What to Buy

This Adjustable Pillow Is Why I’m Sleeping So Much Better

And it solves my biggest gripe with them, too.

by:
January 13, 2022
Photo by Marlow

Sleep Smarts is your guide to shut-eye—with trusty tips, product recs, and new routines for a better night’s rest.


I am someone who can sleep anywhere—on the subway, in the middle seat of a plane, in a quiet corner of a coffee shop, you name it. But I’m also someone who wakes up never feeling fully refreshed, bright-eyed, or bushy-tailed, and needing a double shot of espresso before I can begin my mornings.

I’ve spent years trying to perfect my sleep set-up—I sleep with smooth percale sheets, I keep my bedroom cool, I fill my diffuser with calming lavender essential oil, and I use blackout shades. Admittedly, I’m on my phone right up until I close my eyes (though my husband would say that I revenge-scroll through social media for a bit too long), but even then, I’m able to fall asleep within minutes. So I could never figure out why I wouldn’t wake up refreshed and ready to go—until I tried the Marlow pillow. Three months later, I'm still looking forward to sleeping with it every night.

Photo by Marlow

The Marlow adjustable pillow is made by the same folks behind Brooklinen, one of my favorite bedding brands, so expectations were undeniably high. At first glance, it looks and feels like any other pillow—bouncy and supportive memory foam with a soft, sleek cover. But sleep on it for just one night and you’ll see all the little upgrades that make a big difference.

Like the breathability of the shredded memory foam, which I often find suffocating with other pillows and feels much more comfortable than a large slab. Or the cool sateen cover that feels exactly like my favorite set of Brooklinen sheets. But perhaps the biggest upgrade is the seamless adjustability. Instead of removing or adding clumps of shredded foam by hand (which inevitably get all over my floor), you just unzip or zip the two lengths of the pillow for a higher or lower loft (as in, the pillow height) based on your preferences and sleeping position. There’s no need to take out a few handfuls of foam, shove them in a bag (if you even have one nearby), fluff the pillow, lay down, and then repeat if it’s not comfortable enough. You literally just zip or unzip, that’s it. And the zippers have a short ribbon attached to them so they're easy to find and pull without any fuss. See what I mean by the little details making all the difference?

My husband sleeps on his back and prefers a firmer, lower pillow, so he slept with both zippers closed. I switch between sleeping on my back and side, so I slept with the zippers open for a higher loft when on my back and with the zippers closed for a lower loft when on my side. Being able to switch between positions without messing with bits of foam, without being uncomfortable overnight, and without getting a neck strain? A dream.

However, I find that I need to fluff the pillow every couple of nights to reshape it; the shredded memory foam doesn’t quite bounce back to its original form like a pillow that’s made with a large block of foam. It’s not a big deal but one that can make the pillow less comfortable if you skip it.

At around $50 each if you’re getting a pair of standard pillows, or $65 if you’re getting a pair of king-sized pillows, the price is comparable to other (read: more expensive) pillows I’ve slept on. In fact, investing in quality pillows has been the missing piece in my sleeping experience and has helped me wake up more refreshed and bright-eyed these past few months—finally. I’ll still gladly take my two shots of espresso though.

This post was updated in January 2022 with more testing notes and personal experience.

What kind of pillow do you prefer—adjustable or nah, memory foam or down, high or low loft? Let us know where you stand below!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Taylor1103$
    Taylor1103$
  • Liz Summers
    Liz Summers
  • Jada Wong
    Jada Wong
Jada Wong

Written by: Jada Wong

Jada is the market editor at Food52 with a decade of experience writing and editing for online publications such as Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, and Insider.

7 Comments

Taylor1103$ January 24, 2022
I love everything Brooklinen so it was a no brainer to try the new Marlow pillow as soon as it came out! I ordered 2 king and 4 standard for our queen bed just because I like a lot of pillows. We sleep on them fully zipped and with the Brooklinen protective covers plus a variety of their pillowcases and it's like heaven! Had even slowed down our urgency to replace the mattress and for far less money. No more neck pain, better sleep and no more snoring from my Mr either. We are very pleased!!!
 
Liz S. January 15, 2022
Follow up almost 3 months use. I still LOVE this (these ... I bought 2) pillows. They are holding up, they continue to be supportive and comfortable and cool (I flip maybe once some nights, 0 other nights). Love, love, love!
 
Liz S. October 29, 2021
I am going to try one of these ... I have been struggling with pillows since transitioning to being a side sleeper as I am getting older. I've purchased a number of "side sleeper" pillows that are great for about a month :( Hope these work for me!!
 
Author Comment
Jada W. October 29, 2021
Best of luck, Liz!
 
Liz S. November 3, 2021
Mine arrived yesterday and early days, but for the first time ever, my sleep app rated my sleep excellent for quality and duration. Aside from comfort (but have to say, all pillows I've purchase have seemed comfy to start), what I noticed was the pillow stayed cool. Normally, I flip every time I wake up, but no need last night!

I ordered right after commenting above and shipment was nearly immediate, so very happy with speed of delivery.

No odor usually associated with foam items and it seems very well made. So, we will see if these last a bit longer than the down/feather pillows I've been buying, but off to a good start.

One note, I recently bought a new mattress which I've had for 5 weeks and that contributed to sleep quality also (Saatva Classic).
 
Author Comment
Jada W. November 3, 2021
Love to hear that you're enjoying the Marlow so far, Liz! I have a Saatva mattress too that I love—shall we compare notes? Haha!
 
Liz S. November 3, 2021
Ha!! That's pretty funny ... some variation on "small world" or something :)

I was thinking this morning that there are some similarities between the mattress and pillow: the both feel soft with underlying firmness and support - to me.

Sweet dreams to both of us :) !!