best. reading. pillow. ever?
November 22, 2016 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Mefites who work lying down - what do you recline on?

I want to use my laptop lying down. I already have a stand, but have yet to find a pillow to prop me up and rest my arms on while typing. If you have found a reading/bedrest pillow that works, please point to the specific model. Bonus points if it works without leaning against a wall/bed head. Thanks!!!

(BTW links to patterns for making one are also welcome!)
posted by mirileh to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I like a regular old boyfriend pillow for studying in bed. Pregnancy-related nausea has rendered me immobile/horizontal and I've been pretty comfy with this guy.
posted by pintapicasso at 9:47 AM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm using that kind of pillow right now.
posted by Ruki at 11:01 AM on November 22, 2016

I have a bed rest pillow like the one linked, but it is called a bed lounger and has pockets, which I actually use! Though I see it's also much more expensive, so...I guess pockets aren't totally necessary. I will say I've had mine for more than 15 years, so it has stood the test of time.
posted by dawg-proud at 12:33 PM on November 22, 2016

What pintapicasso calls the boyfriend pillow I think of as the husband pillow. I love using mine to read in bed or on the floor.
posted by bearwife at 3:35 PM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

My neighbors gave us an original FatBoy beanbag chair when they moved, and it's now the most sought-after seat in the living room, even beyond our La-Z-Boy sofa. Like, we get into space-sharing wars with my dog who thinks floor-based cushions should automatically be ceded to him.

You can mold it into lots of shapes. My favorite is a nest-like arrangement with a boyfriend pillow for working while reclining. No bed or wall required!
posted by ananci at 3:59 PM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

What position are you planning to take?

Because, if you try to sit more or less upright, intending to type as if you were sitting in a chair, the arms of most bed rest pillows will go too far out to be ergonomic for typing, because in a sitting-upright position for typing, just looking at your arms, elbows need to be kind of close to the body and at around 90 degrees, with forearms sloping down towards the typing surface and hands ideally in a neutral position. And most bed rest pillow arms lack any kind of architecture to keep them close enough to the body. (Though I have seen a few on Amazon that have wooden "arms" and articulable/adjustable joints - but those aren't cheap.) The fabric seams aren't strong enough to keep them in place.

Problem two with sitting upright to type in bed is that, unless you also get into some other gear, craning down to see the screen is rough on your neck. The monitor needs to be a little lower than eye level. Only way to do that in bed is with: A) an adjustable laptop riser that will bring the monitor to the right height, PLUS a separate keyboard. I've yet to see a laptop riser intended for use on a bed's soft surface that will take it up high enough for most people. Or B) a kind of C framed rolling side table type thing to hold a separate monitor in place, and provide a place for the laptop to rest, with, again a separate keyboard. (This kind of C framed thing does exist, it's usually used in hospitals and also not cheap.) Or C), you could install an adjustable TV support for the monitor to a wall perpendicular to your bed (with the bed sort of close to the wall, so the arm could reach you). I have thought hard about these possibilities, as well as zillions of pillow configurations because I've had a few periods of unwanted bed rest - including once for a coccyx injury - and am sensitive AF to mechanical stress.

Unless you get that other stuff, the best way to use a laptop in bed, IME/O, is the upper right position here (see this [have to scroll down quite a bit]).

I just use a big, firm pillow - though Ananci's idea seems pretty good to me. (Also keep a couple of cervical pillows around, those are good for necks/lumbar area when needed.)

Even with that least-stressful position, though, it's no good to stay in it for hours. Mix things up every now and then, just don't stay in less good positions for too long.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:31 PM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

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