How Your Pillows Are Affecting Your Health and What to Do about It


We spend anywhere from 8 to 10 hours a night sleeping in our bedrooms. As we dream away the night, we have no idea that pollutants, chemicals, and insects are all lurking about, causing detrimental effects to our health.

Mattresses, particularly in the first few years of ownership, emit toxic chemicals into our bedrooms. What is worse though are the pillows we lay our heads upon. In fact, they are directly responsible for certain health problems.

1. Pillow is a smart investment in your overall health

There are several reasons why. The most dominant reason is that our beds and pillows are filled with synthetic materials. Among the most popular of them is a polyurethane foam, known for causing respiratory problems and irritation to the eyes and skin.

These types of pillows also attract dust mites. The fecal matter left behind from dust mites is responsible for creating allergic reactions in millions of people around the world. If that sounds like the kind of stuff nightmares are made from, you are absolutely right.

In addition to the ick-factor at hand, there is also the matter of how your pillow might not be giving you the right support, which will lead to neck and back pain as well as poor quality of sleep. To combat these issues, you will need a new pillow.

More: The Pros and Cons of the Most Common Sleep Positions

Many of us go by the feel of the pillow or the cost. It may feel crazy to invest a lot of money in a pillow, but it is something you will be using every night of your life. Quality is not something you should compromise when it comes to pillows. Aside from the contaminants, when you suffer from sleep deprivation, you will have difficulty concentrating on tasks at work, have a greater risk of obesity, and will be more prone to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

2. How to choose the right pillow

So how do you find pillows that will not harm your health? Follow these tried and tested tips:

1. Go natural

Pillows filled with buckwheat, millet hulls, or other natural ingredients (so long as they are processed without chemicals) are a much better option. They are harder to find in stores but shopping for them online is a breeze.

2. Choose bamboo

Bamboo fiber is another wonderful pillow option. It is also environmentally friendly, soft, and anti-bacterial. It tends to be more expensive, but the cost of your health is much more important.

More: 4 Alternative Sleeping Cycles to Increase Your Waking Hours (Infographic)

3. Clean and change your pillows

If you do not want to toss your synthetic pillows just yet, wash them regularly to kill the dust mites. The Sleep Council says pillows should be changed every 2 years. If you have a pillow you have been holding onto for a long time, it is time to say goodbye.

4. Use more natural fibers

If you want to keep costs down, opt for natural fiber materials like cotton, feather, down, or even wool. That goes for mattresses and other bedding too.

Health problems can cost much more than any pillow we will ever own. Take care of yourself by ensuring your bedroom, particularly your bed, is the cleanest place in your home to enjoy better health for many years to come.