Need Help Getting Beauty Sleep Ahead of the Holidays?

By: Nora Boyd, Founder | Hullwinkle

Little Palm Island

The pillow you sleep on matters.

Big fluffy pillows make our beds look dreamy from an interior design perspective. The problem is they do little to nothing to help our bodies get stability, support, and relief during sleep. Over time, sleep deficits can build up and take a toll on our health and wellness.

According to the CDC, over a third of US adults fail to get 7+ hours of sleep each night. Insufficient sleep increases the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, weight gain, depression, and other illnesses. While various factors contribute to insufficient sleeping, pillows are a common complaint. Since we spend a third of our lives sleeping, pillows can help or get in the way of our beauty sleep. After a great night’s sleep, you’ve probably noticed your skin glows brighter and more radiant. After a bad night’s sleep, not so much.

How do I know if my pillow is hurting my sleep?

First ask yourself: does my pillow compress too much or not enough? If you answer yes, either way, your pillow is causing your head to come out of horizontal alignment with the body. Misalignment can lead to interrupted sleep and potentially substantial sleep deficits over time. To achieve the best sleep, you should be aligned horizontally with the mattress without having the head titled too much at an angle up, down, or to either side. For people managing through surgeries, injuries, pain, or other conditions particularly around the head, neck, or shoulders, adequate support is critical to sleep and recovery.

Then ask: are the materials in my pillow synthetic? Many pillows are manufactured without regard to environmental and human health impacts. Foam, synthetic down, and polyester pillows not only tend to trap body heat and make us sleep hot but are also made from petroleum-derived plastics which can have negative environmental and health impacts during production, use, and disposal. Some manufacturers include additives in their formulations (e.g., formaldehydes, flame retardants) that can be harmful to our health. Memory foam products are known for emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Studies have linked VOCs to a variety of respiratory health problems.

What should I look for in a pillow?

Pillows made with all-natural materials. We’ve all seen the images of used clothing and textiles clogging up landfills globally. Polyester alone can take up to 200 years to break down and doesn’t truly decompose, adding to microplastics that make their way into our water. Efforts have been underway to promote the production, use, and reuse of natural and sustainable fibers. As consumers, we can make a difference by choosing all-natural options that won’t be lost to landfills or incineration after use.

Pillows designed for sleeping. The purpose of a sleeping pillow is to alleviate tension while supporting our bodies, especially during back and side sleeping. A well-designed pillow should minimize extreme bulges and dead spots of filling to promote consistent alignment throughout sleep. It should also promote airflow and not retain body heat and sweat. Because one size doesn’t fit all body types and conditions, pillow filling should be adjustable to suit individual needs.

When should I replace my pillow?

Regardless of type, fibers will wear and break down over time. Taking this and hygiene into account, you should replace your pillow every 1-2 years.

What are some great all-natural options?

As the founder of Hullwinkle, I’m biased! I only sleep on our patent-pending buckwheat pillows and always travel with one (in the many years of traveling for work, I’ve never slept well on a hotel pillow). Hullwinkle specializes in adjustable, all-natural, weighted sleeping pillows for people who need stability, support, and relief.

For other non-toxic bedding options, I’d recommend checking out products that have been Made Safe certified. Each product must undergo a rigorous process to certify ingredients are not known or suspected to harm human health.

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