5 ways switching to a bamboo pillow could be good for you (and the planet)

5 ways switching to a bamboo pillow could be good for you (and the planet)

Over the past couple of years, a brand new material has been taking the home textiles market by storm: bamboo. A hardy, fast-growing plant that grows quickly in warm, tropical conditions, bamboo is used to make a variety of homewares and textiles, creating products like bamboo pillows and cushion covers.

Perhaps better known as the meal of choice for pandas, bamboo grows in canes that aren’t immediately associated with softness, but after treatment bamboo becomes a versatile material that is reputedly softer than cotton.

Offering bags of benefits in terms of the environment and health, too, bamboo has earned itself a glowing reputation as a material of choice for modern households. Find out more about how switching to a bamboo pillow could be good for you, your family - and for the planet.

1.Bamboo pillows: a sustainable solution for sleep

Sustainability is the buzzword on everyone’s lips and it’s never been more important to consider man’s effect both on the environment and on communities across the world. Increasingly, businesses are realizing that they need to prioritize sustainability to do their bit for the planet.

In terms of textile manufacturing, bamboo is relatively new - especially in the home textiles market. Bamboo textiles are seen as more sustainable than many traditional types of material as a result of the plant’s renewability: bamboo grows easily and quickly.

Not only does bamboo regenerate from its own roots, thus not requiring re-planting, it can also grow in areas with little irrigation and without the need for chemical fertilizer or pesticide, producing a yield considerably greater than that of cotton. The material is also biodegradable,

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2. Luxuriously soft and comfortable bamboo fabric

Nothing beats resting your head on a soft, smooth pillow at bedtime and bamboo has been known to give Egyptian cotton a run for its money in the softness stakes.

To create super soft-to-the-touch bamboo pillows, wood (or cellulose) from bamboo trees is made into a pulp and processed, spun into a fine thread and then woven into textiles.

The resulting material is viscose bamboo, a kind of cross between natural fibers and modern fabric.

Viscose is often used as a more durable alternative to silk, or as a replacement for cotton and polyester. It’s usually found in silky, draping clothes and soft, luxurious home textiles. 

3. Bamboo pillows repel allergens naturally

Allergies are commonplace and can be irritating, especially at bedtime. Restful sleep requires a level of comfort that is difficult to achieve if allergies to bedding leave you wheezing or sneezing.

Bamboo pillows are naturally hypoallergenic, which makes them ideal for people with allergies. Bamboo itself is not a known allergen and is considered suitable for allergy sufferers who may find other materials or fillings such as feathers unsuitable.

Often recommended for people suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions, bamboo pillows can also help repel dust mites and bedbugs, which can otherwise cause allergic reactions.

4. Breathable bamboo bedding for temperature regulation

Being too hot or too cold in bed almost guarantees a sleepless night. Breathable bedding like bamboo pillows can help ensure that when you rest, you can do so in comfort, without being too hot or too cold. 

The fibers allow for air circulation, which is essential in maintaining a comfortable temperature. Choose a bamboo pillow not only stuffed with bamboo but also fitted with a bamboo cover to ensure maximum breathability.

Bamboo is also extremely absorbent, helping ensure that even if you do get warm in bed, you should still be comfortable as the bamboo is able to absorb excess perspiration. In fact, bamboo fabrics are reputedly at least three times as absorbent as cotton and able to hold three times their weight in water.

5. Potential power against bacteria and microbes

Natural bamboo wood is pest resistant and believed to have antibacterial properties; as such, there is potential for these qualities to translate across to products made from bamboo to some - but a lesser - extent.

Research suggests that bamboo textiles may be more or less active in terms of antibacterial and antimicrobial ability depending on the specific type of bamboo fabric; different processing methods are used to make bamboo viscose and bamboo rayon, for example.

Because bamboo is so breathable, absorbent and potentially antimicrobial, bamboo pillows are also reported to be more odor resistant than alternatives made from other materials.

How to choose the best bamboo pillow

If you’re planning to invest in a bamboo pillow for the potential health benefits, as part of your commitment to sustainability or for some other reason entirely, it’s still wise to make a well-informed purchase.

