to check on it every day until my return trip to pick it up. I felt like I had lost my best friend, and barely slept a wink until I got it back. Give it a try- you have 30 days to return it if you don’t like it!

  2. Christine says:

    Do you have an Ikea nearby? We buy the Ikea “down alternatives” which are squishy like feather pillows, but hypoallergenic and washable. They have several levels of firmness too. If you try them, don’t try to save money on the almost-squishy ones–they will never squish down like you hope they will and will always be too firm for sleeping.

  3. I like my Tempurpedic, too. the newer ones may be worth a try.

    Also, make sure you have a carbon monoxide monitor that’s working properly, just on case you have a small leak which could cause headache.

    Finally, sleep in a cold room. If the problem is sinus, heat from the furnace could be the culprit.

  4. Andrea B. says:
  5. Merri Jo says:

    We, too suffered pillow-induced aggravation and after 3 or 4 purchases & returns (hate the memory foam!) we discovered the down-alternative pillows at COSTCO! I never thought I’d type that sentence! My hubby likes them”more than I ever knew I could like a pillow”, and I no longer have neck/shoulder pain. You can choose between stomach, side, and back sleeper versions. I also despise king pillows, so I ‘shorten’ the king cases that come in sheet sets—that sentence gets me eye rolls quite often. :-). Sleep well!

  6. Our pillows were $4 each at Walmart, and totally worth what I paid, so if you find a good one, share, please! You could call the hotel in Frisco and find out what kind of pillows they use.

  7. Water pillow. Seriously. You know how crappy water beds are? Never fear with the water pillow!

    Just the bottom has water in it, so you can just fill it as much as you need to!

  8. my tempurpedic is MY LIFE. I don’t go anywhere without it. Give it one more try!

  9. Trisha : ) says:

    We prefer the foam rubber ones, but you have to leave them outside for a few days to air them out before you can sleep on them. Unless you like the rubbery smell……ack. They have the right proportions of bouncy-non-squishy-suppporty-ness we like. And we also get the regular size pillows and I shorten the king size pillow cases to fit too.
    : )

  10. Meredith says:

    After searching forever and trying a bunch, I found the perfect king size extra firm pillow. I don’t like down or down alternative. Laura Ashley extra firm king size pillows from Bed Bath and Beyond.

  11. I use a “water pillow”. It’s basically like a regular pillow but the back side has a leak proof pouch that you fill with water to get it to the height that you prefer. I bought it from my chiropractor and it has really helped me with my neck issues. I think the brand name is Chiro Flow but if you look on Amazon they have similiar lower priced items.

  12. Sounds silly as all get out, but, we LOVE the My Pillow pillows. You know the one from the infomercial? You order by the size of your body so mine is a little different from Hubby’s. Try ’em, you’ll like ’em!

  13. I read your post as I was laying on my pillow and I jumped out of bed to find you the link to the best one ever!:) I am so relieved to hear you say that your pillow was causing you headaches…until I bought this pillow I would complain that I needed a new pillow every 6 months or so. My husband thought I was crazy! THEN, I found this pillow http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-c33110/home-classics-memory-foam-2-in-1-bed-pillow.jsp at Kohl’s and I’ve been happily sleeping on it for well over a year! It’s a little pricier than I would have typically paid, but you can usually find them 50% off AND you can find someone with a 30% coupon!:) It’s got memory foam on one side (which I typically don’t like), but the other side is like a down alternative. The combination is just perfect! I hope your pillow hunt is successful!:)

  14. Well I’m throwing the tempurpedic type pillow back at you too. Try them again, my husband is 1 step away from being his own nuclear thermal heater & you couple that with the loveliness that comes with the mid 40’s then we are like Louisiana in August fun to sleep with. We just purchased a new Grand Bed from Tempurpedic and we are totally in LOVE with it and neither of us find it hot at all. However they threw in these new pillows for us when we got the bed and we totally are in love with them too!! http://www.mattressfirm.com/Coconut-Bliss-Pillow-P236.aspx We had regular Tempurpedic pillows before and we thought they were crazy great but these are cooler and more flexible. (Don’t worry, I can’t even smell the coconut at all). Also whenever you switch you pillows make sure you sleep every other night on the new one for a few nights then two nights with new and 1 with the old for another week and then you should be adjusted to the new pillow. That was the best advice we got with our new pillows!! Good luck & happy sleep!

