Woman receives sleep gifts

“Is this one of those memory foam mattresses that expands when you open the box?”

Effective sleep gifts will satisfy everyone on your list.

Who doesn’t enjoy some quality rest? Sleep is good—so good that we happily sleep about a third of our lives away. Being that the case, anything that can improve upon our time resting in bed makes a great gift. To make shopping a little easier, we’ve compiled a few ideas:

Sleep Gift 1. Latex Mattress

In recent years the number of online mattress retailers has exploded, giving consumers lots of good options. Most offer generous return policies allowing their products to be tried in your own home, helping consumers ensure they find the right mattress. We recommend avoiding memory foams to to the unfortunate issues surrounding off-gassing. Instead look for all-natural latex mattresses (vs a blend of latex and synthetic material).

Sleep Gift 2. Organic Percale Weave Bedding Sheet Set

A fresh new bedding set can make anyone’s bed more comfortable. It’s a matter of aesthetic preference to most, but we prefer percale weaves over sateen. The textures are quite different: percale has a crisp texture and a matte appearance, while a sateen weave feels smoother and has a sheen to it. Percale has an advantage in the warmer months of the year; it is more breathable than sateen, allowing the warm humid air generated by your body to escape your bedding.

We recommend organic cottons over non-certified varieties. Look for products utilizing cotton responsibly produced under certification like OEKO-TEX.

Sleep Gift 3. Colored LED Lighting (and Smart Home Automation)

Phillips introduced the network controlled colored LED lights, but there are many alternatives available from other retailers like IKEA. These unique bulbs’ color and brightness is almost infinitely adjustable using a mobile application. Elaborate and fun automation can be created with Google Home, Alexa, or Apple HomeKit.

Set up a colored LED light or two in a bedroom. With some creative automation it’s easy to:

  • set the mood for bedtime reading: simulated incandescent light simile
  • create an automated morning scene to coincide with an alarm clock: bring the lights up with a reddish tint that slowly increases in brightness and  simulating sunrise.
  • make kids’ bedtime a little more magical by transforming their room to match bedtime stories.

Sleep Gift 4. Blackout Curtains

We all enjoy to sleep in occasionally. Doing so is difficult when light is streaming in the bedroom window. Stay well-rested with curtains that keep the light out. Extra-cool: motorized blinds that can be automated in conjunction with colored LED lighting.

hullo buckwheat pillowsSleep Gift 5. Buckwheat Pillow

What’s a buckwheat pillow? They’re totally different than the soft squishy pillows most of us are accustomed to. A buckwheat pillow’s unique and firm support simply can’t be matched by traditional pillows. The buckwheat hull filling will perfectly conform to the shape of your head and neck, providing comfortable support all night long. Buckwheat pillows also allow air to move freely though your pillow, preventing uncomfortable heat build up. Sleep on the cool side of the pillow all night long!

We sell these things. What a coincidence! 😉

Try our buckwheat pillow, Hullo, for 60 nights. If it’s not for you, ship it back to us it for a full refund.

Hullo Coupon

Save up to $20 on each additional Hullo.

Hullo offers the same money-saving promotion all year, every year. You don’t need a coupon or a code to redeem it. It’s simple. Add a pillow to your cart and then add another. Each additional pillow you add qualifies for a discount:

  • $5 off each additional small pillow
  • $10 off each additional standard pillow
  • $10 off each additional bolster pillow
  • $10 off each additional floor pillow
  • $20 off each additional king pillow

AND… every single order qualifies for fast, free shipping!

Don’t waste your valuable time hunting for coupon codes or magic links — save anytime at HulloPillow.com.

A Neutral Sleeping Position

A neutral sleeping position will help you sleep most comfortably. It can also cause a dotted green line appear over your spine (illustrated above).

Before I launch into my long-winded critique of extra firm pillows, let’s first consider why we use these strange things in the first place.

You use a pillow to fill the gap between your head and your mattress. It helps keep your body in what’s called a “neutral sleeping position.” While in a neutral sleeping position, all the bits and pieces in your neck and back are resting cozy and unstressed. This ideal posture prevents unnecessary pressure on your discs, muscles and nerves.

As such, your body is generally best off when positioned in a straight line, parallel to your mattress, without any upward or downward bends in your spine.

Stay neutrally aligned and you’ll avoid discomfort and get better rest.

For many years I was a committed soft down pillow user. It’s no coincidence that down is a popular pillow filling; it’s malleable, durable, and familiarly comfortable. I didn’t try much else until I was middle aged.

Odd as it still seems to me, I’ve become somewhat of a pillow connoisseur. In the effort to find the best pillow, I’ve tried practically every imaginable type and variation. After sleeping on a few, it became clear that my preference was for the firmer pillow types. Most other pillows’ compressible nature, their softness, was a liability. They couldn’t consistently elevate my head and keep my body in that magical “neutral sleeping position.”

Soft traditional pillows tend to flatten out under pressure.

Most soft pillows gradually lose their loft (thickness) as you sleep. They compress under the weight of your head and become too thin to sufficiently elevate your head and neck into a neutral position. As a result, your neck falls into an uncomfortable and potentially pain-causing downward bend.

Flipping folding and fluffing isn’t a substitute for a consistently comfortable firm pillow that elevates your head properly!

The ideal extra firm pillows will:

  1. provide consistent support. It should be capable of maintaining consistent loft throughout the night, keeping your head positioned appropriately relative to your mattress. Firm pillow filling reduces compressibility ensuring that your head doesn’t sink down into your mattress while you’re asleep.
  2. conform to the shape of your head and neck. A firm pillow won’t be comfortable unless it’s able to distribute the weight of your head evenly across its surface, preventing pain-causing pressure points. Some malleable and moldable pillow fillings will adjust to the profile of your body, keeping your head and neck cradled comfortably. If your pillow’s isn’t able to change shape to fit the contour of your body, it’s likely it’ll feel like a rock.

What are the firm pillow options?

The extra firm pillows on the market today vary considerably. An extra firm down pillow will feel much different than a similarly labeled memory foam pillow. And a buckwheat or microbead pillow can feel unexpectedly firm to those accustomed to the softer pillow types. Finding the right one can be overwhelming.

What’s best? The truth is, no single type of pillow works for everyone. Thankfully we have choices – lots and lots of choices.

Pillows are most easily categorized by what they’re filled with. A quality fabric pillow case, or shell is an important component, but its general character is dictated by the filling. Your pillow’s filling makes it feel the way it does. Each type of pillow filling has its own advantages and disadvantages and appeals to a unique audience of sleepy heads.