Just like any other product, bamboo pillows are available in a number of varieties and quality levels, so consider factors like how long you’d like your pillow to last, whether you’re looking for any special features, or anything else that might impact on your buying decision.

Choosing the best bamboo pillow for your needs is a case of personal preference to an extent but the following points might be worth taking into consideration when making your choice.

Adjustable design

Not all pillows are created equal: some have an adjustable design; others don’t. Most regular high street pillows come as an all-in-one design that you can’t adjust at home, but one size doesn’t necessarily fit all. If you like your pillow to have a certain depth, an adjustable bamboo pillow could be ideal - this sort of design allows for some of the stuffing to be removed so that the pillow can be as thick or as thin as you like.

Easy care cover

Caring properly for your bamboo pillow can ensure it lasts you years. A bamboo pillow with a removable cover protects the interior pillow and keeps bacteria at bay. Look out for a bamboo pillow with an easy care cover that can be tossed into the wash at intervals, maintaining your home’s high standard of cleanliness. If possible, choose a pillow with a bamboo cover to enhance breathability and promote a better night’s sleep.

Type of pillow filling

Bamboo pillow filling sounds clear enough - bamboo pillows are filled with bamboo, right? Actually, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, bamboo pillows are so called because the cover is made from bamboo - the filling could comprise something else entirely. Often, bamboo pillows are filled with memory foam and are called memory foam pillow, which can be comfortable but may retain too much heat. Look out for a pillow not only covered in bamboo but also filled with bamboo, too.

Variety of sizes

Finding the right bamboo pillow means choosing a size that suits you and your bed. There are various sizes available but the two most popular tend to be a king (16”x36”) and a queen sized bamboo pillow (16”x28”). If you have a king-sized bed, a large pillow may look more in-keeping when in situ; likewise, a queen size bamboo pillow tends to suit smaller beds.

Packaging

Eco-consciousness is a key topic in current affairs and increasingly important to many of us. Some manufacturers of sustainable bamboo pillows also extend their environmental commitment to the packaging of their products, so if you want to play your part in looking after the planet, purchase your bamboo pillow from a manufacturer that minimizes packaging.

Is your pillowing ruining your sleep?

Getting a restful night’s sleep is integral to good health, so if you’re suffering from sleeping problems and want to address the cause, changing your pillow might be a good place to start.

Common problems related to poor sleep include:

  • Waking up tired
  • Migraines 
  • Insomnia 
  • Snoring 
  • Neck pain 
  • Allergies and asthma 
  • Tingling in the fingers 
  • Temporomandibular disorder (TMJ)

An uncomfortable or unsupportive pillow can contribute to all of the above issues. In order to promote healthy sleep, a pillow should provide support - the wrong kind of pillow might not hold its shape, creating a lack of support and causing pressure on the nerves in turn.

This pressure can be enough to cause wakefulness throughout the night, result in snoring and generally contribute to a poor quality sleep. More severe consequences include migraines from neck strain and temporomandibular disorder - or pain in the jaw joints and muscles.

How can a bamboo pillow help me sleep better?

If you think your pillow may be contributing to your sleep problems, try investing in a bamboo pillow and see if the situation improves. Bamboo pillows promote a range of sleep-related benefits, including:

Breathability - air circulation helps to stop the pillow from overheating, keeping you cool at night and preventing wakefulness from being too warm.

Softness - bamboo pillows made with a bamboo cover are known to be extra soft, even more so that top-quality cotton.

Supportive - bamboo viscose, when shredded, is supportive without being too firm. After use, the pillow springs back into shape and retains its support.

Hypoallergenic - if allergies bother you at night, switch to a hypoallergenic bamboo pillow, which is non-irritating and helps repel allergens like dust mites and bed bugs.

Comfortable - a quality bamboo pillow is comfortable and aligns the nerves; improper alignment can cut off the flow to the cervical nerves, causing discomfort.

If you’re one of the 70% of people who dislike their pillow and lose sleep as a result, invest in a bamboo pillow for a more comfortable night and awake feeling refreshed and well rested.