Some people are side sleepers, others are stomach sleepers. I am a smoosh sleeper. That’s not a technical term for a sleep position, but it’s the only way to describe what happens when I reach REM cycle: My body twists at an angle that’s just past side sleeping, but not quite stomach sleeping. My face follows suit, until the bottom half slides into the pillow, and my cheek starts squishing my nose. It makes me snore, it amuses my husband, and it apparently is also giving me wrinkles, according to dermatologists.
“If you consistently sleep on the side of your face, you may see lines develop from the pressure,” Devika Icecreamwala, M.D.,, a board-certified dermatologist with Icecreamwala Dermatology in San Francisco, tells Glamour. I have no problem with run-of-the-mill wrinkles—I see them as signs of a long life well-lived. I also find crow’s feet very chic. That being said, I don’t necessarily want to add preventable, pillow-inflicted lines from my own smooshing into the mix. When an Instagram ad for Sleep&Glow—an futuristic pillow—crossed my feed, I knew I needed to try it. (After I got over my fear of Siri watching me sleep, that is. How does the algorithm know?) It was covered in silk, fashioned from memory foam, designed specifically for side sleepers, and promised to be antiaging. In short, I needed it immediately.
My Sleep&Glow arrived a few days later, in all its bizarre-looking glory. It resembles a bubble letter “H” turned on its side, thanks to the dips and curves of its six “sleeping zones.” It disrupts all previous principles of pillow architecture. It is the Picasso of pillows.
“The side cradles, Zones 1 and 2, are for side sleeping,” says co-founder Tikhon Oleinikov. “Your face should be positioned into the side cradles, so that the skin around your lips, eyes, and cheeks floats in the air. This way, your skin won’t get compressed and sleep wrinkles won’t form.” Zone 3, a circular indent at the center, is meant to help train you to sleep on your back—the best way to sleep, according to experts. Zones 4, 5, and 6 provide support for your head, neck, and shoulders. All are ensconced in silk, which Icecreamwala says “glides over your face and reduces the skin-tugging that could contribute to fine lines.” That sounds wonderful, but after running through the intricacies of the six zones, I was skeptical that I could actually sleep in the Sleep&Glow.
Luckily, looks are deceiving and sinking into this thing feels like diving into a squishy—yet supportive—cloud. The tiered indentations on each side mean I literally cannot smoosh my face anymore; my jaw and ear are held in place by Zone 2 so that—just like Oleinikov says—my cheeks and nose float, lightly grazing Zone 1. The first night I tried it, I had a lovely dream about being cradled in John Mayer’s arms (obviously a result of how sweetly the Sleep&Glow cradled my head).
I’ve noted a few more benefits over the past month of use. My nostrils are no longer congested, due to all the floating, so I breathe easier and snore less (or so I’ve been told by my husband). I’ve also noticed that some of the acne around my cheeks and chin has cleared up. “The oils on your face transfer to your pillowcase while you are sleeping, and that oil and residue can build up over time and clog your pores,” Icecreamwala says. Because my skin is no longer smooshed against a pillow for eight-ish hours a night, I no longer suffer from pillow-inflicted pore-clogging. I haven’t seen a difference in regards to wrinkles yet, but that’s really more of a preventative thing. Ask me again in a decade or so.
As for the price tag, a $159 “antiaging” pillow may be a little (or a lot) indulgent, seeing as regular silk pillowcases reduce the risk of fine lines at a (usually) lower price point. “It is true they may help reduce skin friction,” says Oleinikov. “However, a woman’s head weighs around 11 pounds, and if you sleep on your side or stomach, no pillowcase can stop gravitation and wrinkle formation.” Do with that information what you will. I’ll be over here snuggling my 11-pound head into Zone 2 of a Sleep&Glow and dreaming of John Mayer.
Jessica L. Yarbrough is a freelance beauty journalist in Savannah, Georgia. Follow her @jessicalyarbrough_.