On Easter Sunday in 2017, my kids and I got rear-ended by a large utility van on a freeway in Portland. The van was going pretty fast when it hit us, totaling my little Honda Fit and leaving me with whiplash and a mild concussion. Thankfully, my kids had only minor injuries. Being optimistic and in relatively good shape, I thought I’d bounce back quickly. What I didn’t realize at the time was the amount of discomfort I’d feel in my neck, back and shoulders for years to come.
During the day, I experienced minimal discomfort. However, sleeping was a different story. Every morning I woke up due to a crick in my neck, a middle back ache or numbness in my hands and arms—and sometimes, all three! This was thanks in large part to my neck alignment from fluffy pillows and an incorrect sleeping posture.
So, you can imagine once I heard about the Adjustable Spine Alignment Pillow (ASAP), I was very curious to try it. The pillow was developed by Clarkston, Washington, resident Larry Wilmarth after his own car accident 15 years ago which resulted in herniated discs in his lower back and neck. “If my neck was bent at all while I slept, the pain would radiate out into my shoulders, making sleep impossible,” shares the ASAP creator. “I couldn’t use a conventional pillow and ended up trying every neck-support pillow on the market, but nothing alleviated my symptoms or helped me sleep.” So, Wilmarth started experimenting with his own pillow design and the ASAP was born. His pillow worked so well he applied for a patent and began sharing it with others experiencing similar difficulties. “Thankfully, they also found relief,” he says. “My passion is to introduce ASAP to as many people as I can and for them to experience a restful night’s sleep.”
I ordered a queen size ASAP pillow from Wilmarth’s assistant, Jo Tildon. The price was very budget-friendly at just $35 for a queen and $39 for a king. My pillow arrived in two days and the shipping was free. Included with the pillow was a five-page information packet and survey, which I thought was helpful. It also included a bag of “fluff” or top-quality fiber filling as they call it. The pillow itself looked like two smaller pillows sewed between a flat piece of material with a tiny pillow on top and one on the bottom (see photo). The most unique part of ASAP is that it’s adjustable to your own comfort level and has little zippers where you can adjust the amount of filling you want in each compartment.
My first night was interesting. I wasn’t quite sure how it would go, but Tildon explained that it might take a few nights to get used to, and to get the fluff adjustments right. My initial observation was that lying on this pillow felt very different than lying on a conventional pillow. My head wasn’t propped up at all—as a matter of fact, I was looking straight up at the ceiling, which was new. According to Wilmarth, this is the point—proper sleep alignment requires the head and back to be on the same plane. I noticed my neck felt supported by the tiny pillow under it, but decided a little more fluff was needed. So, I added it! It was very easy. I fell asleep quickly, and the pillow encouraged me to stay on my back the entire night, which again, Wilmarth says is key to the most ideal sleep posture and restful night’s sleep. When I woke up, I felt great but decided I needed to take out some of the fluff from the main pillow compartments because they were hugging my ears a little too closely. Once I did that, the pillow felt perfect.
I can officially declare that I am now hooked on the ASAP. I’ve found the pillow to not only help me sleep better, both on my back and side, but I no longer wake up with a crick in my neck or pain in my back. In addition, I used to need an upper cervical spinal adjustment once a month when my neck would feel ‘out.’ However, since sleeping on this pillow, I haven’t needed an adjustment at all, and it’s been three months! Sold.