On average, a person sleeps for about six to eight hours every night. That’s a third of your day spent lying down! But sleeping is crucial because your body is recuperating the energy you lost the entire day.
In spite of the benefits sleeping does to your body, laying down with very minimal movements can damage your body over time especially if you’re lying down on an uncomfortable bed or pillow. In fact, a study in 2011 confirmed that pillow comfort is correlated with the quality of sleep you’re getting.
This is why choosing the right pillow can change the way you sleep, and allow you to wake up more rejuvenated.
How Do You Choose The Right Pillow?
Buying the right pillow that suits your sleeping needs can do wonders for your neck, back, and head. Before deciding on which pillow to buy, you need to figure out how you sleep at night.
There are three types of common sleeping positions:
- Back Sleeper
If you’re a back sleeper, consider buying a thinner pillow with an extra loft at the bottom. Using a thinner pillow helps prevent throwing your neck too forward, as this can cause straining on your neck later on.
- Side Sleeper
If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll benefit from a pillow with high loft and firm support. Naturally, when you sleep on your side, your neck needs to be in a higher position to maintain a healthy posture.
What you need is a pillow that’s firm enough to maintain support at that height. This will allow you to keep a healthy spine and avoid back pain while sleeping on your side.
- Stomach Sleeper
If you’re a stomach sleeper, then this is where pillow picking gets tricky because experts recommend avoiding this position due to the strain it does to your back and spine. However, you can still enjoy a good night’s rest by choosing a pillow with a lower loft and soft support. Lower pillows tend to be better for stomach sleepers because this helps avoid propping the head too much which can cause neck pain.
Synthetic VS Natural
Another aspect you should consider is the material used to fill your pillows. There are two types of materials pillow manufacturers use: synthetic materials and natural or organic materials.
Synthetic pillows are the typical pillows you find in the store. Most of these pillows are stuffed with synthetic materials like polyester, memory foam, etc.
Despite being marketed to improve sleeping, petroleum-based polyester material can actually cause disruptions to your sleep. In fact, polyester fillers have fumes that can be dangerous to your lungs when you’re exposed to them for long periods.
This is why many individuals, especially those with allergies and asthma, switch to natural pillows.
What Are Natural Pillows?
Natural pillows, as the name implies, are made from organic, natural materials. From the filling down to its casing, natural pillows are manufactured in a way that they’re both safe for the environment and for human use.
Some of the best natural pillows are made of buckwheat, cotton, latex, or wool.
- Cotton Pillows – Cotton is a very well-known type of material used in fabrics because of its breathability and softness. As a pillow, cotton fibers create a soft, pillow-y filling that is both breathable and provides enough support for the neck.
However, you need to be very cautious when buying cotton pillows, as some cotton fibers are grown using pesticides. Always look for organic certifications when buying any type of natural pillow.
- Latex Pillows – Organic latex is a milky liquid extracted from rubber trees. When processed into pillow form, latex fillers come in shredded or solid form. Solid latex makes for a denser, firmer pillow, whereas, shredded latex provides a softer feel.
This type of pillow is best suited for people with sensitive skin as latex is naturally hypoallergenic.
- Wool Pillows – Wool is a fiber extracted from sheep fleece. It’s strong and durable, which makes for a firm pillow best suited for side sleepers.
A wool pillow is also known for helping regulate body temperature. It wicks moisture during summer time and keeps you warm and cozy in the winter.
- Buckwheat Pillows – A buckwheat pillow, also known as Sobakawa, is a pillow traditionally used in Japan filled with hulls from buckwheat seeds. This type of material allows for a firm but spongy feel.
An advantage to owning a buckwheat pillow, as seen in this video, is the ability to customize how much filling you want inside it.
You can remove some of the hulls if you prefer sleeping on you back, and add more if you wish to sleep on your side.
Why Should You Buy A Natural Pillow?
The first question that you might be thinking about is: ‘Are natural pillows better than synthetic pillows?’ The short answer is, yes! Here’s why:
- Natural Pillows Help Regulate Body Temperature
Let’s face it, nobody wants to wake up in the middle of the night feeling hot and sweaty. Synthetic pillows tend to make you feel warmer in higher temperatures is because they’re water resistant.
Unlike synthetic pillows, natural pillows like cotton and wool are 10 times better at regulating body temperature because these fibers have the ability to absorb moisture and wick sweat.
- Natural Pillows Reduce Chronic Back Pain
If you’re constantly complaining about pains in your back that never seem to ease up, then you should consider switching to organic pillows. Because of its natural materials, organic pillows create a better shape to support your neck while you sleep.
In fact, buckwheat pillow is known to help alleviate back and neck pains. Buckwheat hulls are shaped in such a way that it feels like you’re getting a massage on your neck while you’re resting.
- Natural Pillows Are Better For The Environment And Better For You
Believe it or not, the manufacture of polyester harms the environment as much as it harms humans. Why? Because polyester is a non-biodegradable material that relies heavily on fossil fuel extractions to be produced.
