by Jahna Peloquin | Images courtesy Better Pillow Company
It’s estimated we spend a third of our lives in bed. Yet, the quality of our sleep can often be an afterthought—as is the importance of a good pillow. According to many chiropractors, pillows play an important role in the quality of one’s sleep, offering support for your head and neck while helping to maintain proper alignment of the spine.
Enter the Better Pillow Company, a new brand founded by Minnesota entrepreneur and consultant Rob Ribnick, a former executive at Regis Corp. He worked with local manufacturers to develop a new pillow for those seeking better rest and relief from chronic neck and back problems. Better Pillow’s patented Z-shaped filling—said to allow fresh air to better circulate and cradle the unique shape of the sleeper’s head and neck—is made from Serene Comfort Foam, a popular material used in pillows. In a cheeky nod to the town’s name and its homegrown roots, Better Pillow will soon be testing its pillows out on the residents of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, and the company is planning to donate pillows to local charitable organizations that help prevent homelessness.
We spoke to Ribnick about the inspiration behind the brand, how the pillow was developed, and what makes the pillow special.
What inspired you to found the brand?
“Three or four years ago, I was looking around and saw there was a lot of action in the bedding industry. I kept hearing the same stories from people—some of my friends had sleeping problems and neck problems and were always looking for the right pillow. So I thought, maybe I could create a better pillow.”
What process went into developing the pillow?
“I started with the name, Better Pillow, and started looking for the right material. I looked at foam, feathers, all sorts of different things. Nothing was quite right until I came across Serene Foam. It has a lot of benefits to it. We cut it up into the letter Z for fun—Z is the letter most associated with sleep—but it ended up being functional. Because when you put individual pieces inside a pillow rather than one solid piece, it creates a flexible, malleable structure, so when you’re using it, you can form it to your head and your neck more easily.”
How does the cooling effect work?
“A piece of foam doesn’t allow air to flow through as much. Because these are pieces that interact, it allows for a lot of air to pass through the pillow. The Zs themselves are made from Serene Foam, which contain millions of air pockets, so not only does the air pass through the Zs, it passes through the foam in a different way than most foams.”
What’s your personal experience using the pillows?
“I’ve slept on a lot of pillows, and have been sleeping exclusively on this pillow for two years. So has my wife, and we feel it’s our go-to pillow because we have gotten a better night’s sleep. It keeps us cooler, and we like the way it moves and how we can customize it to ourselves.”
What has been the response to Better Pillow so far?
“We’ve done blind testing against other pillows and we got very favorable results. In fact, we’ve been in touch with many of the blind-test participants, and it’s still their go-to pillow. I’m not saying we’re going to cure neck problems, but I do think we have a better product than anything else out there.”
Manufactured and assembled in Minneapolis, the washable, odorless, hypoallergenic pillows are $69 each, and come with a 60-day money-back guarantee, a 12-year warranty, and free shipping. thebetterpillow.com