Below I’ve summarized the most popular extra firm pillows and their features so that you can get a sense of what might be most appropriate for you and your preferred sleeping position. I’ve arranged them from least (1) to most (5) firm.

feather pillow

Overstuffed down or fiberfill pillows are the least firm option in our list, but will appeal to those acclimated to traditional pillow types.

1. Overstuffed Down and Fiberfill Pillows (Least Firm)

At the softer end of extra firm pillow types we have down and fiberfill. These popular pillows are simply packed with extra filling making them less compressible and more consistent in their loft.

Fiberfill isn’t very malleable and thus isn’t particularly good at conforming to the shape of your head and neck. On the other hand, down is well-known for its malleable and moldable qualities. Unfortunately when it’s stuffed tightly in an extra firm pillow, a lot of that characteristic is lost.

These traditional pillow fillings tend to retain the heat absorbed from your body while you sleep. They can quickly become uncomfortably hot, requiring you to repeatedly flip them to “the cool side” of the pillow.

For those accustomed to soft traditional pillows, these are the safe and conservative options that will not surprise you or take any get used to. That said, if you used the search term, “extra firm pillows” to get to this page, I doubt this is the type of pillow you’re looking for. I recommend you try something a little different.

Read More: Feather and Down Pillows: What You Don’t Know About America’s Favorites

best memory foam

Magic stinktastic memory foam!

2. Memory Foam Pillows

If you’ve ever felt memory foam, you know that it is a very unique feeling material. It has an interesting texture that conforms to pressure unlike any other pillow filling.

Memory foam’s magical squishy character is referred to as visco-elasticity.

Memory foam has both the viscous properties of water and the elastic feel of traditional poly foams. These unique characteristics are what makes memory foam pillows so popular. If you rest your head on one, the memory foam will compresses and conform perfectly to the shape of your body. When the pressure on the pillow is released, the memory foam slowly resets itself and reverts to its original rectangular shape.

This makes memory foam very good for:

  • providing comfortable support for your head/neck and
  • evenly distributing your body’s weight, eliminating pressure points.

Unfortunately it tends to lose loft when warmed. After absorbing body heat, they become thinner, resulting in a pillow that doesn’t elevate your head properly. The absorbed body heat tends to make memory foam uncomfortably warm too!

One of the biggest complaints by owners of memory foam pillows and mattresses is the unpleasant, and potentially unhealthy chemical smell. Memory foam is manufactured using polyurethane and several other chemicals, so it isn’t surprising that it emits a chemical odor. This “off gassing” of volatile organic compounds is a common and well-documented property of memory foam pillows and mattresses. The fumes are often compared to those experienced in a freshly painted room. Unfortunately some of the chemicals used in memory foam aren’t entirely benign.

Read More: What’s the Best Memory Foam Pillow? (They’re Not All the Same)

Orthopedic Pillow

Latex pillows are firm and supportive, but lacking in malleability.

3. Latex Pillows

Latex pillows are firm, supportive and durable. Their filling is extracted from a Hevea-Brasilienis tree, also known as a rubber tree. Being that they aren’t made from a cocktail of strange petrochemicals, latex pillows are often marketed as being a natural and safe alternative to other pillow types like memory foam.

Unfortunately latex pillows aren’t moldable. You can’t change its shape to fit your head and neck. No matter how you push, smoosh and squeeze, it’ll bounce back into it’s original rectangular shape. This is a deal-breaker for some, myself included.

What’s more, latex, like memory foam and down, tends to absorb and retain body heat. They’re often perforated with small holes in an attempt to increase airflow (see photo at right).

Read More: Latex Pillow Review: Rubbery and Resilient Rest

Water Pillow? Weird!

4. Water Pillows

Provided you’ve taken the time to fill it properly, a water pillow will consistently keep your head elevated at just the right level all night long. Water isn’t compressible, but when contained in a plastic bag will adapt its shape to your head perfectly, providing consistent support all night.

Not many pillow types are adjustable. Water pillows are. Just add the appropriate amount of magical H20 and you have the perfect loft for your pillow. This is a big advantage. It can be very difficult to find the pillow that’s just right for you-they’re always either too thick or thin!

Water pillows aren’t moldable. That pesky water always bounces back, making it a frustrating solution for many.

Some types may be wrapped in a fiberfill that’s too soft. I’ve tried a water pillow before. It was wrapped in a super soft fiberfill that pushed upward awkwardly into the side of my face.

Read More: Sailing the Sea of Sleep on a Water Pillow: Does It Work?

Microbead Pillow

Filled with happy microbeads that will ruin the earth for future generations!

5. Microbead Pillows

Filled with thousands of tiny pieces of polystyrene, microbead pillows are a rather unique extra firm pillow option. While it feels quite soft when initially handled, when pressure is applied, these pillows give firm and resilient support that will not compress or collapse. Additionally, a microbead pillow is moldable and malleable. It’ll conform to the unique space between your head and mattress. The support provided is even and comfortable, effectively eliminating all pressure points.

They’re also breathable. No flipping to the cool side of the pillow!

Unfortunately they’re not all bells and whistles. While both firm and malleable, I cannot recommend microbead pillows for several reasons:

  • like memory foam, they’re manufactured with chemicals that emit a powerful odor (off-gassing). When, new out of the box, the stench is hard to ignore. The polystyrene they’re filled with is horrible for the environment as well.
  • The filling loses its elasticity and volume over time. With moderate use, the polystyrene filling flattens out, resulting in inadequate loft.
  • Finally, the individual microbeads don’t grip each other because of their smooth rounded edges. This causes the pillow to loose its shape, requiring frequent readjustment.

Read More: The Microbead Pillow Will Comfortably Ruin Us All

Buckwheat pillow contents

Beautiful buckwheat hulls: Hullo Pillow’s contents are revealed.

6. Buckwheat Pillows (Most Firm)

I love these things! I stumbled upon buckwheat pillows years ago after a friend recommended them. They were so impressive that I decided to manufacture and sell them myself! Years later, after trying practically every pillow type available, I’ve yet to find a better alternative.

