When you hit a certain age, a number of activities you once engaged in as a youth start to cause you physical pain. Activities like running, yardwork, household chores, sitting down, standing up too fast, and sleeping.
Yes, sleeping. In fact, the sleeping thing might be the most insulting. All you want is a few hours of silent slumber to recuperate from that muscle you pulled while tangling with a fitted sheet, and the sleep itself is causing harm. Your back hurts. Your hips hurt. Your neck hurts.
As someone who had minor back surgery years ago, I know how to handle the back and hip issues. It requires a daily routine of fairly easy core exercises. So I just live with the pain because hell if I’m gonna do core exercises.
But the neck pain was something I didn’t want to live with. It made me grumpy. OK. It made me grumpier. And a grumpier Ken is no fun to live with.
Clearly the thing to do would be to go out and buy a better pillow. But I’ve watched over the years as Cara tried this pillow and that pillow and then this other pillow. The bed in one of the spare rooms is currently buried under a three-foot drift of pillows. If you ever sleep over and don’t like the pillow you’re initially given, just ask. We have about 67 backup pillows.
I tried my head on a few of those and none seemed much better than the other.
This might be due to the fact that Cara sleeps either on her back or her side. I sleep almost entirely on my stomach. (Yes, I know this is not great for my back, but it is what it is)
But recently I came across pillow reviews for stomach sleepers and the best pillow for stomach sleepers was deemed to be a Sleep Number pillow.
That made a certain kind of sense. The folks who make mattresses that can go up, down, sideways, that can get puffier or flatter, hotter or cooler, float around the room like a magic carpet, well, those folks could probably put all their science and technology into a pillow that could work for me.
The pillow is called The PlushComfort Ultimate. How awesome does that sound? Pretty awesome. Like maybe there was some nanotechnology or artificial intelligence involved.
So it was off to the Sleep Number store at the mall. (Fun fact: The mall is home to three mattress stores and a Tesla store. Sleep Number is for those who like precision and maybe numbness. Tempurpedic is for those who like to sweat their asses off at night sleeping on acoustic foam. Amerisleep is for those who want to sleep on a mattress made of flags that plays the Star Spangled Banner all night. Tesla is for those who want to sleep in a car.)
By the time we made it to Sleep Number, we’d hit about 600 other stores, and I was getting a little hangry. Still, I managed to hide my disappointment when the technology of this PlushComfort Ultimate pillow turned out to be the slumber equivalent of three kids in a trench coat. Apparently, Sleep Number has gone around to every grandmother’s house in the country and scooped up those 20-year-old flattened out pillows Mawmaw has hanging around in the back room. Then they’ve put three of those into one pillow shell. When it comes to adjusting your pillow height, the Sleep Number solution isn’t some sort of magical hydraulic system, it’s … unzipping the shell and taking out one of those flat pillows. Or maybe two! Go nuts!
So of course I bought the damn thing. For $89.99. I’m calling the Hundred Dollar Pillow because I’m dramatic and bad at math. And if they’d had the king size in stock I probably would have bought the stupid thing for twenty bucks more.
In my defense I was desperate for a solution AND they were having a buy one, get one half off sale, and Cara needed a new pillow and, honestly, I’m both a sucker and someone who has a hard time saying no to a salesperson once I’ve engaged.
Anyway, I got the pillow home and the first night decided to sleep with all three of the inserts ini there. It seemed a little high but I thought my giant watermelon of a head would flatten the thing out during the night. But my head was no match for the PlushComfort Ultimate. Indeed, the pillow put up such a fight against being mashed down, my ear hurt the next day. So I removed one of the inserts, which resulted in the $89.99 pillow feeling a lot like a Mawmaw pillow, but who was I to question the technological geniuses at Sleep Number?
And guess what? The damn thing worked.
Now, if you’re a stomach sleeper, I’m not suggesting you run out and spend a stupid amount of money on this pillow. That said if you, like me, are having issues and spend most of your nights trying to sleep in a bed on a pillow, investing in a good pillow might make sense. Even if the pillow only lasts a year, it works out to four bucks a night for better sleep. (You can trust me on this one. I used a calculator.) But if this is too rich for your bedhead, the problem might be that you’ve been using a pillow that’s too big and too firm. So maybe go down to Mawmaw’s house and see if she has a couple of them old striped down pillows hanging around. Give that a shot.