What’s The Best Pillow?

Your pillow can account for at least 25% of your overall comfort level.

It’s very important to pay attention to the type of materials you sleep on, because we do spend a 1/3rd of our lives asleep it makes sense to take extra care to make sure our bedding environment is as healthy as possible, and part of this means finding the best pillow to use.

If you’re a regular reader of SleepingLikeALog.com, you know that we advocate staying away from cheap synthetics, plastics and harmful chemicals in your mattress and bedding.

Unfortunately when it comes to pillows, this doesn’t leave a whole lot of options.  Most of the bargain type pillows found at department stores are polyester filled pillows or other strange synthetic “down alternative” pillows that are also loaded with harmful stuff.

Most of them are made with materials that are quite flammable, therefore they need to be heavily chemically treated in order to meet federal fire regulations.  In many cases additional chemicals are added to make them softer, or to prevent shrinkage and these treatments can emit formaldehyde gas.

In other words, the same problems that happen in the mattress industry happen in the pillow industry.

The polyester stuffing found in these kinds of pillows is made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is basically plastic and have been shown to have detrimental health effects over time.

Since your pillow is the closest to your head and your nose and mouth, I feel that it makes sense to find something as natural as possible to rest your head on.  Also, it should be amazingly comfortable.  Your pillow accounts for about 25% of your overall comfort in bed, so it’s actually much more important than most of us realize.

For the longest time I’ve had a hard time finding pillows that I found comfortable.  Most of the polyester filled pillows I had been sleeping on were usually too stiff, too high or they didn’t feel right.  Usually I just waited until they “flattened out” enough to feel comfortable, then I’d use the same pillow for years, haha.

So one day I just decided “I’m going to find an awesome, natural pillow.”  This meant either down or wool because cotton-filled pillows get too firm over time.  I wanted it to be dynamic, so the pillow moved with my head no matter what position I was in, rather than the limited “up and down only” movement I was getting from my cheap synthetic pillow.

Down seemed like a good option since I had been using a down comforter, but the more I learned about down the less appealing it became.  For starters, down tends to collect quite a bit of moisture and dries very slowly and doesn’t wick away moisture, which creates an ideal environment for dust mites.

Secondly down isn’t flame resistant, so typically chemicals must also be added to the down so it can pass the fire regulations.

And third, there are host of humane considerations involved in the production of down.

This left wool pillows.eco-wool-down

So I did a ton of research and stumbled on a very small company that produces super high quality wool pillows, called Holy Lamb Organics.

Wool is actually one of the most amazing natural fibers in the world.  It’s naturally resistant to dust mites due to microscopic bristles on the wool fibers.  Considering that most pillows can double their weight in just 18 months from dust mites, skin flakes and other gunk, this is a huge plus.

It’s one of the most breathable materials available and it actually helps to regulate your body temperature.  Humans have known about wool’s amazing ability to warm when it’s cool and cool when it’s warm since the time of Cleopatra.  Wool garments are used from the hot deserts to the coldest climates. The Bedouin tribes in the Sahara Desert have long used wool to keep cool. This is possible because the wool fibers create tiny pockets of air which wick away heat from the body.

It’s also water resistant.  Wool wicks moisture to the inner surface of the fibers, which allows wool to feel dry while it’s holding 30% of it’s weight in water without making you feel clammy.  And considering that, it’s still resistant to mildew and mold.  It actually creates its own “ventilation system” by pulling moisture into its core and then releasing it back into the air.  Pretty amazing actually.

Best of all, wool can naturally pass the federal fire tests used in the bedding industry without any additional chemicals or flame retardants!  That’s huge for me personally.

There have even been studies that demonstrated that wool actually helped people sleep more soundly by lowering and regulating heart rates.

I think you’ll find that wool is the best natural material available for pillows as well as comforters.

What I learned from Holy Lamb Organics is that not all wool is created equal.  It depends on the machinery used and where it comes from.

eco-wool-down-sideTheir pillows are made from something called Premium Eco-Wool (also known as Pure Grow Wool), which is wool that has been sourced only from small sheep farmers in the US, so it’s all local.