Advantages of Buckwheat Pillows:

  • provides consistent support that will not collapse in the middle of the night
  • moldable/malleable – conforms perfectly your head, neck and shoulders
  • breathable/promotes air flow – stays cool all night
  • the filling is durable, giving it a long life-span
  • adjustable filling with a zippered opening — allows it to work well for all sleeping positions and body types
  • constructed of all-natural compostable materials

I’ll be the first to admit that they’re not for everyone…

Disadvantages of Buckwheat Pillows:

Read More: The 3 Benefits of a Buckwheat Pillow: An Honest Assessment

Experiment with the options before you commit to an extra firm pillow type.

Try different pillow types and see what works for you!

There really is no substitute for literally “sleeping on it.” Squeezing a pillow inside plastic packaging at the store isn’t the way to find your ideal pillow. You really need to test drive them in your own bed if possible. Check the manufacturer’s return policy and make sure that you’re able to try it for at least a week. If it’s not right for you, toss it back in the box and ship it back. You spend a third of your life with your head resting on a pillow, so a little shopping and experimentation (and some return shipping expense) is absolutely worth it.

Above all, your pillow needs to be comfortable. Trust your instincts and don’t get too caught up in marketing literature.

Price is, of course, a valid concern for the discerning shopper.

It’s easy to mistakenly substitute a quality product for the cheaper, substandard alternative. Prices are convincing drivers of behavior! Unfortunately, the cheapest option usually isn’t the most cost-effective or the most comfortable.

If you’re price-minded, remember that the initial cost of your pillow can be deceiving. It’s easy for consumers to overlook the amount of money they pour into pillows. They simply grab the cheap pillows that are available at the local department store and replace them when needed (often). The fact is that the frequency of replacement is what really determines how much you’re spending on pillows for you and your family.

Spending a little more now on a well-made product can save you in the long run if it lasts several years.

Spending a little more now on a pillow that’s great vs. just OK is worth it. You spend a third of your life on your pillow, after all. Better sleep is priceless.

My Recommendation: try a buckwheat pillow.

I’ve been sleeping on buckwheat pillows for years and love them.

Try a Hullo buckwheat pillow for 60 nights. If you don’t care for it, just ship it back to us and we’ll refund the purchase price. We’re confident you’ll be sleeping better with a Hull under your head. Our customer’s reviews speak for themselves:

“… I like firm pillows and a truly firm pillow is not easily found these days. This thing is amazing and I’ve been using mine for more than a year.  I haven’t had a kink, crook or pain in my neck once since using it.  In fact, I’ve told my wife, more than once, how great my neck feels.  I can turn my neck completely left or right with absolutely no pain or hesitation.  Almost feels like you do after a good massage.  That being said, my wife is using our second one.  She likes it but isn’t quite in love with it like me.  Thank you Hullo.” –Customer J. Hubbard

Buckwheat hulls inside a buckwheat pillow

Make your pillow new again with fresh buckwheat hulls.

Some manufacturers claim that buckwheat pillows will last ten years or longer. I think that’s a bit generous.

A high-quality organic fabric case with durable stitching and a heavy-duty zipper like Hullo’s can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, a buckwheat hull pillow’s filling will not.

Buckwheat hulls slowly break down and flatten out over time (depending on use and humidity).

The degradation of the filling isn’t very obvious. It happens slowly and subtly with use over time. A ten year old buckwheat pillow with crushed buckwheat hulls can feel awesome compared to the soft squishy pillows you used to sleep on, but it isn’t going to be quite the effective pillow it once was.

It generally is a matter of years before you’ll notice any substantial degradation, but flattened or crushed buckwheat hulls can cause a couple problems:

  • The buckwheat hulls will lose some of their volume. Your pillow may feel flatter and not provide the support it once did.
  • The crushed buckwheat hulls will not be as malleable as they once were. They will not grip one another like intact hulls do. As a result, your pillow won’t hold its shape as well as it could.
  • There’s less space between the buckwheat hulls when they’ve been crushed flat. Consequently, the benefit of air circulation (and a cool pillow) is diminished.

If your pillow feels as though it’s suffering from any of the above issues, just dump the old ones out (they make terrific mulch) and replace them with new pillow-grade buckwheat hulls. Good as new!

A hand pressing into memory foam, leaving an impression

Magic memory foam!

Memory foam pillows have become quite popular. If you’ve ever felt memory foam, you know that it is a very unique feeling material. It has a magical sort of texture that conforms to pressure unlike any other pillow filling.

Memory foam’s magical squishy character is referred to as visco-elasticity.

Memory foam has both the viscous properties of water and the elastic feel of traditional poly foams. These unique characteristics are what makes memory foam pillows so popular. If you rest your head on one, the memory foam will compresses and conform perfectly to the shape of your body. When the pressure on the pillow is released, the memory foam slowly resets itself and reverts to its original rectangular shape.

This makes memory foam very good for:

  • providing comfortable support for your head/neck and
  • evenly distributing your body’s weight, eliminating pressure points.

Sometimes we get emails asking, “what’s the best memory foam pillow?”

Before I attempt to answer this question, let me confess that I’m not a big fan of memory foam pillows. I’ve tested several types and their foul odor consistently turns me off. Memory foam is manufactured using polyurethane and several other chemicals. Because of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contained, memory foam unfortunately smells much like paint or calk. The cause of this stench is referred to as “off-gassing.” It is a common and well-documented issue and is the most frequent complaint that consumers have with memory foam. To make matters worse, there are various reports and studies which indicate that memory foam may be somewhat toxic. *sigh*

That said, I recognize that those tradeoffs aren’t going to dissuade everyone from buying a memory foam pillow. Every type of pillow has both pros and cons and no single pillow is right for everyone.

Still want one? Read on…

The best memory foam pillow is NOT the solid loaf type.

Most mass-produced memory foam pillows consist of a single solid piece of foam wrapped in a fabric case. This is considered a substantial disadvantage by many users, myself included. No matter how you fluff, smoosh, squash, scrunch or sculpt this solid piece of memory foam, it will always revert to its original rectangular shape. If it feels uncomfortable, you can’t alter its shape to better accommodate your sleeping style like you can with other popular pillow filling like down.

Traditional memory foam is not very breathable. A single piece of dense memory foam doesn’t allow air to circulate freely. As a result, it will absorb and retain the warm humid air generated by your body. Alternatively, a breathable pillow filling type like buckwheat hulls allows warm air to escape while being replaced with fresh, cool air.

The best memory foam pillow contains shredded foam.

Shredded Memory Foam

Because of these shortcomings, I recommend “shredded” memory foam pillows.

As its name implies, “shredded” memory foam filling is simply torn into tiny pieces. The individual pieces of foam move independently, allowing the pillow to be moldable. You can sculpt it much like a down pillow—it will shift and change into whatever shape you desire.

