Remember water mattresses? God, those were awful. Absolutely the worst. But there is some logic behind sleeping on something that’ll contour to your body while still providing support. It’s just that it’s not all that great for your whole body. Let me introduce you to the world of water pillows.
Water pillows work on the same concept as ill-fated water mattress—giving you personalized support without the problems of normal pillows. Down and memory foam pillows can degrade over time, so even if you manage to find one that supports your head and neck perfectly, eventually the material will smush and you’ll be back at square one. Water pillows don’t really have that problem.
Short of a leak (which rarely happens in my experience), the only thing that will change the firmness of your pillow is you adding or removing water from it. It’s a simple process, and with a little patience and testing, you can get the pillow at just the firmness you need to support your head.
When you lay down on it, the water moves as needed, so the pillow will support the nape of your neck while giving away a bit for the weight of your head. I’ve had neck problems most of my adult life, and while the water pillow didn’t cure them, the amount it did help in the short amount of time was incredible, alleviating a large amount of the “quarantine tension” I built up over the last few months.
And I mean honestly, don’t we all need some good sleep right now?
If you check Amazon though, you might be a little overwhelmed with the water pillow options—as you might be for just about anything on Amazon. I’ll break down the top four options so you can pick which is best for you. Oh, and I’ve got a few sleep tips, too, because a good night’s sleep is about more than a pillow!
Original Mediflow Pillow | $50
The First & Original Water Pillow is one of the better bets if you’re going to give the world of water pillows a try, and it’s the one I ended up getting. The Mediflow pillow uses polyester and cotton to encase a water pouch, and you fill it up to your desired firmness and sleep on it. Easy! But, in case you need some specialized pillows, or are allergic to polyester, you’ve still got plenty of options.
Sleep Tip: Grab Some Satin Pillowcases to Keep Your Hair From Tangling
If you have long hair, the morning after can be a nightmare to detangle. One thing that can help is a satin pillowcase. Satin’s softness ensures your hair won’t rub against your pillow too much when you sleep, so you’ll get fewer frizzes and tangles—it’s also much cooler overall.
Mediflow’s other main water pillow offering is the memory foam pillow. This one offers a ventilated memory foam around the water pouch, so it’ll keep you cooler at night, which is very helpful during the summer, or just if you generally get hot at night. It’s also great for those allergic to polyester.
Sleep Tip: Sleep Headphones Are Fantastic for Drowning Out House Sounds
Being a light sleeper has almost no benefits and many disadvantages. Like any cash-strapped millennial, I live with multiple roommates. Unfortunately, I have the room right next to the kitchen and tend to go to bed earlier than the other occupants. Even though they’re respectful and not loud, I still have trouble getting to sleep.
Thankfully, with a good pair of sleep headphones, I can drown out most of the noise in the kitchen with some thunderstorm loops and get some rest. These headphones are designed to be comfortable to side sleepers too, so if you tend to wake up a lot at night due to house or outdoorsy noises, these will help.
FOMI’s water pillow is thinner than the competition. The main advantage of this 26” by 17” water pillow is for pregnant women—namely, they can place this under their stomachs for additional support. It’s also great for those who may want a water pillow to put between their legs for better hip alignment, a big problem for side sleepers. Out of the other reviews on this list, though, several reviews of FOMI’s mattress mention leaking problems, so make sure to test it before filling it up completely.
Sleep Tip: A Sunrise/Sunset Alarm Clock Can Help You Get to Sleep and Wake Gently
Melatonin plays a key role in helping people stay asleep. But nowadays with the blue light of our electronics, the body can produce less melatonin and it can be harder to get to sleep. But, you can help your body readjust by doing two things—first, installing software on your devices that will block blue light after certain times, and second, getting an alarm clock that replicates the effects of the sunset.
This alarm clock lets you put on a dimming light while you’re going to bed, helping to signal to your body and mind that it’s time to sleep. On top of that, when it’s time to wake up the alarm clock does so with a very gentle sunrise. Part of sleeping well is waking well, after all!
The Blissbury water pillow has a few advantages over the other competition. First off, it’s cheaper than the Mediflow pillows. While on average it’s $5 more than FOMI’s pillow, it’s also standard sized so you can get it into your normal pillowcases. Not that you’d need to, though, as it comes with its own. This one is made with polyester and bamboo, so be careful about allergies, but otherwise, it’s a solid choice.