Want to buy a bamboo pillow but not sure if they’re actually any good? In this article we’ll discuss the benefits of bamboo pillows as well as the negatives you might want to consider.
- What's so special about bamboo pillows?
- What are the benefits & advantages of a bamboo pillow?
- Are bamboo pillows good for allergies?
- Are bamboo pillows good for snoring?
- Are bamboo pillows good for back sleepers?
- Are bamboo pillows good for stomach sleepers?
- Are bamboo pillows good for side sleepers?
- Are bamboo pillows good for your neck?
- Are bamboo pillows good for neck and back pain?
- Are bamboo pillows good for headaches and migraines?
- What are the disadvantages of bamboo pillows?
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What’s so special about bamboo pillows?
Bamboo pillows are special because the pillow fill or stuffing is made of shredded memory foam, which is both moldable and supportive. The pillow case is made of rayon, a semi-synthetic bamboo fiber that is soft, shiny and absorbent, similar to silk.
(Find out more about silk pillow benefits here.)
Pillows are usually named after the stuffing and not the encasement, so the vast majority of “bamboo” pillows are more accurately described as “shredded memory foam” pillows.
Shredded memory foam feels impressive the first time you try it because it conforms to pressure in a magical way that has the viscous properties of water but the elastic feel of solid memory foam.
When you lie on a shredded memory foam pillow, it will compress and conform to the shape of your head.
This is perfect if you toss and turn a lot at night because the pillow will always correctly support your head and neck.
When your head is evenly cradled, the pillow removes all pressure points that can cause pain, allowing your muscles to relax completely.
Additionally, many bamboo pillows come with a zippered opening that allows you to adjust the pillow’s thickness according to your liking.
The “bamboo” part of the pillow is usually made of a rayon/polyester blend. Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber that is derived from bamboo.
While bamboo stalks are hard, rayon is made from dissolved bamboo cellulose which is known to be soft, shiny and absorbent.
Because rayon has these properties it’s often referred to as artificial silk.
(Satin pillowcases can contain rayon – find out more about satin pillow benefits here.)
What are the benefits & advantages of a bamboo pillow?
The benefits of bamboo pillows are that they are both moldable and supportive while being soft, static-free, and easy to care for. They can also absorb moisture and provide excellent airflow to keep you cool at night.
Bamboo pillows are both moldable and supportive. This means they are comfortable and can help your spine stay in a natural, neutral position to support your neck and upper back.
Bamboo and rayon fabrics are known to be very soft. They tend to be smooth and shiny when woven into fabrics, similar to cashmere or silk.
Bamboo and rayon fabrics are naturally static-free and anti-cling.
Bamboo and rayon fibers are highly absorbent which will wick the sweat away from your face and head.
Bamboo and rayon fibers are incredibly light, delicate and breathable meaning that they have excellent airflow and can keep you cool during the night.
Compared to cotton, bamboo pillows are easy to care for and are less likely to wrinkle and shrink in the wash.
Note that you should wash your shredded memory foam pillow separately from the pillow cover. Read ”How To Wash And Dry Bamboo Pillows.”
Some bamboo pillows are adjustable to suit your sleeping needs. This means that you can add or remove some filling depending on your preference.
You can also adjust by changing the orientation of the pillow:
- flat for average support
- on its side for medium support
- folded in half for maximum support
Are bamboo pillows good for allergies?
Some manufacturers claim that bamboo pillows have health benefits like being naturally hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, mildew proof, and dust mite resistant. However, upon closer inspection this might not be true.
While these claims might be true for the bamboo plant itself, bamboo pillows contain a rayon/polyester blend in the pillowcase. Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber that is derived from bamboo.
There is a unique substance found in bamboo called bamboo-kun. Bamboo is naturally resistant to pests and fungi because of this antimicrobial agent.
Bamboo’s antimicrobial properties are destroyed by the chemical processes used to produce rayon.
So, unfortunately, the finished rayon product is not resistant to bacteria like the original bamboo plant.
According to the FTC: “unless a product is made directly with bamboo fiber — often called “mechanically processed bamboo” — it can’t be called bamboo.”
This means that a manufacturer needs “competent and reliable evidence, such as scientific tests and analyses, to show that it’s made of actual bamboo fiber.”
And that “the same standard applies to other claims, like a claim that rayon fibers retain natural antimicrobial properties from the bamboo plant.”
This means that if you are buying a bamboo pillow for being hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, then be aware that this might not be the case.
The only way to determine if the bamboo pillow helps your allergies is to test the pillow yourself.
If you’re struggling with allergies then you might want to try these hypoallergenic zippered pillow protectors that allergists recommend to guard against dust mites and mold spores:
Keep Your Pillows Clean & Fresh – blocks dust mites, mold, mildew, pollen and pet dander.
Are bamboo pillows good for snoring?
Bamboo pillows can be good for snoring because they help to elevate the head and neck. The elevated position also helps to provide support to the throat muscles. An elevated neck prevents the tongue from falling back and the throat muscles from relaxing too much which causes snoring.
