- Value: 19/20
- Functionality: 19/20
- Quality: 20/20
- Aesthetics: 17/20
- Comfort: 19/20
- TOTAL: 94/100
Fluffy pillows, I quit you.
Well, fluffy pillows, I don't exactly quit you, but I'm saving you for sitting up in bed to binge watch or work. When it comes to actually hunkering down to S-L-E-E-P—like seriously get my recuperative nighttime rest on—I'm a convert to the Pillow Cube, the block of firm foam that would be voted "Least Likely to Succeed as a Pillow" in its high school yearbook (and yet is the best damn pillow I've ever had).
The Pillow Cube is specially designed to keep your neck and spine in alignment when you lay on your side (74 percent of us assume that position, with women twice as likely as men to sleep in a side fetal position). The Pillow Cube designers claim is that if you have a nice straight spine, you'll sleep better, with fewer aches and better comfort all-round. Thing is, that fluffy pillow you sink into? It might be giving you neck strain, as it labors to support your head (which weighs between 10 and 12 pounds...who knew?).
So all of that science made sense to me, but I thought that tossing and turning and doubling up a bunch of down pillows was just...what going to sleep is? So I half-heartedly ordered the Pillow Cube Sidekick, at 12 inches x 12 inches x 4 inches tall, it's the brand's smallest size (there's a thicker model for those above 6 foot three inches). It came in a recyclable box, squished in the way of foam mattress deliveries these days, and I unwrapped it, let it fluff up a bit, and put on its specially sewn cube-shaped pillowcase.
Then, come nighttime, I slipped it under my ear and...ew, why would I want to sleep on this ultra-firm foam cube? This is not what sleeping is! So, after rejecting it in favor of my regular pillows, I glared at the Pillow Cube for a few days, sitting smug with its science-y airs on my bed. Then, one night when I was sleepless, obsessing about who knows what, I thought oh why not...and again nestled the square pillow under my ear.
And from that night on, my Pillow Cube and I have been enjoying a love affair that is forever spring. That's because—and I'm just describing, not giving an anatomy lesson here—it feels like when I lay my head on the pillow, I can actually fully relax into the foam (which has a top layer of softness which does "give," while it really holds my head up and my neck straight). Not only that, but now when I lay down, the supported feeling signals to me that it's time to sleep in a way that no tower of goose down filling ever has. So I don't drift off as much as sink fast into slumber. And when I wake, I don't have the stiff neck or frozen shoulder I suffered intermittently before.
There's a longer version of the cube that's equally supportive, created for people who alternate sleep sides, and a cooling version made of heat-wicking fibers for those of us who are always pillow-flipping to access a cooler feel. These innovations sound great, but they don't address the main problem that I have with my Pillow Cube, which is its odd looks...sorry, but there's no place in my carefully curated bed / pillow / comforter situation for this gawky but sleep-inducing little guy. It's fine—I just tuck it behind my king-size pillows and accent Euro square, and both my spine and my aesthetic sensibility are satisfied.