BearPillow: Cool(ing) Tech to Ease Muscles

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BearPillow

On a rainy Friday when my husband was traveling, I came home to a box addressed to GeekMom Karen with a return address label bearing the name “BearMattress” containing a prerelease of the BearPillow.

After a long week, with my over-rambunctious seven-year-old and with a late September rainstorm pounding, I brought the soggy box indoors, wondering what could be inside. Unlike the last time I wrote about BearMattress, this new surprise was wholly unexpected and came at just the right time. Opening the box, I squeed with joy because inside was a pillow.

For ten years, I had the same expensive Tempurpedic pillow. (I know; it’s gross.) After settling into our new BearMattress a few months ago, I decided I needed a new pillow. I tried three different ones. There was some bamboo thing and two other memory foam things. None of them were particularly comfortable. I noticed that I’d wake up with a stiff neck. I’d have a headache going up my neck to the back of my skull. I just got used to it. I used the bamboo one but, well, meh.

As I slid the BearPillow out of the box, I was too excited to even snap pictures. Wet and cranky after fighting with my son over what to do for dinner and listening to him whine that I got mail and he didn’t, I started imagining my pillow.

Then I slept on it.

And I slept on it some more.

Then life got in the way, and I never realized that I was waking up without being sore. Finally, about two weeks ago, on a Saturday, I realized, “Wow. I haven’t had one of those headaches that rise up my shoulder to my neck to the back of my head.” So, I started researching the effect of cold on muscle pain. Lo and behold, the BearPillow does it right. Crushed ice and wetted ice on a hamstring significantly impact flexibility in test subjects. What was most interesting in my research was that in a 2015 study of 100 subjects, the researchers found that “for strength recovery, cold applied after 24 hours was better than heat at 24 hours” and that “cold immediately after exercise or 24 hours later was superior to heat in reducing pain.” In other words, studies seem to show that cold helps more than heat in muscle recovery.

So, does this explain why I don’t have neck pain in the morning? Well, despite New England being a cold weather state, we had quite the warm early autumn. As with the mattress, which does get warm with over 300 degrees of warm body underneath the covers but never seems to trap it like my other mattress, my BearPillow remains cool to the touch. Unlike all the other pillows I’ve had, even my favorite for ten years (yup, still gross), my neck never feels clammy from that over-heated sweating then cooling that happens in the middle of the night.

In addition, I’m one of those people who doesn’t sleep in the same way ever. Some nights I’m a back sleeper. Some nights a side sleeper. Some nights I’m even (gasp!) a stomach sleeper. Part of my problem with other pillows was that I had to use a different pillow depending on how I wanted to fall asleep, which was then uncomfortable when I slept and changed position. Also, I’m short. I’m 5′ tall on a good day when I wake up in the morning before I start shrinking again. Those pillows that are supposed to support your neck by cradling your head? Yeah, not so much. Then the flat pillows never seem to make a good neck/head cradle for me. My BearPillow? This one is perfect. It has the right amount of support and body curvature support to keep me from rolling around at night trying to get comfortable.

If I had to say one thing about my BearPillow that I don’t like, and it’s a little thing, the smooth fabric makes the pillow slide out of my pillowcase. The smooth fabric is, in large part, what keeps the pillow cool. However, my upbringing of using a protective pillowcase and then normal pillowcase on top of that can only be broken so much. It drives me a little bit crazy that my pillow won’t stay in the pillowcase. However? That is a small price to pay for no longer having insane neck pain almost every morning.