I Tried An Over-the-Head Pillow—And Here’s What Happened
It’s no secret that sleep is incredibly important to our overall health and wellbeing. It’s also no secret that when you’re not getting good sleep, waking up in the morning to take on the day can feel daunting (at best). As someone who suffers from multiple autoimmune conditions that make sleep even more crucial to my health, I especially feel the impact of a sleepless night. Dry eyes, stomachaches, indigestion, headaches, brain fog… they’re all symptoms that take over my daylight hours when my sleeping hours have been interrupted in some way.
And avoiding that interruption is actually just as important as logging enough hours in bed. Sleep research shows that interrupted sleep can decrease your brain’s ability to function, and contribute to hormone fluctuation, as well as decrease your organs’ ability to detox and reset. Traditional Chinese Medicine correlates different times of the day and night with different organ systems. If your sleep is interrupted regularly, TCM says, it can cause bigger, longer-term health issues.
Since many things we don’t have control over can interrupt our sleep (kids, pets, outdoor noises, loud neighbors), I was intrigued by Sleep Crown, an over-the-head pillow developed by a restorative yoga teacher to help quiet some of those nighttime noises. It’s a lightweight pillow meant to be slept with on top of your head to dim artificial and natural light, and silence ambient noise. So, I tried it for a month—and here’s what happened.
My Problem: Sleeplessness Caused by Anxiety + Being a Light Sleeper
I’m a classic light sleeper. The smallest movement in bed, the turn of a door knob, the flush of a toilet can all jolt me awake with the force of a fire alarm. And once I’m awake, falling back asleep is like wrestling my legs into a too-small pair of leggings—even if I can get them on, they’re never actually comfortable.
All of that gets compounded by aggressive fight or flight responses that my body insists on producing when I’m on the verge of falling asleep and an innocuous movement or sound shocks me awake. I end up lying in bed, heart racing, sweating and unable to calm down enough to sleep. I’ve tried melatonin, 5-HTP, meditation, bedtime routines, reading, CBD oil—the list goes on. Some of them help, sure, but none of them has been my silver sleep bullet.
The Solution: Sleep Crown, an Over-the-Head Pillow
Being a very light sleeper, I already combat my deficiency with ear plugs and a silk sleep mask. Sometimes, I was also using a third pillow (a head pillow and a body pillow being my first two) on top of my head to block out morning light, and additional sound. Then I discovered Sleep Crown, which is a pillow actually designed to be placed over your head while you sleep. It’s lightweight, and is shaped like a fat “u” in order to accommodate your shoulder or mouth.
The pillow not only blocks light, and muffles sounds, it also provides a gentle pressure on your head, which can be comforting and soothing, according the Sleep Crown website. “Gentle pressure eases the body’s protective systems and signals the nervous system that it’s okay to relax and drift into deep sleep,” the team says, “where blood pressure is lower and the brain releases chemicals that control appetite and metabolism, hormones that repair the tissues of the body, and generates more white blood cells to promote immunity.” Sounds like a dream, right?
The Results: Deeper, Longer Sleep + A Quickened Ability to Fall Asleep
I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about this pillow’s ability to do anything to my sleep routine, since I was already using a pillow over my head occasionally. And I was a little nervous about committing to sleeping with someone over my head every night.
At first, I found the pillow a little annoying, given that I’m a side sleeper, and I can’t stand having anything cover my mouth while I fall asleep. The contours of the pillow made it a little complicated to get comfortable, but then I eschewed what I was considering the “right” way to sleep with it, and just made it comfortable for me.
That was the key to changing my sleep. Yep, changing my sleep. The Sleep Crown has been a crucial addition to my nighttime routine for the last month, to the point that when I head to California in a few weeks, I’m not sure how I’ll sleep without it.
In combination with my ear plugs and silk sleep mask, the Sleep Crown helps block additional noise and light, and gives my body a cue to settle into sleep mode. I find myself more relaxed as I try to drift to sleep, and I’m more likely to stay asleep once I’ve entered dreamland.
It hasn’t solved all my sleep issues (my husband moving during the wee hours of the morning still jolts me awake), but it’s helped make my sleep more consistent. I feel less anxious about trying to fall asleep, which is half my battle. When I wake during the night, I find it easier to drift back to sleep, because the pillow is soothing, and feels like a tool to utilize to combat bouts of insomnia.
I now feel like I have an arsenal of soldiers to deploy when sleep is elusive, and Sleep Crown has helped create that routine for me. It’s a big win for me, my body and my mind.