The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Pillow Talk

A while back I was contacted to see if I would consider trying out a couple of Tempur-Pedic™ pillows and writing a review on them. Of course, I said yes. I’ve always been curious if the Tempur-Pedic™ pillows would be comfortable, as I have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, but the risk of buying them and then not having them work had deterred me. Plus, I love pillows. To find a place to sit on my couch you have to move pillows. To sleep, I have a pillow for my head, another special kind to prop my arm up and two Squish pillows to rest my (naturally fused) wrist on.

I’ll admit that I am also a bit of a princess who can feel a pea in her bed, so I knew it would be an interesting experiment. I typically use a large, stiff pillow that hold the weight of my shoulder off of my shoulder, which need joint replacements sooner rather than late. I flip my pillow over a few times a night, so as soon as it is squished down a bit, I flip it for maximum support.

Most of us have heard about Tempur-pedic, but I didn’t realizejust how many credentials they had. For example:

  • Tempur-Pedic® has the only mattresses and pillows recognized by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation as well as more than 75,000 Professional Medical Customers worldwide.

And important to us with a chronic illness?

I was sent two pillows.  The first one I pulled out was the Comfort Pillow. It felt like something I wanted to immediately collapse into. And I did. I was sitting on the couch as I unpacked it and told my husband, “I want all our couch cushions made out of this!” It’s heavy yet very soft, made out of viscoelastic material. (Don’t wack anyone with this pillow in a pillow fight!) You sink into it a bit, but it doesn’t collapse under you like a feather pillow (which I don’t prefer.) You don’t become submerged in it. It holds it’s own. This pillow would have been the perfect home comfort to have had when I spent a week in the hospital last fall.

Like anyone with an illness, it took me a few days before I even decided to try out the pillows because I knew that they may not work and I wasn’t willing to give up the possibility of any sleep that I might have. And then when I started to use the first one, the Comfort Pillow, I thought something smelled funny. Was it the cat having a litter box issue again? Nope, it was the pillows that had a chemical smell. A sticker that accompanied them said that they may have a “slight odor remaining for our manufacturing process. It is completely harmless and will dissipate over a short time with regular use.” The smell did go away closer to two weeks of them sitting in the corner of my room, and now it’s fine. That said, if you have any chemical sensitivity issues, the smell may likely not be “harmless” for you and should be a consideration when buying the pillow.

The Comfort Pillow (price range $79 – $159) pillow wasn’t stiff enough for me to be able to use as my regular pillow to hold up my neck, but I absolutely love it. Every night I go to bed early and will read 1-3 hours and this is the pillow I put on top of my regular pillow so I am propped up a bit and yet every sore muscle feels completely cushioned.

The second pillow is what most people think of I think when they hear Tempur-Pedic™ (at least I do), the Neck Pillow (price range $79 – $159)  that has the memory foam. The first few nights I slept on it a few hours (waking up frequently) and eventually it ended up on the floor and I grabbed my older pillow.) But each time I use it, it becomes a bit more comfortable. In the end, this may become my regular pillow. I think it depends on how my body is flaring on a particular night or how much my shoulders are throbbing. I frequently use Voltarin gel on my shoulders to try to relieve the pain, so it would be difficult for any one pillow to meet my variety of needs that change from day to day. I found that it wasn’t quite thick enough to hold the weight off of my shoulder, but if I put a very thin pillow underneath it, it was more comfortable.

Both pillows are a welcome addition to my arsenal of trying to find comfort when flaring with a rheumatoid arthritis flare. Some nights I have slept on the couch because I couldn’t roll over in bed or pull myself up. When I’ve had a bad cough, my chest has flared so badly I’ve had to sleep sitting up on the couch all night. These very cozy pillows will be a welcome part of those nights to find the most comfortable positions as possible.

I suggest visiting the Tempur-pedic website to find out more about their pillows. They also sell beds, and office and travel products. See something you may want to try? Find out where a store near you carries it, and go find a bed and lay down for awhile. Although finding a pillow can be difficult (who wants to pay $100 for something that may not work?) you can discover rather quickly if this is one of those pillows you will sleep on, read with, or hold for arm support.

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  Alice Ervin wrote @

Lisa – Thanks for your input about the tempur-pedic pillow. I have one, but, as you said, I couldn’ t use it for a long time because of my having chemical sensitivities. Then, when I was able to use it, it caused my neck and shoulders to hurt much worse. It’s funny how each person is so different. I have to have a soft pillow – almost lay flat in order to help my shoulders and neck not be quite as painful each morning. Actually, I haven’t found any pillow that lets me wake up with pain free shoulders and neck. That is just one of the things we fibromites have to learn to live with, i guess. I have joint disease, and chronic osteoarthritis in all my bones. So, no matter what i try, it still take about an hour for the severe pain to lessen when i get up each morning.Plus, i can only take Tylenol for pain due to the chemical situation. I hope these pillows keep helping you. I have a friend who won’t go anywhere without her Tempur-pedic pillow. She is a nurse. I want to share a blessing with you — I live near Xenia, Ohio, and “Joni” will be there at a place called Legacy Village to speak tomorrow evening. (Friday, July 17th) My husband’s mother is still living at the Assisted Living Facility there after she lost her husband of 68 years of marriage in April. I am so excited about getting to see and hear Joni in person. I just wish there was a way to get to speak to her. After Jesus, she is my hero. Must let you go. Blessings to you. Alice

  Melody Feaster wrote @

Hi Lisa, Enjoyed your pillow talk. We have a tempurpedic mattress and I do really like it. I wanted to mention some down sides to it before anyone ran out to buy them so they would just know both sides. They are so comfortable, that you tend to get in one position and stay in them, great if you are in good physical condition but not so great if you stiffen up and need to move around in the night. I found myself staying too long in one position and hurting more. Also, if your house gets very cold for some reason, the tempurpedic material will get very, very hard so if the heat goes off and it is very cold where you live, you will not want to sleep on this mattress. Other than those two complaints, this is a great mattress and for healthy people, I think they would love, love, love it. For the non healthy, I think it would matter what your condition is and I just wanted to let you know these things so you could be more informed. So, happy sleeping, Melody

  Melody Feaster wrote @

Lisa, I know my comment was about mattresses and not the pillows. I like my down pillows the most. Anyway, I am not going to be around for a while if you wanted to ask me a question or change anything in my comment so am just saying, you may do what you want to when you moderate the comment, take out anything or not post, etc. Thanks, Melody

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