Shredded memory foam also offers improved breathability vs traditional memory foam. There’s considerably more negative space for air to flow freely between the pieces of filling inside the pillow. This prevents it from getting as warm as a traditional solid-piece memory foam pillow. It certainly isn’t as breathable as buckwheat hulls or microbead pillow filling, but it isn’t an uncomfortable obstacle to good rest either.

*Note* Shredded memory foam pillows are often marketed as “bamboo pillows.” Why? Because bamboo sounds like an environmentally responsible, safe component to use in a pillow. Marketers love to use the word bamboo in their product descriptions; it appeals to eco-conscious consumers. So where’s the bamboo? The truth is in the fine print: apparently their rayon fabric case is derived from bamboo.

The best memory foam minimizes the off-gassing phenomena.

Manufacturers are sympathetic to consumer’s complaints about memory foam’s off-gassing. Thus some products are beginning to appear on the market that are filled with foams designed to reduce VOC emissions. If you’re looking to avoid memory foam’s foul smell (and its potentially hazardous effects), I’d shop for products that acknowledge memory foam’s shortcomings and attempt to address them. I cannot attest to their success in this goal, but certain foam fillings such as CertiPUR™ are becoming popular alternatives. Their foams are apparently produced without using:

  • ozone depleters.
  • PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP flame retardants.
  • mercury, lead, and other heavy metals.
  • formaldehyde.
  • any of the phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

 

For those who are open to non-tradional solutions, I think that there are far better options:

… like our own Hullo buckwheat pillow! Give one a try and I think you’ll agree that it’s superior to other pillow types. Don’t take my word for it — check out these customer reviews.

Early man and woman contemplate wool pillow design

Sheena knew that the sheep’s wool would make a far better pillow than Grok’s stupid bear head.

It’s a safe bet that the wool pillow was among the world’s first.

Sheep were domesticated about 10,000 years ago. The earliest wool garments have been dated to 3000 BC.

Wool has been around for awhile! Once early man had a few woolly sheep lingering around their homes, it probably didn’t take too much imagination to stumble upon the wool pillow.

Despite a long history, wool isn’t as popular as other modern pillow filling types.

Wool’s breathable and insulative qualities make it uniquely suited for use in many different products. For thousands of years it’s been used extensively for diverse products including clothing, blankets, carpeting, insulation and upholstery. Given wool’s history, it’s a bit of a surprise to discover that wool pillows aren’t more popular than they are. When I went shopping for one online, I didn’t find as many wool pillow options as I expected.

After a little research, I ordered what appeared to be a high-quality organic wool pillow.

In my shopping expedition, I encountered a few relevant questions…

1. Should I worry about wool allergies?

Allergic reactions to wool aren’t fully understood, but it is suspected that they originate from wool alcohols. What’s much more common than a true wool allergy is wool sensitivity. Those with sensitive skin often find wool extremely uncomfortable due to its course fibers. This discomfort is mistaken for an allergy.

2. Are wool pillows dust mite resistant?

I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a pillow type NOT advertised as being dust mite resistant. Dust mites like to dine on the tiny pieces of dead skin and oils your body leaves behind in your bedding each night, not your pillow. This organic material gets trapped inside your pillow, regardless of what kind it is. Dust mites love this stuff. They could care less about the shiny new pillow that just arrived in the mail because that plate is empty!

As it turns out, many supposed wool allergies are actually caused by dust mites that are caught within the wool’s fibers. In short, don’t believe the claims that wool pillows are resistant to dust mites.

Does humane wool exist?

Is it humane to shear me?

3. Does “humane” wool exist?

PETA launched an aggressive anti-wool campaign with the tagline, “there is no such thing as humane wool.” As part of this campaign, they released disturbing video footage of sheep being cut and mistreated. This evidence demonstrates gross negligence and cruelty on the part of some farms.

Humane wool certainly doesn’t seem feasible in the industrial farming facilities shown in PETA’s videos. But, in stark contrast, many farms are dedicated to responsible production. The behavior shown in PETA’s videos is extreme compared to a properly managed farm.

Critics of PETA say that the organization refuses to acknowledge the farms that make humane treatment of their animals a priority. They argue that if PETA were willing to accept a more moderate interpretation of humane treatment, that the two could be natural allies, working together to improve animal’s well-being.

If you’re more flexible than PETA in your definition of humane, and confident in your supplier, it’s feasible to call your wool pillow humane.

Finally my wool pillow arrived in the mail.

I pulled it out of the box and inspected it closely. The coarse texture of the wool fibre within the pillow was obscured beneath its organic cotton fabric cover. Wool pillows were a totally foreign concept to me and I admit the idea of pressing my head into a pile of wool didn’t seem particularly appealing. I guess that’s because it’s hard to not associate wool with warm itchy sweaters.

Fortunately this pillow didn’t seem hot, scratchy, coarse, rough or any other adjective you might associate with wool. 

The pillow I purchased came with a zippered opening along one end. A zipper is a feature I’m always pleased to see. Unfortunately most traditional pillows don’t include it. A zipper allows you to adjust the loft (thickness) exactly to your preferences. Side sleepers require a thicker, high loft pillow while side and stomach sleepers are better off with a low loft variety. Without the option of fill adjustment, you’re stuck with what you’ve got. Luckily, out of the box, my pillow seemed to be an appropriate thickness.

I opened the zipper and inspected the wool filling. It was a consistent off white color and looked to be free of any foreign debris. Uniformly dense, the soft wool was both compressible and elastic; it squished under pressure and bounced back to its original shape. It felt very similar to traditional pillows filled with polyester fiberfill.

Sniff Sniff

I stuck my nose into the pillow and inhaled deeply. The odor was unmistakably unpleasant. It was discreet, however, with a good sniff, a genuine nose-wrinkler. It was, probably not coincidentally, reminiscent of a farm. 🙁

Is it mold? Sweat? Poop? Urine? All of the above? Whatever it was, it wasn’t good. The box included instructions for washing it, so I figured I’d try to give that a go after holding my nose for a bit.

The wool pillow smells foul, but at least it’s not releasing VOCs.

I’ve tried a lot of different types of pillows over the years. Some of the more memorable ones had powerful chemical odors. Most foam pillow filling is manufactured using some rather nasty petrochemicals. As a result, these pillows’ filling “off-gases,” or releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that have a paint-like smell. The health hazards associated with VOCs are largely unknown due to their pervasiveness and the long periods of time required to adequately study their effects. They could be hazardous to our health. Conversely, their effects could be completely benign. Time will tell.

