By now, it's clear that CBD is not just a niche wellness fad, but rather something that has become a staple in many people's lives — from ingestible oils for overall health to topical creams for pain to gummies for better sleep. Like everyone else that jumped on the bandwagon, I've tried a multitude of CBD products to varying degrees of effectiveness — but none proved life-changing enough to secure a spot in my daily routine. That is, until I was offered the chance to test a CBD-infused pillow.
When I first heard about The CBD Pillow (Buy It, $99, was $129, cbdpillow.com), my only reservation was the fact that I have been basically married to my goose-down pillow for years. I like how malleable it is, how soft it is — basically, I like everything about it. But given that The CBD Pillow is made of plush gel memory foam (which has a reputation for being exceptionally soft and cloud-like), I decided it might be worth at least one night of sleep from me. Plus, the pillow cover is infused with millions of microcapsules of CBD (more on that in a bit), which had me super intrigued. (Related: The 8 Best Memory Foam Mattresses for All Types of Sleepers)
Now, let me explain why I was interested in CBD for sleep in the first place. I've always had some difficulty sleeping, but my troubles have definitely gotten worse during COVID-19 quarantine due to extra stress, anxiety, and disruption to my normal routine. Over the last year, I've tried nighttime teas, melatonin capsules (a hormone your body naturally produces at night that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle), and a few other supplements geared towards sleep — all with very little or no success. (And FWIW, I'm far from the only one having sleep issues during quarantine.)
After doing some research (I'm a journalist, what can I say?), I found a study confirming that CBD can be used as a potential treatment for anxiety, helping people feel calmer and more relaxed. I also discovered research on CBD's impact on anxiety and sleep — revealing that ingesting CBD can reduce anxiety and improve sleep, and help increase the amount of time you're asleep. FTR, more clinical studies are needed to support the effectiveness of CBD, but for now, I'm somewhat of a believer. That said, all of this was enough to motivate me to try The CBD Pillow. (Related: How to Buy the Best Safe and Effective CBD Products)
So, how does the pillow work exactly? The company claims that, unlike CBD oil or ingestible products that can wear off after a few hours, the pillow releases micro doses of pharmaceutical-grade, lab-certified CBD throughout the night for a truly restful sleep. The brand explains that this is accomplished through micro-encapsulation (translation: microscopic droplets of CBD are wrapped with a protective polymeric coating). The CBD is then released when the friction of your hair and skin gently breaks the microcapsules as you sleep. The CBD is then absorbed through your skin and hair follicles. Research has found that transdermal administration — the process in which CBD is delivered through skin — has the potential to be effective for an array of issues; however, like most CBD-related claims, we need more research to know for sure.
Let me just say, I'm happy I tried it. First off, the pillow is incredibly comfortable. I alternate between sleeping on my back and my side, and The CBD Pillow contours around my neck and the tops of my shoulders perfectly, offering just the right amount of pressure. (The brand says it works for side, stomach, and back sleepers.) However, if you need a pillow with more or less support, you can choose your desired firmness by simply adding or removing the memory foam filling. Also worth noting: If you already have a pillow you can't bear to part with but want to try the CBD pillowcase, the brand says the cover should fit on most other queen-sized pillows. (Related: The Best (and Worst) Sleeping Positions for Your Health)
But did it actually live up to its claims? I was skeptical, and almost nervous that my skepticism would make it even tougher for me to fall asleep. But after lying down on the pillow for about 15 minutes the first night, I was off to dreamland (as my husband reports). I will say that 15 minutes is an incredibly short amount of time for me to fall asleep (and I think for most other people, as well). The best part is that I stayed asleep. I woke up once in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (which is normal for me), but other than that, I feel like I slept deeper than I had in a while. I've been using the pillow for about two weeks, and I can confirm that this is the case every night. I was also worried that the CBD would make me feel groggy, because that's my typical response to any sleep aid, but I woke up each morning feeling well-rested and refreshed. (Related: The 9 Best Mattresses for Couples Even the Pickiest Sleepers Will Love)
The CBD Pillow is hypoallergenic, unscented, and feels super soft — which is key, considering you should use this cover without an additional pillowcase on top. Adding a pillowcase will dampen the CBDs' effects slightly, according to the brand. On the flip side, if you find the effects of the CBD to be too strong, you can double up with your own pillowcase to dilute the effect on purpose. The cover is washable; however, the brand recommends not washing it more than once every two weeks in order to maintain the integrity of the CBD dosage. At that rate, the brand has found through extensive testing that it should last up to six months, or about 20 washes. After that, the company recommends investing in a replacement CBD-infused pillowcase (Buy It, $49, cbdpillow.com) and slipping that over your original memory foam pillow.
I honestly can't imagine going back to regular pillows after using The CBD Pillow. I've been recommending it to everyone I know, and plan to send them as gifts Oprah-style (you get a pillow! you get a pillow!) later this year. Considering the exact science of CBD is still up in the air, I'll be honest: I've weighed the possibility that the CBD isn't working at all. Even with that said, something is making me sleep better — either the CBD or the placebo effect — and I'm getting a comfy pillow out of it. IDK about you, but I call that a win.