All of the farmers who sign onto the Premium Eco-Wool program are educated in sustainable farming practices that are good for the people, the land and the animals, and the sheep are reared in a cruelty-free environment.  For following these guidelines, the farmers are paid twice the amount they would receive in the general wool pool, which creates a win-win situation for everyone.

As a result, their wool is the cleanest, finest, highest quality wool available.  And the mill that Holy Lamb Organics get their wool from is one of the few mills in the US that doesn’t run synthetic fibers or pesticide-laden cotton on their machines.

Note: If you are concerned you might have a wool allergy, Holy Lamb Organics offers a free allergy test kit here.

***Some animal rights groups oppose wool products.  This is based on processes used with Merino sheep raised in Australia.  Please remember that wool is derived from a living, breathing animal.  Make sure that when you purchase wool products that they come from (ideally domestic) mills that oppose controversial foreign-industry practices such as carbonization, dipping, harmful shearing, mulesing and live exports.  This means the sheep that produced the wool live a happy, pesticide free life and can graze freely on organic land.  Holy Lamb Organics does NOT use Australian wool.

Holy Lamb Organics is a very small business dedicated to making exceptional natural bedding products using sustainable practices and permaculture practices every step of the way.  In fact, the owner of the business, Willow Whitton founded the company while on a backpacking trip in the Redwoods.  Willow says, “Faced with purchasing a backpacking pillow that was 100% synthetic, the idea of an all natural pillow alternative was born.”

They are a 100% zero waste company, are fully committed to sustainable and natural products, are a harmful-chemical and scent free facility and use green building practices.

So, how do their wool pillows feel?  Awesome!  It’s actually the best pillow I’ve ever used, and I’ve been through tons of them over the years.  They’re completely hand-made too.

They seem to have much better “movement” (for lack of a better word) than the polyester filled pillows I’d been using.  It feels great when I sleep on my back or my side and I find myself looking forward to going to bed since using these.

Heads up:  Since this is an all natural pillow, expect about 30% compression.  This is normal and will not change the support and comfort of the pillow.  When you first get your pillow, it will be very fluffy in the beginning, but it will settle over time.

Also, note that Holy Lamb Organics pillows are custom made to order, so please allow 1 week of production time in addition to shipping.

Click Here For The Holy Lamb Organics Wool Pillows

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a referral fee at no additional cost to you. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I’ve used and tested personally.

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  • Is a wool pillow hypoallergenic?

    • Actually, very few people in the world are truly allergic to wool. There is a small percentage of the population that are allergic to the natural lanolin found in wool, but most “allergies” aren’t real allergies, just a sensitivity to the feel of wool fibers directly on the skin. And a lot of that can be caused by a chemical carbonation process which can leave a chemical residue in wool. This is common in the clothing industry.

      But wool is naturally resistant to dust mites, mold and bacteria, so it is typically referred to as being hypoallergenic as long as it’s organic wool or premium eco-wool.

      • Thanks, Sean! I’m going to give it a try!

        • I forgot to mention that the sensitivity kits at Holy Lamb Organics are FREE so if you’re wary about trying wool, you can text out the materials in advance.

  • Dang it! That’s a bummer. Thanks for the link, I updated this post with a link to the sensitivity kit.

  • Pingback: Silence of the lambs – leads to good nights rest | Garden of Good vs. Evil()

  • Alex King

    I’ve tried this pillow (the wooly one) and it is awesome. It’s definitely my next purchase. But question about the settiling, can’t i just fluff it back up? or perhaps i can buy a little bit of those little wool things somewhere? i don’t want to buy a $100 pillow every year.

    • Hey Alex, you definitely can fluff it back up. In fact you have to do it fairly frequently. I fluff mine every day in the morning. Wool will also hold onto a lot of moisture as well, so it’s best to air dry it occasionally. I’ll even leave mine on a chair on my balcony all day sometimes and by the end of the day it feels brand new again. You can also buy the wool ‘puffs’ separately so you won’t have to buy a brand new pillow ever year (but you probably should every 3 years or so.)