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Last Updated October 7, 2023
I don’t know about you, but I love to sleep. I’ve always made sleep a really high priority. One of the things that we don’t replace often, but when it’s time to replace it, we generally do a lot of research, is our pillows.
So if your pillow is comfortable, you will probably sleep better. You’re not going to get a sore neck- you’re going to feel more rested in the morning. So that’s one of the first things - Comfort - whether you are a side sleeper, back sleeper or a stomach sleeper, your pillow should provide you a comfortable place to rest your head, neck and shoulders. So many of us suffer from neck and shoulder pains due to daily stress and desk jobs. The pillow you choose should be therapeutic and should help to alleviate your pains and aches.
But comfort is not the only thing. If you are a person who gives importance to a healthy and more sustainable lifestyle, you’ve probably been thinking of a natural pillow or an organic pillow. Maybe you’re just tired with every pillow you’ve ever tried and want something better that works for you. We spend one-third of our lives asleep. Would you rather spend that precious slumber time with your face buried in toxic man-made synthetic materials or chemical-free natural organic pillows?
If you’re not sure what natural and organic pillows are, they are simply non-toxic pillows made with natural materials rather than the traditional stuffing that you might see in normal pillows which are typically made with polyester stuffing, polyester made from plastics and petroleum products.
Petroleum based polyester can diminish your indoor air quality. The synthetic fillings within these pillows can collect moisture and become a literal breathing ground for the dust mites, ew. Manufacturing these pillows also contribute to water and land pollution. These conventional pillows prevent the air circulation and causes the absorption of chemicals by your skin. It may seem innocuous but it often can be harmful to your health, because it is right under your head for many hours a day.
Natural pillows are the healthiest and safest pillows to use because they are of much higher quality than conventional pillows. The best organic pillows last longer and there is no need to replace them often. Natural pillows are environment friendly and way more hygienic than any other pillows.
Natural and organic pillows are always better for you, your health, and for everyone who lives around you. Those who suffer from allergies or chemical sensitivities tend to notice a significant reduction in symptoms by switching to a natural pillows and natural bedding.
Choosing the best natural pillow is a very difficult task. The quality of your pillow plays a very important role in how comfortable you sleep at night. Generally we sleep 6-8 hours a night. Then there’s also this time where you might be relaxing. So you are in contact with your pillow for a long period of time every single day. For example if your pillow is made with cotton that is treated with pesticides, then all of that is in your pillow comes in contact with your skin for 6-8 hours every single night. So it is important to make sure that you choose the best organic pillows that are made using an organic or non-toxic material and that they are safe to sleep on.
Most of us usually sleep in one of the three sleeping positions; side, back or stomach. I would prefer a firm pillow for side sleepers, soft pillow for stomach sleepers and a flatter pillow for the back sleepers. Each person is different, so before choosing a pillow, make sure that it fits your body, sleeping position and comfort level. I will cover each of the best natural pillows available in the market so you don’t get out of bed feeling unrested and in pain. Towards the end of this article, I have also provided a chart for the best pillows suitable for various sleep positions.
A latex pillow is a good choice for you if you like a memory foam pillow that kind of keeps its form. Of course, organic latex pillows don’t come with all those toxic chemicals memory foam contains such as formaldehyde, benzene, isocyanates, and naphthalene. Natural latex is derived from the rubber tree. Latex pillows come in different forms - one piece, shredded that can be adjusted and hybrid combinations with other natural materials like wool and kapok.
Latex is one hundred percent biodegradable and so when you are done with the pillow you don’t have to worry about those fibers harming the earth. Latex pillows come under the category of cool pillows so they are good for hot sleepers or for people who live in hot climate places. Latex pillow is known for its breathability and ability to stay cool all through the night. Because of their durability, they are a good investment that will last you for many years. Latex is also resistant to mildew, dust mites and other common allergens making it a great choice for people with allergies. Keep in mind to choose natural or organic latex over synthetic or man made latex when you shop for your natural pillows.
A buckwheat pillow or sobakawa pillow is made from buckwheat hulls and that the way the hulls lay within the pillow makes it really breathable one. It is usually a cool pillow. They provide excellent head and neck support and are usually preferred by neck pain sufferers, back sleepers and side sleepers. Make sure that it is a natural and organic buckwheat pillow that you are getting because buckwheat is made from plants that potentially could be treated with pesticides. If organic buckwheat is not in your price range, look for buckwheat not treated with pesticides. Buckwheat pillows do not attract pests as the cleaned hull is of no nutritional value for the pests.
Natural wool is chemical free, resistant to dust mites, fire resistant and softer than the commercial wool. If you’re someone who is very sensitive to bacteria or if you prefer the cleanest bedroom, then wool pillows are some of the best pillows to choose from. It gives you deep regenerated sleep and will definitely help you to wake up refreshed. You will be surprised to know that because of wool’s ability to rapidly absorb and evaporate body moisture and excess heat, you can sleep on this pillow year round without feeling overheated. Look for wool that has been ethically sourced to protect the safety and welfare of the sheep like eco wool.
