Building A Pillow Fort Can Actually Help You Sleep Better (Swear!)
We've discussed a wealth of sleep hacks here at mbg. From magnesium-rich bedtime snacks to lighting tricks to tried-and-true sleep rituals—we are certainly no strangers to sleep hygiene around here, and we're pretty much game for anything. So trust us when we say: We have never heard a sleep tip like Thatcher Wine's before. Sure, the author, entrepreneur, and cancer survivor leans on a few traditional techniques—he avoids late-night heavy meals, keeps his room pitch dark, and leans on sleep-supporting supplements*—but his go-to hack for high-quality sleep has left us floored.
"I'm a grown adult, and I love my pillow fort," he says on the mindbodygreen podcast.
How pillow forts can support your sleep.
OK, technically, Wine's fort may look a little subtler than the grand castles of your childhood. It's more like he cocoons himself into bed each night: "I have super heavy pillows that wedge me in on both sides [of my bed], one under my knees, and then lighter, softer pillows under my head," he says.
Wine didn't mention this exactly, but we'd assume he relies on this pillow fort to help him sleep on his back—this sleep position allows the spine to be aligned and supported, which is the optimal posture for deep, uninterrupted sleep. "A strong sleep posture allows these natural curves to be maintained throughout the night: no crunching at your neck, no sagging of your lower back, no torquing of your middle back," board-certified sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., once told us about the sleep position. "For these curves to fall naturally during sleep, the whole body must be supported," he adds. Like, say, with a fortress of pillows.
That said, you can achieve spinal alignment sleeping on your side—you just may need an adequately supportive pillow that can adjust to the shape of your head, neck, and shoulder. In addition to a pillow under your head, experts recommend placing one between your knees to ensure your lower spine isn't twisted and one next to you to rest your top arm on—so your shoulders aren't twisting or crouching in a way that could leave you with a neck kink. Regardless, you might not want to sleep on your stomach if you can help it, as your head is likely cranked to one side, which puts stress on the ligaments of the neck.
Whether you're partial to the fetal position or lying on your back, your pillows can play a significant role in spinal alignment—which will not only make you feel better during the day (i.e., less sore and creaky) but help you achieve more restful sleep at night. Sure, it's not exactly like the pillow fort you might have built as a kid—but doesn't it make the sleep tip sound a bit more fun?
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.