Waste products from polyester production and synthetic pillows thrown in the landfill will stay there for hundreds of years. Moreover, chemical compounds found in synthetic pillows actually contain carcinogens which can be dangerous with long-term exposure.
- Helps Reduce Snoring
There are several reasons why a person snores while they sleep. In fact, one possible cause might be the pillow you’re using right now.
Snoring occurs when you’re not in the proper sleeping position. As the airways relax and become narrow while you fall asleep, every time you breathe, the walls of your throat vibrate which creates the snoring sound.
You can reduce snoring with a pillow that shapes well and puts your head in a better position. That way, your air intake will no longer cause vibrations in your throat. Since natural pillows have superior moldability for your neck. It can help improve airflow, resulting in less snoring.
- Helps You Sleep Better
Let’s talk about sleep quality. Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling like you aren’t well rested? That’s probably because your sleep quality isn’t that great.
Several factors like diet, temperature, and sleeping patterns result in low sleep quality. Comfort is also one big reason why you’re not getting the most out of your night.
The quality of your sleep is compromised when the quality of your pillow and mattress isn’t great. Poor quality pillows can cause discomfort on your spine, body temperature, and neck. This might be the reason why it’s hard to stay asleep because you’re constantly experiencing discomfort throughout the night.
Since natural pillows have better cushion, support, and moldability, they can help support your neck and maintain your spine posture for long hours of sleep. Moreover, pillows made from 100% organic materials are breathable, thus providing more comfort during hotter nights.
- Helps Prevent Allergic Reactions
If you suffer from allergies and/or asthma, then you can benefit from switching to a natural pillow.
Why should you make the switch? Well, for starters, dust mites love warm and moist places. This is why they’re usually found in places like your carpet, mattress, or even pillow.
Synthetic fibers like polyester are dust mite magnets because they trap moisture, heat, and are more permeable for dust mites to penetrate.
As mentioned earlier, synthetic pillows are made from polyester materials. Throughout the years, polyester has been discovered to cause respiratory issues after years of exposure. How? This material is made from chemicals with low boiling points.
Essentially, the chemical components of polyester can transform from solid to gaseous form at room temperature. That said, you’re probably inhaling harmful chemical fumes from your synthetic pillow. Organic natural pillows, on the other hand, are far superior in terms of being hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial.
Natural latex and buckwheat pillows have been proven to be hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial. So, if you have sensitive skin, then you might benefit from investing in either of the two. Wool and cotton materials are also naturally absorbent, being able to absorb moisture without retaining it.
What Do You Have to Consider When Buying Natural Pillows?
At this point, you’re now probably convinced to make the switch from synthetic to natural pillows. But what makes a natural pillow worth buying?
Here’s a list of things you need to consider first before heading down to the nearest pillow store or going online shopping for organic pillows:
- Choosing The Right Material
The first thing you need to consider when buying a pillow is the material used for the filling. Everybody has a different preference when it comes to their pillows. Some would opt for a softer pillow, while others would prefer firmer ones.
Fibers like cotton and wool tend to provide a softer feel, while buckwheat and latex are firmer and provides more support for the neck.
If you’re in the market for a breathable set of pillows, then a wool or cotton pillow might be the best option for you. If you want a pillow with extra support, then a latex pillow is worth taking a look at.
In choosing the right material, you should also be aware that some materials tend to be heavier than others. Buckwheat pillows tend to be heavier than the others because the fillers are actual seed hulls.
- Choosing The Right Comfort
In terms of comfort, no pillow is the best, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. But there’s certainly a pillow that’s perfect for you! That’s why the very first step in choosing one is defining what your needs are.
Here are some things you might consider about comfort:
- What type of sleeper are you (back, side, or stomach sleeper)?
- Do you prefer softer materials or firmer ones?
- What health concerns are you trying to ease?
- Do you suffer from allergies and/or asthma?
- What size would suit you best?
Choosing which pillow is comfortable for you is an important consideration because with comfort comes the price tag.
- Choosing The Right Price
Prices for organic natural pillows range from USD$60 to USD$200. Yes, it’s not cheap.
But think about it, if you’re using a pillow on an average of six to eight hours a night for several years, USD$60 is a great investment.
The health benefits certainly outweigh the price. Moreover, organic materials tend to be more durable and have a longer life-span.
- Choosing The Right Benefits
In choosing the right pillow for you, you need to do your research. Here are some questions you may ask yourself to help with your decision:
- Are you looking to alleviate your neck pains?
- Do you want to minimize snoring at night?
- Are you looking for a pillow made of sustainable materials?
- Do you prefer pillows that were produced cruelty-free?
- Are you looking for a pillow with the longest life-span?
Everybody wants to sleep like a baby every night, but many can’t because their pillows aren’t the best. Synthetic pillows that promised ‘better sleep’ failed to live up to its promise, and now you’re paying the price.
But there is a better, healthier, and more sustainable route: organic natural pillows. It can help alleviate back and neck pains, and even help prevent allergies and asthma. Overall, it’s just the healthier choice long term. So, if you’re looking to switch to organic natural pillows, go ahead! You deserve comfortable, restful nights.