Organic cotton inside and outside - that’s what I mean by organic cotton pillows. Organic cotton pillows are probably one of the most popular types of pillows that you will see around. They are generally easy to manufacture. What we want to make sure, when it comes to cotton, is that we are getting a one hundred percent certified organic cotton pillow case and organic cotton stuffing. The cotton that’s not organic could be grown using pesticides and what happens is that the pesticides do not leave those fibers. So what you are getting could have pesticides within the fibers of the pillow. Cotton pillows start out soft but get flat and firm over time. It is cooler than polyester or memory foam pillows and is good for all sleeping positions.
Made from the flowers of the Kapok tree native to Mexico, kapok pillows are soft, fluffy and cotton-like. If you like a down or feather pillow, but don’t like the ethical and chemical issues with them, you will want to look for an organic healthy pillow made of Kapok tree. The Kapok pillow is extremely cuddly, soft, kinda like sleeping on a cloud. Its fibers are called silk cotton. I personally suggest this pillow for anyone who is looking for an airy kind of cloud like substance. It’s generally recommended for back and stomach sleepers.
Millet is not just popular among birds, they are getting popular among humans these days. Perhaps, the early bird gets the worm thing made humans interested in millets. But we don’t eat them, we sleep on them. The millet hulls are softer, lighter and quieter. Some prefer this over buckwheat hulls but buckwheat pillows are more popular than millet pillows.
Although not very popular you can see hemp filled and hemp cover pillows. Hemp makes the pillows rather strong and dense thus making it ideal for use as a throw pillow. Hemp is suitable for people with allergies and it absorbs moisture and prevents sweating.
Pillows having a zippered closure protects them from stains and dust mites. They are easy to remove and wash. You can adjust the filling inside the pillow according to your preferences. It keeps your pillow cleaner and blocks out the allergens. This is an inexpensive way to extend the life of your pillow and give you peace of mind. Opting for an extra zippered pillow protector is a great idea so it gets easy for you to clean the pillows without removing the stuffing. Also some of the pillow covers are heavier fabric to accommodate filling weight especially for buckwheat, so a softer natural and organic sateen pillow protector case makes your pillow the softest comfort pillow for your face to rest on. Check that your bedding is unbleached/undyed or naturally dyed with plant botanicals and minerals or with GOTS certified colorants.
There are also densely woven dust mite barrier cloth zippered pillow cases available to prevent dust mites and bed bugs from penetrating through. Generally anything between 2 and 5 microns is a good pore size to look for. Anything less than 2 microns would be hot to sleep on and anything more than 5 microns would not be efficient in protecting you from bed bugs and dust mites.
Fragrant herbs like lavender and the naturally apple scented chamomile are known for its relaxing properties. When it is placed inside the pillowcase of your favorite pillow, the scent helps you to sleep well.
A lot of pillows use formaldehyde to keep things wrinkle free and to keep their form – it is a preservative for dead bodies lurking in our pillows. Unfortunately we see that in pillows a lot. Flame retardants would be the other one. We know that this chemical that they use and spray on the mattresses and pillows are very harmful to our health. It is very important to avoid it wherever we can. This is why I said earlier wool is a great option if you are concerned about fire hazard. It is naturally flame resistant. VOCs are also within a lot of pillow products because they are using different chemicals to create a texture, to create something that is stain resistant and moisture resistant. They are using chemicals for all these instead of natural fibers.
Some pillows use synthetic perfumes and deodorizers to mask the chemical smell of the pillow stuffing. These perfumes are composed of chemicals themselves and likely not something you want to be inhaling. If you’re breathing in all these chemicals during your sleep, you’re at risk for a laundry list of health risks: headaches, asthma, respiratory difficulties, depression, insomnia, joint pain, fatigue, digestive issues, neurological disorders, and even cancer.
It is high time to take a look at the sustainable and environment friendly pillow options available on the market today. I’m pretty sure that these natural fill pillows will give you a healthier sleeping domain. Whether you buy just a travel pillow or a neck pillow, or a bed pillow with sizes ranging from standard, queen to king or a huge body pillow, thorough reading of the labels and conducting thorough research and reading reviews on the same is very important. Never hesitate to ask the manufacturers if you have any queries about what’s in their products.
Don’t just look for fluffy pillows. If you settle for the fluff you will end up in a huff. We all know it’s just a pillow, but it makes a big difference between having a tight sleep and one tossing and turning.
Just as you look for a natural and organic pillow, it is important to check for toxic free bedding such as mattress and organic cotton sheets. You may not have to replace all at once but slowly you can make your sleep haven an organic and natural place to rest. Look for the best organic and natural bedding products free of chemicals. One of the best mattress options available in the market is certified latex. There are other fills available for toppers besides latex like cotton, coir, wool, kapok or combinations of these. You can also adjust how firm you want it to be. Latex is sold as one piece or multiple pieces or layers for mattress but shredded talalay latex is a one of the best options for pillows. Many companies do free shipping and returns for natural products.
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Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.