Pillows, Toxins and How to Triumph Over a Stiff Neck

How to Select the Best All Natural Pillows

Are your bed pillows toxic and could they be impacting your health?  If you’re not using all natural, organic pillows the chances are YES your pillows are toxic, and YES they could be impacting your health. And, would you like to solve your stiff neck problem? Then, YES, all natural pillows may be your answer.

Your Typical Pillows

But first, let’s talk about your average pillow and look under the covers.

If your pillows are made of polyurethane foam or polyester fibers, they are made with petroleum by-products that can off-gas dangerous VOC’s that you breathe each night.

And, if that is not enough, since petroleum by-products are highly flammable, the pillows must be treated with flame retardant chemicals to pass flammability tests. Chemical flame retardants are best avoided. The EPA “is concerned that certain flame retardants are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to both humans and the environment.” Enough said.

So why would you want to place your head every night on a synthetic pillow that has been saturated with flame retardant chemicals?

How to Sleep without Toxins and Lose Your Stiff Neck

Doesn’t it make more sense to rest your head on a pillow made from all natural, organic materials that have not been treated with any chemicals?

Before the advent of polyurethane foam and poly-fiberfill, people slept with pillows made from materials found in nature such as cotton, wool, kapok, buckwheat, and more recently 100% natural latex.

Not only are pillows made from all natural products better for your health because they are chemical free, often you will also notice an immediate improvement in the quality of your sleep. And, maybe even lose that crick in your neck. All natural pillows offer great options for head and neck support that you’re not going to find with a foam pillow.

Guide to Natural Pillows: Which Natural Pillow is Best for You?

Because there are so many excellent options, how do you know which one is best for you and your family? It all depends on your natural sleeping position and pillow preferences.

The key to a good night’s sleep for most people is using a pillow that helps to keep your head and neck in “neutral alignment” meaning your head is squarely on your shoulders without bending too far back or reaching too far forward.

First, decide which sleeping position you favor: Side, Back, or Stomach.

Sleeping on your SIDE is the most common sleeping position. Side sleepers generally need firmer, higher lofted pillows to fill the distance between the ear and outside shoulder. Good choices for side sleepers to consider are latex, wool, kapok, and buckwheat/wool combos.

Sleeping on your BACK is the next most common sleeping position. Back sleepers generally need softer to medium firmness pillows with high moldability that cradle your head yet have enough loft to fill the gap under your neck. Good choices for back sleepers include shredded latex, wool, cotton, kapok, buckwheat, and buckwheat/wool combos.

Sleeping on your STOMACH is generally not recommended and best avoided. But if it is your preferred sleeping position, then you should choose a very light, low lofted pillow. The best options for stomach sleepers are soft wool or cotton pillows.

Now choose the natural organic fill that best suits your specific needs and preferences.  Here are some of the unique properties and features common to various organic pillow stuffing options.

100%  Natural Latex Pillows

Be sure to look for 100% Natural Latex, Natural Latex or just Latex is most often a blend of Natural and Synthetic rubbers, and you want to avoid synthetic rubber.  100% Natural Latex is an ideal choice for pillows because it is flexible, provides good support and is long-lasting with little or no compression over time.

Natural latex resists dust mites, inhibits mold and mildew, and regulates heat. Latex pillows are available with solid foam core for firm support, or as shredded latex that is easier to shape and adapt. Selecting a shredded latex pillow with a zipper it allows you to add or subtract fill to adjust the loft even more. Check out our top 100% all natural shredded latex pillow.

100% All Natural Shredded Latex Pillow

100% Virgin Lambswool Pillows

Pillows filled with virgin lambswool wool offer many properties favorable to a good night’s sleep. Wool has a natural moisture wicking ability helping to keep your head cool and dry leading to sound sleep. The ability to wick moisture and circulate air also keeps mold and mildew from forming. Dust mites do not thrive in wool making it naturally hypoallergenic. Wool is light weight with good loft providing soft, comfortable support. Wool does have a tendency to compact, become firmer over time.

Our top recommendation for 100% Virgin Lambswool Pillows offers soft, medium and firm options. So, this is a great option for many people.

100% virgin lambswool pillows

100% Organic Cotton Pillows

Cotton is as pure and natural as you can get, but it is important to look for Organic Cotton to avoid any residual pesticides. Cotton breathes during warm weather, unlike synthetic pillows, keeping you cooler and more comfortable while you sleep. Organic cotton is a good choice for people with chemical sensitivities. While cotton starts out puffy, it will compact and become firmer over time.

Our top recommendation for 100% Organic Cotton Pillows offers soft, medium and firm options. It’s a good idea to get an added zipper so you can adjust the amount of cotton in your pillow over time.

100% organic cotton pillows

100% Natural Kapok Pillows

A natural down alternative, Kapok is the perfect option for those who want the loft and soft feeling of down without the allergy or cruelty issues. Kapok is a healthier, all natural option compared to other down alternatives which are usually made with synthetic, polyester fibers.

Kapok is a silk-like fiber that provides a soft yet supportive fluffy feel. It is 8 times lighter than cotton and does not compress as quickly as cotton, wool, or down. It is hypoallergenic and is naturally water-resistant so it wicks moisture for a comfortable dry sleep.  Kapok fiber is a renewable resource that is extracted from the seed pods of the kapok tree, which grows in tropical rain forests.

It is also fluffier than wool, is washable, and maintains its loft longer. Kapok is an excellent choice for people who like soft, fluffy pillows while offering more support than down.

Here’s our recommended 100% Natural Kapok Pillow. It is also offered in soft, medium and firm to fit all sleepers.

100% Natural Kapok Pillows

100% Natural Buckwheat Pillows

Used in Asian countries for centuries, buckwheat pillows offer superb support and the ability to conform to the shape of your neck and head. They cradle your neck and head with a steady but gentle support that does not compress during the night. Buckwheat hulls allow air to circulate freely keeping you cool and dry. Best for back sleepers, side sleepers should consider a combination wool/buckwheat pillow to better suit their needs.

Our favorite Natural Buckwheat Pillow is perfect for back sleepers who like support.

100% Natural Buckwheat/Wool Combo Pillows

Offering the exceptional support of buckwheat with the softness and comfort of wool, these combination pillows offer a great solution for people who like or want to try the support of buckwheat but are concerned about the “rustle” and/or the feel of the hulls against their head. They can either be half buckwheat/half wool allowing you the option of using either side or a buckwheat core wrapped in wool. These pillows are a good option for both back and side sleepers.

Our favorite Natural Buckwheat/Wool Combination Pillow is half buckwheat and half virgin lambswool. It’s perfect for back and side sleepers who like the support of buckwheat but prefer no buckwheat rustling sound.

Natural Buckwheat and Lambswool Combination Pillow

Cheers to sleeping better with healthier choices and fewer stiff necks!

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