Honestly, it’s life changing is a regular series where we talk about the weird and wonderful possessions we can’t imagine life without. Think of it as an ode to the mundane, bizarre and, sometimes, wholly unnecessary products in our lives.
For as long as I can remember I have always been a bad sleeper, forced into insomnia by poor posture. I’d lie for hours on my front, on my back, awkwardly on my side with one useless arm flopped out over the edge of the mattress, getting increasingly numb until it felt like white noise was spreading up my fingertips.
My mum told me thick, fluffy pillows would help; my partner told me to try just one, flat pillow; and my physio tried to convince me to do away with pillows all together – “Try sleeping with just a towel rolled under your neck,” she said. Comfy, I thought – but it was my mother-in-law who introduced me to the solution.
The big V-pillow is a thing of simple beauty, an object almost mythical in its somnolent powers. Sleeping at my in-laws – where my love affair began, with their his-n-hers V-pillows – was the only time I’d get a decent night’s sleep, despite the fact their guest bed dips so much in the middle that my partner and I would be touching butts all night. With my head nestled in the inner point of the V, I was out quicker than you could say: “Is that your arse or mine?”
Bedroom gadgets are very in right now. Have trouble getting up on dark winter mornings? Get yourself a sunrise alarm. Can’t sleep without the sounds of the rainforest? Google Home’s a good shout. It’s only a matter of time before there’s a mattress that can correctly predict when you’re coming on your period and pop paracetamol and Lindt balls into your mouth every four hours.
But with my beloved V-pillow, we’re taking it back to basics. This pillow does nothing to try and impress and you can pick up a decent one from Dunelm for just £12. It’s almost Big Mac-ian in its allure: cheap, comforting, unassuming. You know what to expect.
Is there a science to its comfort? I have no idea, and I don’t care. It certainly doesn’t act like something scientifically engineered to impress – it just is. It’s not choc-a-bloc with duck feathers or dense with memory foam. All I know is it allows me to sleep on my back without rolling around, cradling my neck and relieving some pressure off my shoulders; and it acts like a body pillow when I sleep on my side, keeping me in place and making use of that redundant, white noise arm.
If, like me, you enjoy diving into a good book before catching your ZZZs (read: making snarky comments on Twitter), then it offers much more support for your back than a janky old regular pillow – like a little bed armchair.
I also hear it’s great for breastfeeding, but I wouldn’t know much about that – the only baby in my bed is me.
All I know is this: we V-sleepers are rare but satisfied breed; a cult of well-rested and slightly smug pillow worshippers, with bodies free of neck ache and shoulder pain. We know what a good night’s sleep is and we’re not afraid to lecture everyone about it. Join our church and pass on the gospel.
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