I mention all this because, while this wool pillow is a bit stinky, I find it considerably less offensive than some of the memory foam pillows I’ve encountered. The powerful chemical odor and the mystery of off-gassing’s effects have turned me off to any consideration of most memory foam pillows.

Night One

As I stated above, a wool pillow feels much like a pillow filled with polyester fiberfill. Just like fiberfill, wool isn’t easily moldable. Smushing and mashing it doesn’t change its shape much. Despite its softness, it is considerably less pliable than down; it tends to bounce back into its rectangular form. As such, it’s not as good at providing even support for your head and neck as other pillow types. Buckwheat pillows and down pillows both provide superior support thanks to their moldability.

Breathability is commonly cited as one of wool’s best features. As it turns out, this characteristic makes it effective as pillow fill. It allows warm body heat to quickly escape the pillow. Conventional pillows tend to build up and retain heat due to limited to no airflow within the pillow’s filling. While not the coolest pillow I’ve slept on, the wool pillow is considerably better at staying comfortably cool.

With the pillow tucked inside a clean pillow case, I tried to ignore the smell. I’m not a particularly sound sleeper regardless of the pillow I’m on; I wake up periodically. Usually it’s a semi-conscious roll to one side or the other and I’m immediately back to sleep. Unfortunately the wool pillow repeatedly shook me fully awake with its funky aroma.

I know that it can take awhile to get used to a new pillow, so I was committed to more than just a few nights on it…

Night Two

I wasn’t going to sleep another night on it without trying to wash the smell out. Per the manufacturer’s instructions, I ran it through a delicate cycle with cold water and a towel in my washing machine. Once the wash was complete, I immediately dried it using low heat (it’s apparently very easy to allow mildew to grow in wool).

I wasn’t sure how it was possible, but it seemed to come out of the wash even stinkier than it went in. It also was now very lumpy and matted. It was not the same pillow that went into the wash.

lumpy wool pillow filling

My wool pillow’s filling smelled and looked like a Phish fan’s hair

Unfortunately no amount of fluffing or massaging would revive my sad wool pillow.

I gave up and threw it in the trash. I’d read a lot of reviews about wool pillows before buying one. Buyers consistently criticized them for clumping. The wool eventually breaks into smaller pieces which make the pillow feel lumpy and flat. Apparently washing and drying them exacerbates the problem.

My wool pillow’s biggest flaw, of course, was its terrible odor. It’s possible that this smell was unique and that not all wool pillows smell badly. My wool sweaters don’t smell anything like this pillow, so it seems like a less disgusting version is feasible!

The wool pillow verdict: avoid them.

Wool works really well for certain things like clothing, but it’s not the best pillow filling. Wool pillows quickly flatten out with use and are prone to clumping. And, of course, some of them like mine smell terrible. Thus, I can’t recommend them.

Down and buckwheat pillows are both far superior alternatives worth your consideration.

A buckwheat cervical pillow sits in a chairWhat is a cervical pillow?

Often associated with pain relief, a cervical pillow is designed to assist neck positioning and posture. Ultimately, good posture helps to keep your neck in a neutral position, preventing any agitation of your muscles, nerves or discs.

A quick internet search of “cervical pillow” will reveal that products of this category come in many shapes and sizes.

neck support pillow

This type of cervical pillow is typically called a “contour pillow”

Contour vs Cylindrical Cervical Pillows

Some of the most popular types of cervical pillows are called “contour pillows.” These are typically made with molded foam filling and have a curved design that adapts to your head, neck and shoulders. Unfortunately contour pillows’ predefined geometric shape can be a disadvantage. Their foam filling will collapse and conform to you head somewhat, but it cannot be shaped, fluffed or molded to support a wide variety of sleeping positions.

cervical pillow

A traditional cylindrical cervical pillow

A more traditional approach to cervical pillows is the simple cylindrical design (most are approximately 5×15″). These types of cervical pillows excel at aiding neck positioning and posture while being more versatile than a contour pillow. They’re called many different things: neck roll pillows, bolster pillows, yoga bolsters… All are similar in shape/size and can provide the same benefits.

Cylindrical cervical pillows are versatile and functional.

This design can provide comfort and support in many contexts beyond neck pain relief:

  • Bed Pillow — The cylindrical shape is favored by many for use as a bed pillow. Its smaller dimensions relative to traditional bed pillows make it well-suited for back sleepers and those smaller in stature. 
  • Extra Support — A cervical pillow can be placed under or on top your existing bed pillow to provide more loft. Reading in bed and watching movies is more enjoyable with a thicker, more substantial pillow under your head.
  • Under Arm Support for Side Sleepers – Similar to a body pillow, they can help to support the top side of your body and prevent it from rolling forward to your stomach.
  • Orthopedic Pillow — Cervical pillows are often used in conjunction with other pillow types to correct uncomfortable or pain-causing body postures. They work well for head and neck support, but are also commonly used to elevate knees, ankles or other parts of the body.
  • Travel Pillow — A cervical pillow is considerably smaller than traditional bed pillow. Therefore, they work well in both a car and an airplane (or even boat!). Wrap it around your neck and it will help to support your resting head.
  • Yoga Bolster — Under your neck, knees or back, a cervical pillow is great for use at the yoga studio.
  • Arm Rest — Support your arm while seated as you read or use your laptop.

Pillow filling: what works best?

Polyester fiberfill, sometimes referred to by the trademarked name, Poly-fil™ has a compressible and elastic nature makes it well-suited for use inside a pillow. It’s also very cheap. Unfortunately polyester fiberfill clumps and flattens out easily. For this reason, they require frequent readjustment or “fluffing.”

What’s more, it is manufactured using questionable chemicals that are a potential hazard to both the environment and our health.

There are many other types of pillow fillings to chose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, we believe that buckwheat hulls are far superior to all other types of pillow filling. We’ve been selling traditionally sized buckwheat bed pillows for years. Thousands of happy customers can attest to the comfort that buckwheat hulls can provide.

buckwheat hulls

Magical buckwheat hull filling conforms to your head and neck.

What are buckwheat hulls?

Popular throughout Asia for centuries, buckwheat hulls are a proven pillow filling that provides better, more comfortable rest. Filled with thousands of tiny all-natural buckwheat hulls, a buckwheat pillow will provide luxurious support for your body that simply can’t be matched by traditional pillows. Its unique malleable characteristics enable it to conform perfectly to the shape of your body, providing consistent, cool and comfortable support.

