10 Adults & What They Sleep With

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Did you know that November is National Sleep Comfort Month? Probably not, as it's one of those "holiday months" of mysterious origin — Sealy Mattress Company, we have our suspicions. But, whatever the origin, the focus this month should be on getting comfy and sleeping in (at least once in a while).
A "comfort object," also known as a "transitional object," can help kids self-soothe when they're stressed out. However, sometimes — and perhaps more often than we think — children never really let go of these "comfort objects" and continue to sleep with them well into adulthood. While there are no exact numbers on how prevalent this phenomenon is, one decidedly unscientific study (conducted by hotel chain Travelodge) found that of the 6,000 surveyed British adults, 35% still slept with a stuffed animal.
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So, keeping that blankie or stuffed ghost around into your 20s might not be so odd. Ahead, we ask 10 R29ers what brings them comfort as they fall asleep. The items range from the technological to the plush, and we reveal the stories behind their bedtime companions.
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Sydney and Marshie

"Marshie. I-E, not Y — that's important. I think I got him for my 8th birthday, so 15 or 16 years ago? True love is ageless. Carole Pompeii, are you out there? You were in my third-grade class and gave me Marshie for my birthday. Full disclosure, our friendship has faded, but Marshie has always remained. He is so plump. The perfect little pillow. Can I sleep without him? Yes. Will I? No. As far as my nighttime companions go, if you can't hang with Marshie, you can't hang with me. I sleep great at night. That's really all I can ask for."
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Venus and the Descendant Blanket

"I jokingly refer to my blankie to my parents as the 'descendant blanket,' since (surprisingly) it has held up quite well, and I'm bound to pass it down to my future children. My first vivid memory of having this blanket over me was when I was sleeping on the top bunk in daycare in China, so at least 20 years ago. My mother purchased this towel with the original intention of using it as a bath towel, but started covering me with it when the AC was a bit too cold. Since you have to name-tag all of your items at daycare to prevent mixing it up with other people's stuff, my mother scribbled my Chinese name on one corner. You can still see her handwriting clearly after all these years!

"Luckily, a bath towel is a relatively normal item to have on your bed. But, I did confuse a friend-with-benefits once. He asked why I'm still keeping a rag with frayed edges and holes around.

"I moved to the U.S. on my own five years ago. The blanket — which has been with me the majority of my life — has heavy sentimental value. It reminds me of the home I left behind and symbolizes the kid I was and the adult I am now — we are still essentially the same person, sleeping under the same piece of cloth."
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Michael and No Name

"I've had No Name for 18 years! WOW. I was VERY into the occult as a kid, especially witches, and I begged and begged for a black cat. He doesn’t have a name because I was the kid who didn’t give their stuffed animals names because I wanted them to tell me themselves.

"Maybe I’m delusional, but I really don’t see the issue with sleeping with a stuffed animal as an adult. Like, I’m sure there’s a very fine line I’m walking between being a person who has assigned an actual personality to an inanimate object and someone who is simply comforted sleeping next to something they’ve had since a kid. Do I sound defensive here? I sound defensive."
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Annie and Ernie

"I've had him for 23 beautiful years and counting. He was a gift from the heavens via my Uncle Matt. He's been around so long that he's molded to the way I hold him, which is over my shoulder like a little neck pillow. The space in between his head and his butt is the perfect little crevice for my head. "

"I can fall asleep without him, but I certainly don't like to. I like sleeping next to something (ideally a live human person), so sometimes if I realize he's not in the bed I'll get up to get him from the living room, no matter how tired I may be. It just doesn't feel the same without him.

"Ernie's part of the family from the start. Either you're on board or you're not comin' on board, if you catch my meaning. If I have an overnight guest, though, I generally kick or throw him off the bed or shove him in a corner for a little — he's a very forgiving dude, which is another thing I love about Ernie.

