Pregnancy insomnia is no joke, yo. I am literally writing this blog post after tossing and turning for hours and then finally saying, screw it, I’m getting out of bed… at 3:30am! (I swear, if someone makes one more “you won’t get any sleep once the new baby arrives” jokes, I might just snap! Like, you think I am getting sleep NOW?!)
For a mother of toddlers, the art of getting a good night’s sleep is a topic I feel strongly about, and have blogged about frequently in the past. Check out these past blog posts I have written on the topic of sleep:
While I have to be brutally honest and admit that after three pregnancies, I have still yet to find a solid third trimester insomnia cure, (and trust me, I have TRIED!) I can at least share the biggest tips based on what has helped ease my tossing and turning the most. Ahem, are you ready?
– No caffeine before bedtime.
– No smart phones or laptops in bed.
– Wear comfortable and breathable pajamas.
– Drink a relaxing herbal tea before sleep.
– Make your bed with fresh sheets before getting into it (not sure why this helps, but it TOTALLY does!)
– Lastly (and perhaps most importantly).. make sure you are sleeping with a comfortable pillow with ample support between your knees!
Why Pillows Are A (Pregnant) Girls Best Friend
Midwives and doctors strongly recommended sleeping on your left side throughout pregnancy, and for good reason. Your liver – one of the most important organs in your body – is located in your abdomen on the right side. You will want to keep pressure off your liver so it can function optimally, especially as you get bigger.
Sleeping on the left side also puts less pressure on the vena cava, the large vein that carries blood from the lower part of your body back to your heart. Sleeping on the left side can allow for better blood circulation, which reduces swelling, particularly in the ankles. (If you haven’t experienced pregnancy cankles yet, just wait!)
So here we are, 20 (for me 30!) pounds heavier and stuck on our sides. How do we get comfortable?!
Pillows! Pillows, pillows, soft, heavenly, wonderful pillows! These soft, squishy things can become a pregnant mamas best friend. I am not just talking about pillows for your head… I have personally found that a pillow for between your knees is almost as important as one for your head!
A pillow to hug or keep between your knees will help to keep your hips more aligned and goes a VERY long way toward preventing back pain, easing pinched nerves, and making the stuck-on-your-left-side-for-weeks-on-end much more bearable – and even comfortable at times! *gasp!*
Finding the Perfect Pillow
It is SUPER important to realize that not all pillows are created equal. I am a bit of a pillow junky myself (I have, at the moment, 8 pillows I rotate through from time to time, ranging from top of the line to Costco corner rack specials), and the two I favor also happen to be my oldest and highest in quality… they were an investment, but their longevity and health boosting, sleep enhancing benefits make it SO WORTH IT… I can definitely vouch for the importance of investing in quality pillows.
All of that is to say that I was super excited to have recently discovered Slumbr, an all-about-pillows company that has recently launched a Pillow Menu of exceptionally comfy, unique pillows. They have worked hard at making finding a pillow personal to your individual sleep style redunkulously simple with their Pillow Quiz and other online tools. (To develop their Menu and Quiz, they evaluated over 250 pillow options and tested the best with real sleepers in their homes!)
As opposed to most memory foam pillows, none of their pillows use flame retardants (which many believe to be a leading cause of cancers, especially breast cancers!), and they strive to source their pillows with sustainability in mind. You can find more information about the chemical, environmental and safety standards of their pillow products by clicking here.
The Ara pillow is filled with U.S.-grown, 100% organic buckwheat hull fill that molds and shapes to the contours of your body for personal support. It’s main points are that it:
– Has an ultra-firm feel that is therapeutic for neck and back pain
– Is hypoallergenic and naturally resists dust mites and allergens
– Is smaller sized (14″ x 20″), and comes with a fit-to-size unbleached cotton pillowcase
– Is all-natural
The Virgo pillow is made of super-soft down, is scrunchable, and can be folded up if desired for extra support. The ultra-thin layer of cushiony softness is made primarily for stomach sleepers, but is a perfect between the knees pillow – it’s thinner, low-profile, and pliable enough to fold to suit the ever changing needs of pregnant mamas. It’s also great for cuddling!
My Experience With Slumbr Pillows
You know you live in a crunchy family when the entire clan gets excited over new, sustainable and natural pillows in the mail! We literally had to FIGHT over who gets to try the buckwheat pillow first, haha!