Typical pillows filled with soft, compressible filling types like polyester fiberfill or down can collapse under the weight of your body. As a result, these types of pillow filling lose their loft and become too thin. To make matters worse, traditional pillows can build up and retain your body heat. This will make them them uncomfortably warm. Fiddling with your pillow to find the “sweet spot” is inconvenient and uncomfortable.

Buckwheat hulls move and shift, but do not compress under pressure like soft pillow fillings. Each individual hull’s irregular edges allow it to grip its neighbors. All the hulls work together, enabling your pillow to hold a consistent shape that mimics the contour of your body. As a result, stress and pressure points are eliminated.

Completely relax on a cervical pillow with consistently comfortable and cool support that works anywhere!

pouf in living room

This low-profile pouf fits under the coffee table for easy storage when not in use.

A pouf, sometimes also called a floor pillow or zafu, is a legless seat. 

Poufs are usually stuffed with firm filling like reedmace (cattails), buckwheat hulls or poly foam. Most are circular in shape and lack a rigid internal frame, instead relying on the filling to retain its shape.

Poufs have been around for ages, but recently they’ve become quite popular. It’s no surprise; it’s hard to imagine more efficient seating. What’s more, their minimal and functional design, fits well with contemporary interior design trends and their diminutive dimensions allow it to fit anywhere.

ARGH! My spine turned red! Red=BAD.

Sitting on the floor can be hard on your back.

While seated on a level surface, our body’s inclination is to curve our backs inwards and hunch our shoulders. This flawed posture unfortunately can cause painful stress on joints, muscles and nerves.

I’m familiar with the feeling! I have young kids, so I spend a lot of time building princess castles with blocks, racing Matchbox cars, and hosting tea parties for our bear friend, Paddington. The kids, of course, prefer to pursue these activities on the cold hard floor or the coffee table! I like to participate, but sitting on the floor for more than a half hour or so makes my lower back ache.

A pouf can drastically improve your seated posture by making small adjustments to the geometry of your body’s positioning. Simply elevating your hips up off the floor is a big improvement to your posture; your back, shoulders and neck are less inclined to bend forward, lessening the pressure on your discs, muscles and nerves.

Pouf positions

These seated positions encourage the best posture.

Most popular products that are marketed as a pouf are roughly the size of a small ottoman (20×15”). These thicker poufs require that you sit on them like a traditional stool or chair, with your feet flat on the floor. They will not allow you to comfortably rest your knees on the floor; they’re simply too tall. Many, however, are considerably shorter, elevating your hips only a few inches off the ground. These low-profile poufs allow you to sit in a couple of positions that encourage good posture and comfort. These are demonstrated in the photo at right: A) lower legs resting on the floor on either side and hips supported by the pouf.or B) legs crossed, knees resting on the floor and hips supported by the pouf.

Larger poufs:

  • can be used in conjunction with a chair for leg support.
  • depending on the filling used, they can be difficult to move around.
  • are less comfortable than the low-profile poufs.

Low-profile poufs:

  • are extremely comfortable; they enable the ideal seated posture.
  • are easy to move.
pouf shapes and sizes

Poufs come in many shapes and sizes

Pouf Shape

There’s a lot of differently sizes and shapes of poufs available.

The circular and cylindrical pouf shapes are preferable for most. They are more adaptable to the shape of your body. Additionally, in the case of the low-profile poufs, they allow you to sit in position A or B shown above. The rectangular shapes might be preferable for someone looking for a pouf that might double as an ottoman or footrest.

Where Can I use a Pouf? Poufs Are Useful in Many Contexts:

  • Quick and convenient seating for your home – Sometimes also called a zafu or a floor cushion, a pouf will add stylish, compact and comfortable accommodation to any room of the house. Adults can sit on them together comfortably around the coffee table with drinks while the kids use them for lounging in front of the latest movie.
  • Posture Perfect – A poufs’ shape encourages excellent posture, making them ideal for use as a “zafu” during yoga and meditation.
  • Comfort on the Go – Take your pouf with you camping, to the kids’ soccer games or to the picnic in the park. Many poufs include a durable carrying handle making them easy to take along wherever you go.

What’s inside your pouf matters.

Typical poufs filled with softer, compressible filling types like memory foam or down can collapse under the weight of your body. As the pouf’s filling distorts under pressure, your body’s weight shifts. This imbalance causes discomfort that is only resolved with repeated readjustment of your pouf’s filling. Maintaining a neutral and comfortable posture is difficult if your pouf is always changing shape!

Completely relax with consistently comfortable and malleable support!

Buckwheat hulls are a proven pillow and upholstery filling made popular with centuries of use in Asia. Thousands of tiny all-natural buckwheat hulls work together to provide support for your body that can’t be matched by traditional pillow fillings like foam or down. The unique malleable characteristics of buckwheat hulls allows them to conform perfectly to the shape of your body, providing consistent and comfortable support.

Buckwheat hulls move and shift, but do not compress under pressure and lose volume or loft like traditional soft pillow fillings. A buckwheat filled pouf can be easily molded and shaped as you please thanks to the irregular edges of each individual buckwheat hull. The thousands of hulls gently grip one another, enabling your pouf to hold a shape that mimics the contour of your body, keeping you positioned consistently and comfortably.

While buckwheat hulls are great for use as pouf filling, they have a disadvantage: they’re heavy. It’s not an issue for smaller poufs, but a larger one filled with buckwheat hulls could weigh as much as 15-20 lb.

Is your pouf machine washable?

Being that a pouf rests on the floor, it’s likely to become a little dirty with use. Some poufs come with a removable outer fabric shell that’s washable. If it’s washable, it’ll survive a wine spill. Leather poufs are more resistant to staining and, if well-made, can be a durable long-lasting choice.

Give a pouf a try: cozy up with a book, get in the zone with yoga meditation, or offer extra seating at your casual cocktail party.

Poufs offer a stylish and versatile seating solution for every occasion. Its minimalist design and neutral color pallet matches and enhances any decor. A traditional pouf’s circular shape and supportive buckwheat hull filling make it easy to relax while maintaining a healthy and comfortable posture.

We at Hullo love poufs.

We recently started selling a pouf alongside our Hullo bed pillows, calling it a “floor pillow.” Give one a try for 60 days. If you’re not sitting more comfortably, just send it back to us for a refund.