  15. I used to always have headaches and stiff neck until I got my Temperpedic. Best pillow ever!

  16. Great post! This is a conversation my husband and I have most nights! It is so hard to spend $60 on a pillow in a plastic bag that I haven’t even tried out “properly”. How does one “try out properly” a pillow standing up? We get to lie down on a mattress before purchase–why can’t we take a brief horizontal nap as a trial run with a pillow? I tried lying down in the aisle at Target once but then, it was a public floor and I couldn’t bring myself to actually take the pillow home since it had been on the floor. Keep us posted on your pillow quest!

  17. Thank you for addressing this topic. I have not had a comfortable pillow in at least five years. I would love to go back to 1997 and purchase more jersey knit pillows from Target. I had the same one for at least a decade until I realized that I had it for at least a decade, decided that was incredibly unsanitary, and threw it out. It was always the most comfortable pillow in the world. I feel so stupid for choosing sanitation over comfort.

  18. We love the Biltmore brand at Belk. They have several different options of firmness and fillings. My husband trew away my old pillow that was my first love, so I had to go shopping for a new one. I tried many, many kinds and finally found one of the Biltmore that worked for me.

  19. We love the Isotonic Indulgence pillows. You can get different types depending on how you sleep (on back, side or stomach). Bed, Bath & Beyond has them.

  20. My takeaways from this post 1) a list of potential pillow replacements for our $9.99 pillows that we constantly complain about but are too overwhelmed by choices to actually you know, replace them and 2) people are PASSIONATE about their pillows! Love it! :)

  21. Anita K says:

    My suggestion – run to your nearest IKEA (if you have one near you) and check out their selection. They have the “side sleepers” and “back sleepers” types of pillows in all sizes (standard, queen, king) and at a decent price (I think the last time I bought some a few months ago, the kings were $15 each.)

  22. I’m a down pillow girl, so I’m no help to you, but I will say that we prefer 3 standard pillows across our king sized bed as opposed to 2 king sized pillows. I prefer soft, squishy pillows for sleeping on, but in the center of the bed, I have one of those thick, heavy tempurpedic pillows because it’s a great backrest for when I want extra support.

  23. You should totally get a water pillow! You can fill it to whatever size you like… Although my chiropractor was surprised to hear that I had filled mine up to the maximum allowed. He’d never known someone to have done that before, but my neck is thanking me!

  24. My husband straight-up LOVES this pillow from Costco:

    It stays cool all the time (probably like the Tempurpedic ones others have talked about.) Probably the best $35 he’s spent in ages.

  25. Whitney Alexander says:

    Polo Ralph Lauren Extra Firm pillows. They’re white with a navy or red piping on them and an embroidered American flag on the bottom corner. They’re usually cheap at TJ Maxx or Stein Mart– around $10-20. BEST PILLOW EVER. Supportive but gives some. Cured my nighttime headaches and neck aches.

  26. I can only imagine the great delight Melanie is going to get from reading these comments. I bet she’s taking a few pages of notes too. ;)

  27. I haven’t personally tried this, but someone at work told me they tried it and it has changed their neck, back, and headaches forever. It’s called My Pillow and you go to a website and tell it what kind of sleeper you are and they custom make this pillow for you. Apparently Don Imus (he’s a talk radio personality) raves about it on his show, but not a paid advertiser.

  28. Thanks so much, y’all, for all the suggestions – I am in the process of looking every single one of these up on the interwebs. My neck is eternally grateful to you. :-)

  29. Jennifer says:

    I have used the foam rubber pillows (not memory foam) since I was a child. They are not hot, but still supportive and squishy at the same time. They are kind of hard to find in stores, though, but I’m sure you could get one online. Please let us know how the pillow saga unfolds!

