A fully grown friend of mine recently used the phrase “attachment object” about her silicone-encased water bottle, and hearing her do that gave me permission to do the same about something I can’t live without: my dorky little eye pillow. About the size and weight of a kitten (if a kitten were boneless), my lavender eye pillow has become something of a pet to me. I fret when I can’t find it.
I bought it a year ago, shortly before turning 32, which must be the age at which a person becomes extra fussy about her sleep. By now, the gunmetal gray silk is spackled with sooty half-moons of mascara. The material doesn’t just feel good — its frictionless texture helps prevent wrinkles. You must know how good it feels to refuse the world in this way, to literally shut the light out.
The thing is soothing as an object in my hands even before I plop its lightly fragrant weight across my eye sockets. The pillow is filled with organic flaxseed and lavender, which means that when you microwave it for 30 seconds, it becomes a warm, scented beanbag that immediately creates a state of relaxation (People like to use it during savasana, that part of yoga during which you just lie on the floor. The best part.)
I like to play my own game with it, holding it up by one end for the dumb pleasure of gravity, the sensation of its mass rustling downward — even the sound has a mild soporific effect. Which is, I guess, the whole point of a sleep aid. Once the thing’s plopped on my face, I’m completely out. I’d liken it to throwing a blanket over a bird in a cage — my mind goes as flaccid as the pillow itself, and I’m fast-tracked to pleasant oblivion. If I’m traveling, even just for a night, I’ll take it with me. At this point, I should really just buy a few more. I can’t sleep without it.
Other Strategist-approved Sleep Effects
For a different kind of eye mask (one that rests around rather than upon the eyes), writer Maureen O’Connor recommends the Bucky: “I put the mask on and opened my eyes — it was like being inside a sealed cave. The molded-foam material is so lightweight that you barely feel like you’re wearing anything on your face. You are free to blink in total darkness. This liberation of masked eyelids is, I assume, why the mask has become a best seller for the Seattle-based brand. I’ve worn it on economy-class transatlantic flights. I’ve worn it on trips upstate with friends who insist on waking up with the sun. I’ve become an evangelist, sending masks to every sleepless person I know — and, over time, to the vain as well.”
If you’re looking for a microwaveable lavender moment for your neck, instead, consider writer Alex Ronan’s favorite pillow. She says, “Sometimes, I don’t even use it on my neck. After a two-minute nuke, the toasty pillow has a multitude of uses. I’ll sprawl out with it on my stomach when I have cramps or have eaten too much takeout. I’ll retreat to bed and drape the whole thing over my face if I’m feeling particularly unable to face the world. Occasionally, I drift off to sleep and wake up sweaty-faced. Otherwise, I’ll just lie there for a few serene minutes, breathing deeply — before I get up to fix about a hundred comma splices.”
Now that you’re sleeping on your back, consider a pillow designed for especially that. Alison Freer tipped us off to the best-selling Tri-Core pillow: “With the Tri-Core pillow, your head rests in a little recessed pocket in the middle of the pillow, resulting in stellar neck support and near-perfect spinal alignment. It also allows you to sleep on your back all night long, by supporting your neck without pitching your skull forward at an awkward angle.
As a lifetime side-sleeper, I’ve now converted to sleeping on my back (and therefore not crushing my already-painful shoulder). The experience has been revelatory.”
Slate has relationships with various online retailers. If you buy something through our links, Slate may earn an affiliate commission. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change. All prices were up to date at the time of publication.