I’ve struggled with sleeping my entire life.
If it’s not insomnia that gets me, it’s the pillow itself. For 30 years, I’ve been searching for the perfect pillow. And I’ve tried my fair share too. Soft, firm, medium — pretty much all the ones you can find at stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, and even online.
All have left me either unable to fall or stay asleep, or wake up with a terrible stiff neck or shoulder pain in the morning. It’s at the point now where I actually rotate my pillows so different areas of my neck hurt instead of getting a lot of pain in the same area.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to test out the Purple Pillow, a pillow made with hyper-elastic polymer in a stacked grid design that supports your head without totally flattening out. It’s similar to the technology in its mattresses.
The Purple Pillow was great when I slept on my back, but was terrible on my side
The Purple Pillow costs $99 and comes with a one-year warranty and a 100-night trial, so you can test it out for more than three months and return it if it doesn’t work for you.
It measures 24 inches x 16 inches x 3 inches, so it’s about the size of a standard pillow, but it’s the heaviest one I’ve ever used, weighing in at 10.2 pounds. The zippered cover is machine washable, but you’ll most likely want to use a pillowcase.
This is the best pillow I’ve ever used while sleeping on my back but it was pretty terrible while on my side. I woke up with a stiff neck and migraine after the first night of using it. Because I don’t have good luck with pillows, I thought it was just me and gave it to my husband for a night without telling him my experience. He also reported back that it was “the best pillow ever on my back, but killed my neck.”
I reached out to Purple with our experience and it confirmed that the pillow is best for back sleepers. The rep didn’t say you shouldn’t use the pillow entirely if you’re a side sleeper, and the website even shows someone sleeping on their stomach with it. For my husband and me, side sleeping was incredibly uncomfortable, but it might be different for you — that’s where the 100-night trial kicks in so you have time to assess how it works for your own body.
On my back though, it honestly felt like I was lying on a cloud. It was incredibly comfortable watching TV in bed with the pillow behind my head and I ended up falling asleep quickly on my back, which I never do. I usually sleep on my side, so I give credit to the pillow for helping me fall and stay asleep.
I even took the pillow to my yoga mat a few times and had the most relaxing meditation of my life while lying down.
But the pillow is thick and heavy, so you can’t sleep comfortably with your arms underneath
However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The pillow is flat and thick at 3 inches high, so it might take some time to adjust to it if you’re used to fluffy pillows. You have 100 nights to test out the pillow, so even if you end up with a headache or stiff neck at first, you could stick it out a bit.
The 10-pound weight of the pillow can also be seen as a pro or con, depending on your preference. While the heaviness means the pillow won’t move around while you’re sleeping, it also means it’ll be hard to sleep with your arms or hands underneath.
All in all, I’d recommend the Purple Pillow for back sleepers. After 30 years of bad pillows, this has been the only one that has helped me fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. Given my experience, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it for side or stomach sleepers, but since you can test it out for 100 nights risk-free, I’d say to at least give it a try and see how it works for your body.