In a nutshell, (this post is already pushing 1000 words – yikes!) here is the rundown of thoughts / impressions:
MY THOUGHTS ON THE ARA AND VIRGO: I have personally been aching to try a buckwheat pillow for some time now – for far too many reasons to get into in THIS post. (I smell another blog post brewing!) So I was very excited to try this one out. But I was a little disappointed to find that I am just too light of a sleeper during the third trimester to really give this pillow a fair review.
The main claim to fame for buckwheat pillows is that the pressure exerted by your head semi-locks the buckwheat hulls into place, giving you an ergonomically correct sleeping posture, which can shift and adjust when you reposition and move them around again. Being in a massive tossing and turning and readjusting the pillow between my knees, and kicking off blankets to pull them back up again, and getting up to pee every five seconds kind of funk… well, the constant readjusting of the buckwheat, coupled with the super faint noise the pillow makes when shifting around was just too distracting for me to get restful sleep! So I am going to have to give this beauty a try again AFTER the baby and see what I think in all fairness.
Now the Virgo pillow! It is a very very VERY thin pillow for tummy sleepers, and as such I don’t see myself using it past pregnancy (I am a back / side sleeper primarily), but it is PERFECT for cuddling, and folding up between my knees. You pregnant mamas out there know that one moment you will need very little support between the knees, and then with just the tiniest shift of a vertebrae, you need more. This pillow is wonderful for folding, and unfolding, and molding to your needs. It is also lightweight enough to be unobtrusive when you need to kick the pillow aside for a pillow-free moment. (I tried the buckwheat pillow between my knees, but it just had too much weight to it to feel comfortable, at least for me.) Would definitely recommend this versatile pillow for pregnant mamas – especially if you are a tummy sleeper, since you can use it AFTER the baby. OR, if you want a long term quality investment pillow to give to your kiddos after!
MY HUSBANDS THOUGHTS ON THE ARA: First off, my husband hasn’t tried the Virgo because I have officially claimed it for my own nightly use, haha! He DID try the buckwheat, but found that he prefers his primary pillow. (A Bed Bath and Beyond pillow we invested in back when we bought our first house almost five years ago!) For the buckwheat, he found the size too small and the texture too firm for his liking. So after a one night trial on his part, the kiddos got a turn next….
MY TODDLERS THOUGHTS ON THE ARA AND VIRGO: Some think kids can be happy sleeping anywhere, and in any crazy position imaginable. And to an extend this is totally true! Lol! But good sleeping hygiene and habits start young, and I firmly believe giving my kids a chemical free, natural, hypoallergenic and ergonomically correct pillow is a GOOD thing to start young! Now, we have been co-sleeping with our two and four year old for the past four years, and have only just recently begun the transition for our oldest into her own bed each night. (By “just recently” I mean literally within the last three weeks. The pillows arrived a couple of days after Tessa began sleeping in her own bed through the night.) With the transition, my four year old has straight up claimed the buckwheat pillow as her own. She LOVES the bean bag quality of the pillow, and gets a child-like joy of scrunching it up to her liking.
I thought the kiddos would fight over who gets the buckwheat, but my two year old Thyme actually wants / likes the Virgo pillow best! She is a back sleeper, but being so tiny, she thinks the ultra-thin pillow is just right.. she even hugs up to it and sleeps with her upper shoulders snuggled into the softness, without her head being cranked up at a sharp angle, like you get with most standard adult pillows. I am due with my third kiddo any day now, so once I no longer need a between the knees pillow, I am definitely gifting the Virgo to Thyme!
Anyhoo, I rambled on WAY longer than I intended to with this post, haha! But hey, it’s a topic I get passionate about! (Boy, being an adult is way different than I had envisioned…)
If you are curious as to which pillow would be perfect for YOUR unique body and sleeping habits, I encourage you to check out the Pillow Quiz on the Slumbr website by CLICKING HERE.
[Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this review. I am an independent product reviewer. I only review products I am truly interested in. I don’t accept payment for reviews. The products I take the time to jabber on about are either items I have personally purchased, or the product has been provided for review – generally after me initiating contact and incessantly nagging for a sample. All of my reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained.]