We may not all get as much rest as we'd like, of course, but one of the primary causes of poor sleep quality and duration can be the object you lay your head upon. A traditionally manufactured pillow is often subject to the same unfortunate limitations as synthetic bedding, awash in a host of compounds which are intended to retard the fabric's flammability, yet are just as dangerous in their own way. Pillows can also be a haven for dust mites, as we've recently discussed on this blog, contributing to a host of allergens and respiratory problems. Though there is some dispute about the impact of dust mites on typical bedding, over time a staggering percentage of the weight of your pillow can be associated with deceased mites and their bodily waste.
Natural fiber pillows safeguard against both of these drawbacks. While mites can be kept at bay with specially designed covers, it can be equally as effective to utilize a pillow made from a material that gives them no easy habitat. Mites require a humid and moist environment to survive, and while down pillows can provide them this, other fibers will have the opposite effect. In the case of flame retardants, some natural fibers evince their own inherent fire-prevention qualities, thereby negating the need for chemical treatments.
Buckwheat hulls are another natural fiber that can be used in pillow stuffing, though they represent a different feel. Though it may take some getting used to, a buckwheat pillow is excellent for airflow, keeping your head cool at night. They also excel at support, as buckwheat hulls conform to your body, and can be used to alleviate aches and pains associated with nighttime discomfort. Some buckwheat pillows also use a wool outer lining, in order to muffle the "crunchy" sound that can sometimes be associated with them. Millet pillows are similar to buckwheat, while a "buckwool" pillow is made from wool on one side and buckwheat on the other, giving sleepers a clear choice each night, and the benefits of both fibers.
When it comes to natural fiber pillows, there is no shortage of available options on the market. For those of you who are interested in (or have already invested in) sustainable, chemical free bedding, it's almost a no-brainer to take into consideration the one thing that resides closest to your head every night.