Shopping·10 min read

A List of Every Pillow Worth Buying (That’s Not Only for Sleep)

Design: theSkimm | Photos: Dame, Bearaby, Urban Outfitters
March 8, 2024

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Yes, this roundup is dedicated to pillows. And yes, there are options out there that aren’t only dedicated to sleep. If you also had no idea of this, allow me to enlighten you. I’ve scoured the internet for some of the best pillows. But these aren’t your typical down-feather bedtime pillows. Each of these have a function and unique shape that’ll make relaxing, doing a hobby, and generally winding down a lot more enjoyable. And if you love to nap and can’t get enough sleep, I’ve sprinkled in a couple of go-tos in the slumber department. Pillow shopping spree, anyone?

For more help falling (and staying) asleep, click here.

Functional Pillows


The ultimate reading pillow…

ICYMI: Human dog beds are currently having a moment on social media and this one from Amazon definitely has a similar vibe. This option is more versatile in that it’s shaped like a flexible pool float. You can fold it in countless different ways and place it wherever you need bolstering. The material also has a bubble texture for a massage effect. ($54.99, Amazon)

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Uncommon Goods

An acupressure pillow for stress relief…

Whether you're prone to headaches or are feeling sluggish by 3pm, this aromatherapy pillow is a must. Just lie on the pillow knob-side up. The nodes will hit acupressure points on your head and neck for a burst of energy, neck-pain relief, and general relaxation. This one has an inner pillow filled with lavender for aromatherapy benefits. To activate it, just remove the inner pillow from its plastic covering and place it back inside the cover. ($50, Uncommon Goods)

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A pillow that serves as a heating pad alternative…

This innovative heated pillow lasts longer than a traditional hot water bottle thanks to its clay-based interior. The side closest to your body emits warmth, while the cushioned exterior keeps it insulated. It has a washable, removable cover and its foam interior keeps it soft and comfortable. This is currently sitting in my cart to have as backup for rough period days. ($60, Amazon)

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A meditation cushion to set the tone for your practice…

No more fixating on your back hurting while trying to get in the zone. This bestseller is sturdy and gives you the perfect little space to dedicate some time to yourself. The organic cotton cover easily slips off so you can wash it when it starts looking a little worse for wear. It’s filled with organic buckwheat, so you don’t have to worry about any harmful synthetic materials. Plus, you can use it as part of your daily yoga practice. ($71, Avocado)

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A pillow that provides lift when experimenting with new sex positions…

Sometimes, trying a new sex position can be a little painful and intense – and that’s where this wedge pillow from Dame comes in. It’s stable, yet made of a comfortable foam that’ll provide support to make sex more comfortable. You can place it anywhere, like underneath your lower back or side. It can make your current line-up even more pleasurable due to how it's angled. Psst…if you deal with a height difference with your partner, buy this. ($95, Dame)

Buy it at AmazonBuy it at Dame
Askihandmade via Etsy

A pyramid pillow to prop up a book…

There are some days that I’m feeling so lazy, I don’t even feel like holding my book or Kindle to read. This adorable corduroy pillow is shaped so that it can easily fit your reading material of choice (tablet included). Just prop it up, add your book, and enjoy. I love that this one is handmade, too. ($24.88, Askihandmade via Etsy)

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A weighted knot pillow for moments on the couch…

Perfect for overwhelming work-from-home days or evening binge-watching, Bearaby’s Hugget provides therapeutic sensory and stress relief. It’s weighted (just like the brand’s cult-favorite blankets) and made of a plant-based foam. You can keep it in your lap, or play with it like a fidget toy. Because the colors aren’t too bright, these pillows will add a calming, yet design-forward statement. ($79+, Bearaby)

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A neck wrap you can microwave…

If there’s one thing my neck needs after a full work day hunched over my laptop, it’s some tension relief. This wrap is made of a fluffy fur-like material and is filled with lavender. Throw it in the microwave or keep it in the freezer, and then wrap it around your shoulders. And if you haven’t tried Warmies yet, this is your sign to do so. The brand has countless products (even slippers) you can microwave. ($29.99, Warmies)

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A basic bolster pillow…

I love a bolster pillow for providing extra support pretty much anywhere. I use one under my knees when I’m sitting on the couch. You can also place one behind the lower back while seated, at the base of the shoulder blades, and so much more. There’s a reason they’re such an essential yoga prop: It can do it all. ($89, Bearaby)

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2MindsDeco via Etsy

A pillow that wedges underneath your neck…

This bone-shaped pillow is made of a durable waffle material. The shape allows for an ideal cradling behind your neck. Prop it on top of your regular pillow or place it directly behind your neck. Bedtime bookworms, this one's for you. ($40, 2MindsDeco via Etsy)

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Urban Outfitters

A floor pillow to maximize your space…

Introducing the classic Urban Outfitters pillows that become additional seating in a pinch. If you’re short on chairs, couch space, etc., keep a few of these on hand. At 18 inches by 18 inches, they’re hefty (and thick) enough to feel like substantial seating. ($59, Urban Outfitters)

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A classic armrest pillow…

Nostalgia for the win. Who says this one has to stay in your middle-school era? This sherpa armrest pillow from L.L.Bean is a little more elevated since it comes in more muted tones. Plus, it’s dependable and will get the wind-down job done. Place it anywhere you want it. You know the drill. ($64.95, L.L.Bean)

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An option for nursing…

This one will take pressure off the neck and shoulders and provide additional arm relief while breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. It’s made of 100% cotton and has an adjustable waist strap for added security. Made a mess? No sweat. It has a removable cover that can be easily washed. A little luxury we can get behind. ($39.99, Amazon)

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Pillows for Sleep

Cushion Lab

A neck pillow for a comfortable nap in-flight…

Forget leaning your head against the window. This one will provide support, but can be rolled into a ball once your flight is over. It’s also lightweight, so adding it to your carry-on will be no big deal. To clean, just remove the cover and wash. ($48+, Cushion Lab)

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A weighted pillow-blanket hybrid for your eyes…

This cozy fleece accessory is a great foray into eye masks. It’s different from a typical mask in that it doesn’t have a strap that tightens around the circumference of your head. Instead, it’s almost like an extended eye pillow with tails to ensure it stays in place. It has four weighted pods for the same relaxation benefits as a weighted blanket and it’s perfect for quick naps and meditation practices. New gift alert. ($34, Nordstrom)

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A pillow designed for side sleepers…

This hourglass-shaped wedge fits between your thighs for better alignment and circulation. You can also place it by your ankles. And don’t worry, this won’t get all jumbled around in your sleep. There’s a fleece band along the top that’ll keep it securely in place. ($30.99+, Amazon)

Buy it

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