Picks

I Microwave This Pillow Every Day, and Then Fall Asleep

After a two-minute nuke, the toasty pillow has a multitude of uses.

Sonoma Lavender Neck Pillow
The best sleep aid I’ve found.

In the extremely niche, but rather important, field of microwavable lavender neck pillows, I consider myself an expert. I’ve tried numerous brands in all shapes with varying quantities of lavender filler. As a freelance writer working mostly from home, I have ample opportunity to indulge — I use one just about every day.

The one neck pillow that rises above them all (the version that feels most comfortable and soothing after, and even during, long days of responding to editors’ emails) is this one by Sonoma. Yes, it’s slightly more expensive, but as someone who’s experimented with lesser versions (and the Amazon reviews will attest to this), it’s the best able to withstand frequent microwaving without losing its warm lavender punch. The secret is the filling, composed of dried lavender leaves and flaxseed, which apparently retains heat in a way other lavender pillows could only dream about.

The pillow is made by a family in the hills of Sonoma, California — how positively zen — and has the perfect weight while resting on the shoulders, somewhere between a statement necklace and an albatross. I can speak from personal experience to how relaxing it is, but in the name of scholarship (which I did through my somehow-still-not-expired college-research-database login), I found studies that lavender has been shown to stabilize mood, reduce anxiety, and improve concentration. It’s particularly useful for the freelance writer’s main affliction: computer neck.

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.

Sonoma Lavender Pillow