Healthy Sleep Pillows: 6 All-Natural and Non-Toxic Options

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

On the lookout for an eco-friendly pillow? We’ve heard a lot about buckwheat and organic wool pillows, but reviews vary depending on what type of sleeper the reviewer is (stomach, back, side) and how firm they like their pillow. Everyone’s different. So how to choose! First, you need to know the options and what they’re best for:

1. Latex: made of 100% latex, which is naturally hypoallergenic and resists dust mites. Available in standard, queen and king sizes.

  • Best For: Side and stomach sleepers. Side sleepers should stick to the contoured shape, as the pillow’s firmness helps support the neck and keep the spine aligned. Stomach sleepers should go for the soap shape, which tends to be softer and flatter.
  • Care: Hand-wash the latex in warm water with mild soap, blot with a towel, and air dry. Case can be machine-washed.
  • Average price: $69-$89

2. Buckwheat: as covered in this review by Emily, buckwheat pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls and, if you’re used to fluffy pillows, may take a bit of time to get used to. Buckwheat is also great for air circulation and keeping your head cool, especially in warmer weather. Look for ones with an organic wool outer layer to muffle the ‘crunchy’ sound.

  • Best For: All types. A zipper lets you fill or remove the hulls to your desired thickness. You could even make your own.
  • Care: Rinse the hulls in cool water, drain, and air dry. Machine wash the case.
  • Average price: $75

3. Kapok: is a silky fiber harvested from ceiba trees (a tropical tree). After the ripe pods of the tree are harvested, the seeds are removed and the fluffy fiber is then thoroughly cleaned and dried. It is 8 times lighter than cotton and feels very much like down (without the accompanying allergies).

  • Best For: Back sleepers. This material is very fluffy and offers minimal resistance.
  • Care: Machine wash gentle cycle in warm water. Cool dry with tennis balls for fluffing.
  • Average price: $50

4. Organic Wool: A pure wool pillow is great for regulating temperature and moisture as the wool fibers naturally wick moisture away from your face so you remain at an even temp all night. Wool is also naturally mold, mildew, and fire-resistant.

  • Best For: Side sleepers, due to the firmness of the wool, although you can find differing degrees of firmness.
  • Care: Spot clean with water and vinegar. Air outside in the sun or fluff in a dryer with tennis balls to freshen.
  • Average price: $70

5. Organic Cotton: organic cotton pillows are made without perfumes, formaldehyde, or dyes, are very soft and will compress over time.

  • Best For: Stomach sleepers, because you can squish it.
  • Care: Cotton will shrink if you wash it, so wash in cool water on a gentle cycle, or spot clean with water and vinegar.
  • Average price: $45

6. Millet: Similar in performance to a buckwheat pillow, the hulls from millet are smaller and circular, making for a smoother and softer pillow (also less noisy) than a buckwheat pillow.

  • Best For: Side or stomach sleepers
  • Care: Rinse hulls in cool water, drain, and air dry. Machine wash case.
  • Average price: $70

To buy any of these pillows, check out these top sources:

Do you use any of the pillows mentioned above?
Tell us your sleep position first and then give us your review!

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(Images: all pillows via A Happy Planet. Originally published 2011-01-07)

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