Rachel Baumel created the Sleep Again Pillow System out of necessity - this is her story!

If anyone asked me five years ago what I would be doing now, I never would have said that I would be making and selling pillows! Life definitely takes you in different directions. Truth be told, I am a serial entrepreneur and a natural problem solver, so perhaps creating this business was inevitable! In September of 2017 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. While recovering, I had the most difficult time sleeping. Sleep has always been hard for me and being forced to sleep on my back and on an incline made it nearly impossible. A good friend recommended that I try purchasing a recliner, but I really didn’t want to go that route. So I started putting different pillows together to try and find a comfortable solution. I essentially created a nest of pillows to snuggle myself in and eventually found the perfect combination and finally got some sleep. It felt life saving at the time. I lovingly referred to the pillow setup as my “life raft”.

Once I was cleared to sleep on my side again, my husband negotiated the exit of the pillow from the bed, but they came right back after my next two reconstruction surgeries, an ovary removal, and sinus surgery. Every time I used it, I knew I’d be comfortable and able to sleep. I began lending my pillows out to people going through similar procedures. Every single person loved them and actually found new ways to use and configure the pillows, depending on their individual needs.

The system works as a whole and each individual piece plays an important role. The wedge pillow below your head and shoulders provides the required elevation to help with optimal blood flow. Bonus: it keeps you from rolling over and sleeping on your side. But sleeping with just a wedge pillow alone is problematic because you tend to slide down or to the side - that’s where the two side pillows come in. The two large side pillows keep you cradled in place are uniquely designed to actually touch at the top and bottom. At the top, your torso fits in the small contoured opening and your lower body fits in the larger contoured opening. Overall, your body rests on top of both pillows and this gives your arms and hips the support they need. Basically, your body is supported on all sides. The side pillows are wider at the bottom so your legs can rest on them and a second wedge pillow elevates your legs to prevent swelling. Lastly, the small head pillow can be positioned top of the two side pillows to support your head and neck.

The key to the success of our system is that every person is different and needs different combinations of pillows at different times in their recovery. The pillow system is completely customizable to offer a variety of options for different needs, different bodies … and even different surgeries! Sleep is critical to healing and the “secret sauce” with our pillow system is that it was born out of necessity. There are other post-surgical pillows on the market but only the Sleep Again Pillow System provides 360 degrees of total support.

I generally believe that things happen for a reason. I was the first person in my family to be diagnosed with breast cancer; it was a huge shock to me and my entire family. I reevaluated everything in my life after my diagnosis. I thought about my stress level and work load. I thought about the way I pushed myself to the limit on a regular basis. My body finally said “no thank you”. I was relieved that my prognosis was positive and that the cancer was caught early and not aggressive. In hindsight, without my cancer diagnosis, I never would have created the Sleep Again Pillow System. I might never have learned the lessons of balance and self-care. I know it sounds cheesy, but I am truly grateful for all the lessons I have learned through my experience. I would not be where I now without having had cancer.