"There was one summer when I was living in Harlem with five other people in a one-and-a-half-bedroom apartment. Throughout the course of the summer I'd come home from work to find Ernie in various compromising positions. One time my friend even put him in the freezer. It was kind of a fun treasure hunt (for me, not for Ernie). We're better off now living alone, though. That's how we like it best, Ernie and I."
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Sarah and Lil' Wolverine and Android

"The little Wolverine is cleverly named Lil' Wolverine, and the android is just Android. I've had both of them for about three years. Lil' Wolverine was a craft project of mine, and the Android was a gift from a very dear friend who spent some time at Google. I really just love that the Android is an extremely comfy pillow, and Lil' Wolverine's button eyes are pretty adorable. I do have the power to fall asleep without them. It's a little embarrassing to sleep with a stuffed animal as an adult, but it seems way more common than I originally thought. I'm not sure what it says about me? Maybe that I'm a good cuddler? Or, that I love cute things? Or, I'm having trouble transitioning to Real Adulthood? Who knows!"
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Neha and Timmy the Penguino

"Timmy the Penguino. He's named after the great love of my life, Tim Riggins. Sure, he's a stuffed animal, but Timmy is actually not a lifelong friend from childhood. I acquired him about five years ago — but it feels like we've spent a lifetime together. My best friend, Nina, who used to be my roommate and partner in crime in all things, betrayed me terribly five years ago and left me (and NYC) for business school. Obviously, I was devastated, so to soften the blow she bought me Timmy.

"I love his big butt. It prevents him from standing on his own, but conversely, it also makes him the optimal shape for cuddling. My boyfriend has been introduced to Timmy, who lives on top of my hamper. So far, he appears not to have any real thoughts about him...but one day, I anticipate them becoming respectful peers and partners. Kinda like Riggins and Matt Saracen did."
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Sharon and Sharon's iPad

"I've had my iPad for a year now — I bought it just before the new slimmer, sexier version came out. Which is typical. I used to read a book before going to bed, but when sharing a room in Ghana one summer, my roommate seemed to have so much more fun watching a show on her computer than my slogging through a Jane Austen novel. Now, my brain is trained to recognize Ted Mosby's voice as a signal for bedtime. My boyfriend and I love watching Netflix together, like Chopped or House Hunters International ("But, this apartment doesn't have any Parisian charm!") — nothing too exciting that'll get us wound up, like BBC's Sherlock Holmes or The Bletchley Circle. "
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Marin and Pooh Bear

"My fiancé bought him for me when I was moving for school. I was nervous about bringing my childhood bear to a new location in fear that I would lose him. So, he bought me a Pooh bear, a new companion for a new beginning. I know many people may think it is childish to sleep with a stuffed animal, but I don’t really care. I’m a kid at heart."
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Alyssa and Pillow-Pillow

"My sleep companion is named 'Pillow-Pillow.' I've had it for as long as I can remember, since I was born, I think. And, despite relocating numerous times throughout my life, it has come with me everywhere, including the college dorms, road trips, airplanes, and my first apartment. I can fall asleep without it, but I don't sleep as well.

"My favorite thing about it is how old it is and also how practical it is. I love Pillow-Pillow's rips and tears and discoloration — they give him character. Plus, now I use it to prop my head up a bit when I'm scrolling Instagram or checking a few last emails before bed. I don't think my boyfriend's ever said anything about it — he may have remarked on how gross it is when he first saw it, but now he's just used to seeing it. I've never thought it was weird for adults to sleep with something from childhood. Pillow-Pillow may not be a ghost or a penguin or a bear, but to me he has just as much meaning and as many comforting qualities as a smiling stuffed animal. I'll probably keep sleeping with Pillow-Pillow until he practically disintegrates."
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Ben and Ian the Boyfriend and Oliver the Dog

"Their names are Ian the Boyfriend and Oliver the Dog, and I have had them, respectively, almost nine years and almost nine months.

"Ian and I met waiting in line for the bathroom at a party called the Urban Gypsy Circus. We ended up with Oliver because my mom rescued him but then had to move and couldn't take care of him anymore. But, the timing was good, because we'd started getting tipsy at brunch and then wandering around and looking at puppies. I guess getting drunk and adopting a puppy is like the gay version of an unplanned pregnancy.

"Ollie's kind of the perfect cuddler. He usually waits until we've settled and then finds himself a nook to curl up in. The upside of that is that it's incredibly sweet; the downside is that every once in a while we knock him off the bed by mistake. If I so much as roll over just to hug Ian, Oliver will find a way to climb up the pillows behind us and dive-bomb into the middle. He has to get sexiled, and even then he usually waits curled up directly outside our bedroom door."
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