You might notice that the majority of pillows you’ll see in stores use polyester stuffing. After all, polyester has always been the go-to of consumers when it comes to pillow materials. However, if you’re the adventurous type or simply want to improve your sleep quality, you might have thought of looking for a pillow with a different stuffing.

Unfortunately, although that’s not a bad idea, polyester pillows are common for a good reason. They’re cheap and relatively comfortable, so you’ll have a hard time finding a different type of pillow that can provide more value for your money than a polyester pillow would. Hence, this guide is here to prove that there are alternative pillow materials out there that are worth your time and which bring benefits that you can’t get from regular pillows.

Alternative Pillow Materials

1. Buckwheat

Buckwheat is a type of grain native to Asia. Usually, farmers remove the seeds from the encasing or hulls. They then use the seeds to feed animals, while the outer hulls are used as stuffing. Buckwheat pillow materials are unique because you have to replace the hulls within them every once in a while. But, even though they can be quite a chore to their owners, they’re still quite popular, especially in Japan.


Natural materials often don’t retain heat, unlike synthetic stuffing, so consumers can maintain their warmth during their sleep, but that’s not why buckwheat pillows became extremely popular. It’s because buckwheat hulls have great malleability, so the pillows can conform to the shape of your head and spine, which helps a lot in reducing neck pain.

But, remember, not all buckwheat pillows are equal. There’s bound to be a product with greater quality than the rest. If you want to try it out, you can start with Sobakawa Buckwheat Pillows.

2. Kapok

Kapok is yet another natural material, and although it comes from a tree native to Mexico, it’s primarily cultivated in Asia. This material has similar characteristics to cotton, but most consumers think of it as the softer and bouncier version. However, there’s one characteristic unique to kapok.


When pillow stuffing clumps together, the pillow gets lumpier, which can be pretty uncomfortable. Most pillows get lumpy over time, but kapok is different as it resists clumping. Take note that there are cases where kapok clumps together, but that only happens when handled by machines in factories. Besides, you can quickly repair the lumps by washing the material for around 30 minutes.

3. Wool

You should be well aware of what wool is by now. It’s the fiber that usually comes from sheep or, sometimes, from goats. And, yes, wools can be used for pillow stuffing. If there’s one thing you should expect from wool pillows, it’s their breathability.

Usually, with a polyester pillow, when you lay your head on it, it will slowly build up moisture, gradually heating the pillow. On the other hand, wool is uniquely capable of absorbing moisture, which allows you to keep cool and dry while sleeping.

4. Latex

Believe it or not, latex is a natural material, and although there’s synthetic latex, those that are used for pillow stuffing come from rubber trees. In other words, latex is rubber, and that’s why this material is highly dense and elastic, which leads to many benefits.


As a dense pillow material, latex stuffing can hold its shape much better than cotton. Moreover, due to its high elasticity, latex pillows can conform to the shape of your head, much like buckwheat hulls, although not as effective.

From the looks of it, there’s no doubt that natural pillow materials are excellent, but that doesn’t mean synthetic fibers have nothing to offer.

5. Microbead

Microbeads are solid particles that are each less than one millimeter in size. Most microbeads you’ll see on the market are made of polyethylene, so they’re usually bad for the environment, but there’s no denying the fact that there are several benefits to using microbead pillows.

Microbeads, unlike feathers, don’t trigger allergies, and as a synthetic material, microbeads don’t absorb moisture. For that reason, microbead pillows are technically anti-bacterial and anti-microbial since they repel wastes, such as saliva and sweat.

Wrapping Up

It may be as simple as choosing your next pillow, but this is a crucial matter. After all, pillow materials have a lot to do with your health, especially since you spend around six hours lying on your pillow. As such, you should take this matter of choosing pillow materials more seriously. You’ll be surprised at how a good pillow can help your well-being.

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