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When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, your choice of pillow can help you snooze through a full eight hours — or have you tossing and turning during half of them.
As a side sleeper, and someone who wakes up with neck pain regularly since turning 30, I am always looking for a pillow that will keep me comfortable and resting through the night.
Enter the Pillow Cube, the newest product on the market that’s making waves with its unusually thick square design and claims that it’s “the best and most comfortable pillow for side sleepers on the market!”
Intrigued, I knew I had to get my hands on this so-called superior headrest to see for myself if it really "solved side sleeping." And since I’m no expert on how to catch the best z’s, I also spoke to the professionals to get their opinions on whether or not the Pillow Cube stands up to proper sleeping standards.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room — the shape. When I first received the Pillow Cube, its block-like structure made me a skeptic from the get-go. How could a thick, 12-by-12-inch square pillow alleviate pain, promote better sleep, and feel comfortable? This question led to the overall realization that I don’t actually know much about what makes a good pillow, well, good.
According to Whitney Roban, Ph.D., Family, Educational, and Corporate Sleep Specialist; and founder of Solve Our Sleep, there are a few important factors that go into finding the right pillow.
“Your pillow choice will depend on variables such as the position you sleep in, if you sleep hot or cold, if you have allergies, if your mattress is soft or firm, and your physical characteristics, such as the size of your body, head and shoulders.”
“Newer pillows on the market offer unique shapes, often made to provide better support for side or back sleepers. These shapes may help with aches and pains associated with improper alignment while you sleep, however, if a person is a combination sleeper (you change positions throughout the night), a more standard pillow shape would work better.”
So, does this unique shape offer the comfort it promises? I admit, the first two days of testing out the Pillow Cube were a struggle. My neck had a hard time adjusting to the new height, and the smaller size didn’t lend well to switching sides smoothly. (I almost rolled off the pillow entirely a few times.) But by day three, I experienced a full night without discomfort or the urge to reposition myself. With time, my head conformed more easily to the Pillow Cube’s antimicrobial memory foam, a material that is firmer than I’d normally go for, but still very soft and expert approved.
“Memory foam is an appropriate pillow fill for most sleepers. It conforms to your head, but is also supportive, so that your head and neck are in a natural alignment,” says Roban. “The antimicrobial component reduces the buildup of bacteria, which is good for everyone, but especially allergy sufferers. However, this material can be too hot for people who tend to 'sleep hot.'”
Luckily, the Pillow Cube stays cool all night long thanks to its temperature regulating 60° Comfort Carbon Core.
It really is good for side sleepers
There are quite a few advantages to sleeping on your side. In fact, Roban recommends favoring the left side specifically to improve digestion, increase circulation, decrease snoring, improve brain health, and prevent heartburn. With so many health benefits that come with sleeping in that position, it makes sense for side sleepers to equip themselves with the right sleeping aids like the Pillow Cube, which is effectively designed to provide optimal support by filling a person’s shoulder gap and aligning the spine.
“Proper spine alignment is crucial for sleep!” says New York City-based chiropractor Tiffany Taveras, D.C. “You go about your day hustling for hours, which puts stress on the spine, and finally you come home to your bed to rest [but an] improper [sleeping] position further increases that stress.”
However, Taveras is hesitant to recommend the Pillow Cube right away because choosing a pillow is not a one size-fits-all scenario. “Some people have a wide back or a shoulder that's incredibly higher than the other. [The] Pillow Cube gives too little options for most people that have a lot more than just rounded shoulders to deal with. Also, many people don't understand their shape in terms of neck, head and shoulders.”
“What is important about a pillow is how much it is elevating you at night or extending your neck. You want a neutral position for the neck, so if the pillow is too thick (or [you’re] using too many pillows), your neck will be too forward. If the pillow height isn't enough then your neck will be too extended,” says Taveras.
Luckily for me, my body shape meshes well with the Pillow Cube. I never realized that the “hole” between my shoulder and head was something that needed more attention. But since I started using the Pillow Cube, I haven’t felt any back or neck aches. With more spinal support, even taking deep breaths feels a little different, a little easier. Best of all, the memory foam is permanently cozy, eliminating the need to ever fluff up your pillow again.
However, if you’re a roller, I’d suggest giving the Pillow Cube Pro a try. It’s 28 inches wide and is available in three different thickness sizes – 4, 5, and 6 inches.
I don’t only use it at night
What I love most about this pillow is how useful it is throughout the day. My Pillow Cube is as essential to my work-from-home setup as my desk and laptop, all because of the amazing lumbar support it offers when used as a back rest. It’s also perfect for nestling your head on while watching TV. And once traveling goes back to normal, I’ll definitely take advantage of the Pillow Cube’s compact size to make any commute a more enjoyable experience. Plus, it helps that the custom-designed pillowcase and cover are easy to remove and machine washable.
For me, the lower back and neck relief justifies the $69.99 price point. But, if you’re second guessing adding this to your cart due to the heftier price tag ($199.99), Taveras has some advice.
“I always compare a pillow purchase to a patient in terms of going out. A night of dinner and drinks is one pillow that will give you comfort for years. People are scared to spend money on what can benefit their health because the outcome isn't immediate.”
It wasn’t immediate for me, but the results (and unexpected benefits) definitely made it worth the wait.
For more stories like this, check out:
- How to pick the best pillow for a perfect night's sleep
- Real Simple Sleep Awards: 11 picks for a good night's rest
- In need of a good night's sleep? This sound machine worked wonders for me