The only time I’m ever speechless is first thing in the morning. After a night grinding my teeth and jaw-clenching, I’d wake up with a terrible tension headache, unable to open my mouth. (A Hocus Pocus childhood nightmare come true.) After a virtual sob session with my doctor, I was diagnosed with TMJ. My diagnosis aligned with the start of the pandemic, so I wasn’t able to visit a dentist or dermatologist (a mouth guard and masseter neurotoxin are both fixes). Instead, I turned to Amazon, searching for a solution.
First, I read so many verified reviews that I started to develop a back problem in addition to my jaw problem. Next, I settled on trying two pillows with rave reviews from TMJ-sufferers: one that is just under fifty dollars and another steeply over one-hundred-and-fifty. Yes, I spent more than $200 on pillows, which is both the sign of a desperate woman and one who has recently turned 30.
They both arrived in tiny boxes on my doorstep 48 hours later. It was like opening a tube of Pillsbury Grands—the moment the compressed foam rectangles were free, they popped into real-size pillows. After giving them a few hours to air out (foam pillows can be a bit chemical-y smelling), I decided to spend my first night with the fancy pillow. And to my surprise, money can’t buy class, and it’d didn’t buy me a better night’s sleep, either. It was the less expensive pillow, which looks like a giant maxi pad, that helped me sleep for my ideal six and a half hours without oral agony.
It seems silly to explain how a pillow works, but this is no ordinary-shaped pillow. Place your head on either of the horizontal sides—there are two different convex depressions at other height options depending on how tall you are or if you like to sleep with your arm under your pillow—and your head is cradled there, unable to lurch forward. (The jutting forward of your head and neck is typically what causes your jaw to contract.)
The pillow comes with a quilted gray-and-white pillowcase, which is ugly. Full stop. But my favorite Slip Silk pillowcase fits perfectly over it, and I’m so committed to this pillow that I’m considering having one custom-made to fit it. I’ve also purchased one of these pillows for every bed I sleep in.
Sleeping with this pillow every night means I’m able to go longer between my Botox appointments. (Yes, I also eventually took the plunge and got masseter Botox. The combination is unstoppable for me, and I’m never looking back.) I’m still at a loss for words in the morning these days, but that’s because I start every day with 30 minutes of silent meditation. Yeah, I’m one of those people now. That’s how good that pillow is.
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