Cotton Field

A cotton filled pillow seems like it’d be pretty comfortable right?

I’ve been manufacturing and selling pillows for many years. In an effort to make the best products possible, I’m consistently buying and testing different types. I thought I’d tried almost everything, but recently someone asked me about cotton-filled pillows, “are they comfortable?” I honestly didn’t know. I’d never come across a cotton pillow, which seemed odd, given that cotton is one of most popular materials in the world.

I don’t live under a rock, so I was already familiar with the texture of unspun cotton: it’s soft and compressible similar to other traditional pillow filling like down. It seemed safe to assume that a cotton-filled pillow would be reasonably comfortable. I committed to finding a nice one online.

Surprisingly, cotton pillows aren’t easy to find.

Given cotton’s ubiquity, I figured that cotton-filled pillows would be reasonably popular. Apparently they once were, but advancements in technology introduced popular new synthetic pillow filling types like memory foam, and polyfill. These materials have relegated cotton to a minority position as pillow filling

Note: I’m not a fan of these modern petroleum-based pillow fillings. Most are not biodegradable and some are potentially hazardous to your health. Thus, cotton-filled pillows seem like a good healthy and eco-friendly alternative that was worth trying.

After comparing the few products available, I finally decided on what seemed to be the best available standard size (20×26”) organic cotton pillow.

After a couple days, the pillow arrived at my door and my helpful children tore into the box for me. They’ve both slept on hefty buckwheat pillows their entire life, so this light and fluffy thing was immediately impressive to them. I was a little more skeptical.

How does it feel? Soft/Firm/Malleable?

First, I was surprised that the pillow wasn’t more squishy. While “soft,” is an accurate adjective to describe cotton, relative to some other popular pillow fillings, it felt rather firm. Down and polyfill offer far greater compressibility.

Mind you, a firm pillow can be preferable for many, if it is also malleable. A malleable filling will conform to the shape of your shoulders, neck and head. Even support of your head’s weight will eliminate uncomfortable pressure points (and help you sleep). Unfortunately the cotton filling in my pillow didn’t seem very malleable. It had a relatively constant form when packed into a pillowcase. Its rectangular loaf-like shape wasn’t easily changed.

The pillow I purchased is adjustable, thanks to its zippered opening.

The fabric case included a zippered opening along one end, allowing me to easily add or remove the cotton filling. This way I could adjust the loft (thickness) of the pillow to accurately position my head off the mattress. As a side sleeper, I tend to prefer a medium to high loft pillow. This pillow’s loft seemed just about right for me out of the box, so I didn’t need to remove any of the cotton filling. Those that prefer a thicker pillow would need to purchase additional cotton filling (or find another pillow) to give it more loft.

The fabric case was durable and the cotton packed inside seemed to be of high quality.

I opened it and found that the cotton filling was a uniform and consistent density. It didn’t concern me, but it was interesting to see a few foreign materials that were left behind in the milling process within the cotton. It didn’t look like the bleached white cotton balls I expected.

I was unable to find conclusive advice about cleaning it. However, it appears that it is feasible to wash a cotton pillow if you:

  • rinse repeatedly to remove all soap from the cotton filling and
  • thoroughly dry it; it’s very easy for mildew to grow inside as cotton will hold a lot of moisture.

Cotton pillows don’t smell!

A new pillow obviously shouldn’t smell bad. Unfortunately many of the most popular pillows available do. Modern pillow filling like memory foam can emit a powerful glue-like smell due to a manufacturing process involving petrochemicals. The first time I tried a memory foam pillow I was shocked at its overwhelming odor. Manufacturers call this “off-gassing.” Fortunately my cotton pillow had no discernible odor.

Clumping cotton pillow

My cotton pillow after 1 month of sleeping and 4 months of pillow forts.

I slipped my new cotton pillow into a pillow case and gave it a test run.

I’ve got several types of pillows laying around the house to use as A/B test subjects, so it was easy to compare it to the competition.

1. Cotton pillows are not as supportive as some other pillow types.

As I mentioned above, my impression when it came out of the box was that it didn’t seem very malleable. My suspicion was correct. I tried to adjust the cotton filling; pushing it toward the edges in an effort to make an indentation for my head. The cotton filling is mashed, tangled and twisted into one large rectangular piece that stubbornly holds its shape. It isn’t capable of offering the same uniform support that a moldable pillow filling like down or buckwheat hulls can provide.

With soft pillow filling like down, “fluffing” it opens space between the feather filling, making it thicker (and softer). Having fluffed a down pillow, you can sink your head into it, pushing the feather fill to the edges, which wrap around your head providing excellent support. I tried this technique with my cotton pillow. Again, the cotton filling proved resilient to adjustments.

The lack of support had me constantly readjusting both my pillow and sleeping position.

 2. Cotton pillows are cooler than most pillow types (but not all).

I’ve written extensively about different pillows’ ability to stay cool. It’s pretty simple really: breathable pillows are cool pillows. Pillow filling types that allow air to circulate freely will permit warm humid air to quickly escape, keeping your pillow comfortable all night long. Conversely, pillow fill types that restrict airflow tend to build up and retain body heat.

All pillows absorb your body heat. Some types of pillow filling like memory foam can retain that heat for over a half an hour. Other breathable pillow filling like buckwheat hulls allow the warm air to escape quickly in just 5 minutes.

It turns out that cotton-filled pillows are more breathable than the most popular pillow types including memory foam, down and polyfill.

I did simple tests with a laser surface thermometer. At room temperature, my cotton pillow’s surface temperature was 76 degrees. Next, I rested my head on the pillow for 15 minutes and took another surface temperature reading: 91.5 degrees. The cotton pillow reverted to room temperature in 22 minutes. It shed its warmth twice as quickly as my memory foam pillow. Not bad.

On the other hand, the cotton filling couldn’t compete with the breathable filling of a buckwheat pillow which returned to room temperature in only 2 minutes!

3. Cotton pillow filling has a significant disadvantage: it clumps and flattens with use.

Initially I had no complaints about clumping or flattening. My cotton pillow seemed like it was uniform in shape and compressibility and elasticity. It also seemed to have enough loft to support my side sleeping position relatively consistently. I kept sleeping on it for 3-4 weeks, despite being generally unhappy with it, because it can take awhile to get used to a new bed pillow. After finally giving up, it made its way into my kids’ pillow fort construction. The pillow has been kicking around our house for almost 5 months. It is clumping (see photo), making it feel lumpy and less malleable than it was when new. The pillow is also thinner; it used to have sufficient loft to keep my head elevated properly, but now it’s too thin.