  30. Debbie W. says:

    My husband and I have dealt with the same issues and I have spent more money than I would like to think about trying to find the best pillows for us, but finally did find one that we both like. It is the Kohl’s Home Classics Down Surround Firm Support Pillow. It has addressed our pillow issues, but the only drawback is that it only comes in standard/queen size, not king. I am thinking about ordering the Extra Firm one since I am a side sleeper and that might work even better for me. With the Kohl’s sales and coupons, I didn’t spend that much on mine at all. Good luck!

  31. Laura Beth says:

    I know. It’s $70, but it is SO worth it. The IsoCool technology is the part I’m recommending, because I personally believe that everyone’s pillow thickness and fluffiness preferences are different. But seriously, this thing draws heat away from you somehow, so it really does stay cool. If you like to stay cool at night, they also make a mattress pad that does the same thing. We actually had to take it off and get a regular one in late fall because it was keeping us *too* cool. http://denvermattress.furniturerow.com/dmc/Perfect-Harmony-Isocool-Mattress-Pad-Group–/Perfect-Harmony-Isocool-Mattress-Pad/prod531813/#.UVrPrxlAuSQ
    Good luck!!

  32. Just wanted you to know… thanks to your “pillow mentoring” post I went right out and used my Valentine gift certificate at Bed Bath and Beyond and had a heavenly night sleep on my new Isotonic Indulgence pillow! I have been trying out pillows since our Golden Retriever had 12 puppies on our water bed and my pillow in 1985…IT WAS TIME! Thank you.
    I have already pulled out a tissue after reading chapter one! Precious! Can’t wait to get the book in my hands! Congratulations!

  33. Cassidy says:

    So, to add one more to the list … my husband recently bought one of these “buckwheat” pillows and loves it. It seems kind of loud in my opinion … maybe next time he travels for work, I’ll try it out and see if it’s really all he thinks it is. :)

  34. Well, my pillow and mattress are both Tempur-Pedic so I can relate all-too-well to the desire for a less fire-y option, but alas, they were our last purchases before we started having kiddos and there is no way we’re going to swallow our pride and admit that forking over that much hard-earned-cash for a mattress and pillows that feel like they’re smoldering beneath your tired body was a bad idea and buy new ones, so I am no help there. Wow. That is an intense run-on.

    I hope Alex wasn’t coming down with the flu like my 3 kiddos because staying cooped up in quarantine for over a week is not what I wish for y’all.

  35. KimberlyC says:

    I bought a latex foam pillow from JC Penny’s 7 years ago and have loved it ever since. My husband also has one and sleeps great. Happy Pillow Hunting!

  36. I have the one from SAMs (memory foam with a pink cooling pad just under the cover). I.LOVE.IT!!! I, too, was waking up with tension headaches and neck pain from an old pillow. I tend to like flipping my pillow to the cold side during the night too because I don’t love a hot sweaty pillow. This new pillow is heavenly! I paid $30 and typically buy the cheapest of cheap but the waking up with a pain in the neck had to stop. Hubs did not like it, but he only tried it for 3 minutes and took it back. Give it longer than 3 minutes. That’s my advice. Good luck!!

  37. I’d definitely go with a tempurpedic pillow!!!!!!!!!!! Have you tried that?????????

  38. I love my Tempur-Pedic pillow. Following a disc fusion in my neck, I had trouble finding the right pillow. The Tempur-Pedic was the answer to that. My husband sleeps on a Serta pillow designed for side-sleepers that he really likes. I think I purchased it at JC Penney.

  39. Sorry I’m just reading this post but the best pillows in the world are the LATEX pillows by the Jamison mattress people. We seriously cannot sleep without them & lug them in their plastic carrying cases everywhere we go!! If you haven’t bought anything yet hurry to a furniture store that sells Jamison & give them a try. Good luck!

  40. I’m a little late to this but wanted to throw in that we had similar pillow issues at our house. My husband is on a never ending quest to find THE perfect pillow that won’t give him headaches (resulting in a huge investment made on a large assortment of pillows that he doesn’t like) . We found these talalay latex pillows that are a miracle for us. We no longer wake up with headaches.


    They have two sizes depending on high you like for your pillow to be. We found that the lower one was a bit too low (our son uses that one) but the higher one works great for us.

    Good luck finding one that works for you!