I Never Slept with a Pillow Until I Tried This Cooling, Eco-Friendly, Memory Foam One

I Never Slept with a Pillow Until I Tried This Cooling, Eco-Friendly, Memory Foam One

And now, I'll never go back.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Honestly, I never saw a point in sleeping with a pillow. My mom slept with six in an upright position, and it looked uncomfortable. I remember being alone in the house and using her bed to take a nap and, against my better judgment, using all the pillows. Instant regret. That's when I shoved each pillow one-by-one onto the floor and used the mattress as my pillow. The rest was history.

I know some people already have a pillow they love and adore and wouldn't give up in a million years. I am not that person. Sleeping sans pillow was the only way for me to sleep through the night. When I did buy pillows, I bought inexpensive ones from Target just to make my bed look nice and slept on them once in a blue moon. That's what it was, how I preferred to sleep, and I liked it that way. I may have woken up a little stiff sometimes, but I didn't think much of it. (See: The Best Pillows for Every Kind of Sleeper)

I always thought it was NBD that I didn't use a pillow, but then I found out that pillows serve an actual purpose. (Why didn't anyone tell me?!) Did you know pillows support your cervical spine so it can remain in a neutral position while you sleep — because, if you don't keep it in a neutral position, it can cause all sorts of arm, shoulder, and neck issues? That could be one reason why you (and, ahem, I) wake up achy and stiff. (Related: The Best — and Worst — Sleeping Positions for Your Health)

But when I got an email from a brand new pillow company offering to let me try their product, I couldn't resist giving it a shot.

Enter, the pillow that completely changed my view: the Wavy Swell pillow (Buy It, $79, sleepwavy.com). Granted, there are still nights when my body loves head-to-mattress contact, but when I do sleep with this pillow, I understand the hype.

wavy-swell-pillow-demo
Credit: Wavy

And this isn't your average pillow. Wavy claims that the grid-like notches on one side of the pillow, their special water-expanded (instead of chemical-expanded) memory foam, and the high-tech mesh cover all work in tandem to give you the best sleep experience ever. The notches act as "pebbles" to break the tension the pillow may place on the body and so it more easily conforms to your head, neck, and shoulders. As you sleep, the mesh cover allows air to pass through the foam, helping to regulate heat and your skin to breathe — a feature that could be hugely helpful for hot sleepers.

But here's the kicker: You can just throw it in the washing machine and the dryer. That's a huge selling point because you can't always easily wash traditional pillows, and certainly not the memory foam sort (which typically can't be washed at all). That means you're sleeping every night with your face on a pillow that, over time, gathers bacteria, dust mites, and other allergens. (Worst-case scenario? You end up like this woman who found 100 mites in her eyes after not washing her pillowcase for five years. Yikes.) If you suffer from allergies, sensitive skin, or acne, having an easily washable pillow could be a game-changer for you. Wavy even makes plant-based, sulfate-free, organic washes (Buy It, $16, sleepwavy.com) made with essential oils that impart a gorgeous smell onto your pillow, and so you can reap the benefits of aromatherapy while you snooze.

wavy-pillow-eden-wash
Credit: Wavy

And that's not the only reason Wavy pillows are a great option for folks with allergies or sensitive skin. They're also hypoallergenic and OEKO-TEX non-toxic certified, meaning the brand tests its products every year to make sure none of the ingredients used are global toxins and is therefore guaranteed to be harmless for human health. (As someone who was diagnosed with dermatitis at 20 and who usually breaks out whenever I try new soaps and products, these qualities are always a plus — and this pillow gave me no trouble.)

This may seem like no biggie (after all, pillows shouldn't contain any toxins, right?) but it's actually a major upgrade. Memory foam is traditionally made from a type of polyurethane foam. Polyurethane, in itself, is considered to be a somewhat eco-friendly plastic because it's durable, can be reused and recycled, doesn't contain any chemicals that interfere with endocrine and hormone systems, and doesn't contribute to pH changes in soil or water, according to materials database Matmatch. But memory foam also contains added chemicals that increase its viscosity and elasticity, including diisocyanates (which may irritate the mouth, nose, and eyes) and toluene diisocyanate (which may be carcinogenic), according to the Sleep Foundation. The good news: As research sheds light on the harmful effects of certain substances, more and more manufacturers are moving away from using them, according to the Sleep Foundation — and Wavy is just one example of those brands.

If all this hasn't convinced you to try a Wavy pillow, let me just say this: Friends, I'm so happy I tried it. I felt light and refreshed the first morning after I slept on the pillow. For someone who sleeps in all kinds of positions throughout the night, I was amazed at how beautifully the Wavy pillow contoured around my head and neck, and easily molded to my body when I moved. (The brand says the Swell version, aka the pillow I use, is for all kinds of sleepers — yes, including you, stomach sleepers. If you're more of a strict side-sleeper, Wavy's Cove pillow, which has a cutout for your shoulder, may be for you.)

Not to mention, I love is how freakin' transparent this company is about its eco-friendly practices. Knowing how the products I use are made and what they're made with is important to me because it allows me to make more concsiou decisions about the brands and companies I engage with and support. (Up Next: Learn How to Shop for Sustainable Activewear)

After trying Wavy's Swell pillow, I honestly don't see myself buying another pillow — or, more importantly, going back to my non-pillow ways.