You might also want to consider some of the popular snoring solutions below:
Improves nasal air flow by 31% and helps you reduce or even stop nasal snoring and relieve nighttime nasal congestion so you (& your partner) can sleep better at night.
SomniFix Strips gently hold the mouth closed to direct airflow through the nose, reducing snores, improving sleep, and improving compliance with CPAP and oral appliances.
Open & clear airways with natural super ingredients like Quercetin, Vitamin D, Nettle Leaf, Boswellia, Butterbur to promote healthy immune response and support balanced histamine levels.
Are bamboo pillows good for back sleepers?
Bamboo pillows are suitable for back sleepers who need to keep their head level with their shoulders and their neck well supported to allow the neck tissues to rest. A thinner supporting pillow with memory foam is good because it allows your head to sink far back enough while still supporting the neck.
The bottom line is that while sleeping on your back is considered the healthiest sleeping position; you should always sleep with a pillow that provides support to the neck.
Are bamboo pillows good for stomach sleepers?
Most bamboo pillows are not the best choice for stomach sleepers because they need to sleep on a very thin pillow or with no pillow at all. If you must sleep with a pillow, find an adjustable bamboo pillow where you can remove some filling.
Sleeping on your stomach is considered unhealthy for spine alignment because you need to turn your head. This forces your head and neck to twist to one side which means your spine may be out of alignment.
Most bamboo pillows are not thin enough for stomach sleepers but the bamboo pillow below is explicitly made for stomach sleepers:
This thin memory foam pillow is gel-infused with ventilation holes that help regulate body temperature to keep you cool and comfortable. Plus, the removable cover is made with bamboo and polyester, to wick away moisture.
Are bamboo pillows good for side sleepers?
Bamboo pillows are suitable for side sleepers who need a higher, thicker pillow to hold their head and neck level while easing pressure on their shoulders. Bamboo pillows with memory foam will contour well to the head while providing support to the neck area at the same time.
Are bamboo pillows good for your neck?
Bamboo pillows are good for your neck because they contain shredded memory foam that conforms to your neck shape. The memory foam provides the necessary support to allow your neck’s muscles and soft tissues to rest.
Are bamboo pillows good for neck and back pain?
Bamboo pillows can be good for neck and back pain because they are made with shredded memory foam that conforms to your head and neck shape. If you sleep on your back or side then the memory foam allows for healthy spine alignment by keeping your head and shoulders level.
Are bamboo pillows good for headaches and migraines?
Bamboo pillows can be good for headaches and migraines because regular, good-quality sleep is one of the most effective treatments for these ailments. The shredded memory foam in bamboo pillows provides comfortable head and neck support allowing the brain to calm down and relax.
What are the disadvantages of bamboo pillows?
As with all things in life, nothing is perfect and the same applies to bamboo pillows.
New Bamboo Pillows Might Smell
Some customers report a strong chemical smell that comes with new bamboo sleeping pillows. This smell is typical amongst products that contain memory foam and is known as “off-gassing”.
To find out more about the smell and how to get rid of it read: “Why Do Bamboo Pillows Smell?”
Bamboo Pillows Can Cost More
Bamboo pillows can cost more than regular pillows, and typically cost between $50 and $150 for a standard or queen size pillow. However, the cost must be weighed against the benefit. We spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping, and sleep has a significant impact on our mood and quality of life.
So it makes sense to invest in products that will ensure you get the best night’s sleep possible.
Bamboo Pillows Can Be Difficult To Wash
Bamboo pillows contain shredded memory foam, which absorbs and retains water which means the pillow might require a long drying period after washing.
Shredded memory foam is also sensitive to washing chemicals like bleach, phosphates, or enzymes. So it’s recommended to use a mild detergent to wash your bamboo pillow like the one below:
Does not cause fading, shrinking, or stretching even on fabrics such as wool, silk, cashmere, cotton, satin and polyester.
New Bamboo Pillows Might Look Flat
When your bamboo pillow first arrives it might look flat or squashed — not quite like it did in the ad or on Amazon.
This is because one of the features of memory foam is that it can be easily compressed.
If your pillow was compressed fast and then vacuum sealed and stored for a long time, this squashed appearance might be more pronounced.
Luckily you can re-fluff your bamboo pillow by shaking or punching it until it regains its shape.
Bamboo Pillows Might Not Be As Environmentally Friendly As You Think
Bamboo pillows contain tiny amounts of bamboo and are primarily made of shredded memory foam.
The chemicals used in the production of memory foam are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and they can release several vapors or gases.
Not all of these chemical vapors are toxic, and they should dissipate over time.
However, it’s advisable to shop for memory foam products that are certified to be low in toxic chemicals.
One of the certification standards to look for in memory foam products is the GREENGUARD Gold Certification.
The bamboo pillow below is GreenGuard Gold Certified (includes a Plush Kool-Flow Bamboo Bed Pillow Cover):
Rest easy knowing that these memory foam pillows are put under stringent third party lab testing and are GreenGuard Gold Certified to ensure your safety, quality and comfort.