Some manufacturers recommend that you put your cotton-filled pillow into the dryer for 20 minutes to facilitate the fluffing process. As I write this, it is tumbling in my dryer with a tennis ball… *beep* Having been in for 20 minutes, it is slightly more plump, both softer and thicker. It is however, still too thin, and the clumping issue persists 🙁

Cotton Conclusions

I’m acclimated to buckwheat pillows, which offer support that’s superior to any other pillow filling I’ve tried, so the cotton filling was a bit of a disappointment. To those who are accustomed to soft, squishy pillow filling like down, a cotton pillow might be more impressive.

If you prefer a soft pillow and aren’t open to trying anything else but softyou’ll probably prefer a down pillow to a cotton one. That said, cotton pillows have their place. I would recommend them for those who:

  1. are allergic to down. Although quite rare, these allergies do exist.
  2. live a vegan lifestyle. Duck feather plucking is not required on the cotton farm!
  3. have a concern for the environment. Cotton pillows are biodegradable. Thus, they are a much more ecologically sound alternative to petroleum-based products like polyfill and memory foam (note that the production of traditional cotton can result in some unacceptable pollution as well. Thus, certified organic cotton grown and produced under strict standards are preferred).

For me, the lack of malleability was the cotton pillow’s biggest flaw.

No matter what I tried, I couldn’t make it stay in the shape I wanted and as a result I wasn’t getting the best sleep. It made me wonder if a pillow filled with thousands of cotton balls would be more comfortable… would it be more malleable? I have been surprised to find that the shredded varieties (material torn into tiny pieces) of latex, memory and poly foam filling are considerably more comfortable than the solid single piece alternatives. Maybe I should head down to the drug store and buy some cotton balls for my next pillow experiment!

If you’re looking specifically for a “soft” alternative to down or petrochemical fill, cotton (or kapok) could be a good option for you. It’s safe, doesn’t have any chemical odor, and is eco-conscious.

For those who are open to non-tradional (firm) solutions, I think that there are far better options:

… like our own Hullo™ buckwheat pillow! Give one a try and I think you’ll agree that it’s superior to other pillow types. Don’t take my word for it — check out these customer reviews.

a row of zafus

Pull up a zafu and relax!

The word zafu is frequently translated as, “sewn seat.” However, a strict interpretation of the Japanese kanji is “reedmace seat.”

What’s Reedmace?

Better known in the U.S. as cattails, reedmace flowers produce a fluffy down-like material that can be used to fill pillows. Reedmace was once popular as zafu pillow filling due to its firm and durable characteristics.

Reedmace never caught on as pillow filling. In fact, it’s very difficult to find an authentic reedmace-filled zafu. That’s not a problem, because there’s a far more practical and comfortable option: buckwheat hulls.

zafu pillow contents

The best zafus are filled with buckwheat.

Buckwheat hulls are a proven pillow and upholstery filling made popular with centuries of use in Asia.

Thousands of tiny all-natural buckwheat hulls provide support for your body that can’t be matched by other pillow fillings. The unique malleable characteristics of buckwheat hulls allows them to conform perfectly to the shape of your body.

Buckwheat hulls move and shift, but do not compress under pressure and lose volume or loft. A buckwheat pillow can be easily molded and shaped as you please thanks to the irregular edges of each individual buckwheat hull. The hulls gently grip one another, enabling your pillow to hold a shape that mimics the contour of your body, keeping you positioned consistently and comfortably.

Zafu meditation cushions are sometimes filled with kapok or foam. Avoid these.

These soft fillings will compress substantially under the weight of your body and cannot hold their shape. Maintaining a neutral and comfortable posture is difficult if your zafu is too thin or inconsistently shaped.

Zafu meditation cushion benefits illustrated

It’s difficult to maintain good posture while seated on a flat surface.

How does a zafu work and what are the benefits?

A zafu improves your posture by making small adjustments to the geometry of your typical seated position.

While seated on a flat surface, our natural inclination is to bend our backs forward while hunching our shoulders. Sitting with this flawed posture will inevitably cause painful stress on joints, muscles and nerves.

A zafu, placed under your hips, will elevate your upper body slightly. It allows you to effortlessly straighten your spine and pull your shoulders back into a healthy posture. This simple enhancement keeps your spine neutrally aligned and will help to eliminate any potentially uncomfortable pressure points in your back, shoulders and neck. 

Zafus are most typically cylindrically shaped: about 12-18″ wide and 5-8″ tall. Their circluar shape allows your legs and/or feet to tuck in along the front edge (your feet will catch on a rectangular pillow’s corners).

Where Can I use a Zafu? They’re Are Useful in Many Contexts:

  • Quick and convenient seating for your home – Sometimes also called a pouf or a floor pillow, a zafu will add stylish, compact and comfortable accommodation to any room of the house. Adults can sit on them together comfortably around the coffee table with drinks while the kids use them for lounging in front of the latest movie.
  • Posture Perfect – A zafu’s shape encourages excellent posture, making them ideal for use during yoga and meditation.
  • Comfort on the Go – Take your zafu with you camping, to the kids’ soccer games or to the picnic in the park. Many zafus include a durable carrying handle making them easy to take along wherever you go.
zafu with liner

This zafu includes a liner, which makes it easy to clean its fabric outer shell.

A zafu will eventually get dirty. Make sure you can clean it.

With use, a zafu is exposed to dirt and dust so you’ll eventually want to clean it. Spot cleaning stains with a damp rag will keep it in reasonable condition, but to properly clean a zafu you need to completely remove the filling and machine wash the outer fabric shell. To do so, your zafu requires a zippered opening, a feature unfortunately not all include. The best zafus also include an interior breathable liner containing the buckwheat hulls. These allow you to quickly remove and replace the buckwheat from the outer fabric shell without any spills.

High-quality materials and construction matter!

Sitting on a zafu can put a lot of pressure on the zipper and seams holding your pillow’s filling in place. I have experience with cheaply made pillows… my first buckwheat pillow split open at the seam and lost its filling all over my bedroom floor! The pillow with the lowest price tag isn’t always the most economical. Buy a product that’s made to last and you’ll save money in the long run.

Hullo Zafu

We recently started selling a zafu alongside our Hullo bed pillows, calling it a “floor pillow.” Give one a try for 60 days. If you’re not sitting more comfortably, just send it back to us for a refund.