- Sleep Aids
- Sleep Health
- How Sleep Works
- Sleep Resources
Many sleepers experience allergies triggered by dust mites, tiny organisms that feed on dead skin cells and mold. Dust mites typically settle in fabrics and other fibrous materials, including pillowcases, sheets, and other types of bedding. The most common effects associated with dust mite allergies include a runny nose, irritated eyes and nose, and coughing – all of which can potentially disrupt sleep.
Many bedding manufacturers address this issue with pillows made from hypoallergenic fabrics. These include plant-based fibers that are naturally hypoallergenic, such as cotton, linen, and silk, as well as synthetics treated with hypoallergenic additives, such as polyester and rayon from bamboo. In addition to dust mites, hypoallergenic pillows also stave off other allergens, such as mold and mildew.
Read on to learn more about how hypoallergenic pillows are made, benefits of using them, and performance ratings for different hypoallergenic materials. Below you’ll find our picks for the top hypoallergenic pillows sold today. These selections are based on verified owner and customer reviews, as well as our own product research and analysis
Down alternative is composed of polyester puffballs that mimic the softness and lightness of natural down feathers. However, authentic down can trigger serious allergies for sleepers, whereas down alternative is completely hypoallergenic. Our Editor’s Pick is the Brooklinen Down Alternative Pillow, which also features a naturally hypoallergenic shell made of smooth cotton sateen. A double-stitched design also makes the pillow highly durable and resistant to wear and tear.
Customers can choose from low, medium, and high loft settings, ensuring most sleepers can find a thickness setting that suits their head size, sleep position, and comfort preferences. Standard and king sizes are available, both of which are priced below $80 in all three loft settings.
Brooklinen offers a 365-night sleep trial for the Down Alternative Pillow, which includes free shipping for exchanges and replacements. Full refunds are issued for all returns, as well.
Most hypoallergenic pillows are generally inexpensive, though one high-quality model often costs at least $60 to $70 in any size. Our Best Value pick, the Gel Pillow from Beckham Hotel Collection, is widely available in packs of two for less than $50 in queen and king sizes. However, the pillow offers strong protection against dust mites, mold, and mildew thanks to its hypoallergenic down alternative fill. The polyester fibers are also infused with gel for added cooling, and the pillow is encased in a breathable cotton shell.
The Gel Pillow is fully machine washable, as well as stain- and fade-resistant. It is also designed to maintain a full shape with above-average loft, and should not require much fluffing or primping to maintain a comfortable thickness setting. The pillow is very well-suited to those who prefer a plush feel.
Beckham Hotel Collection offers a 30-night satisfaction guarantee on the Gel Pillow, which includes full refunds on all returns. Amazon Prime members also qualify for free one-day shipping when they order a two-pack of pillows from Amazon.com.
Most side sleepers prefer pillows with medium to high loft. This ensures minimal space between their head and shoulders, which reduces pressure points and improves spinal alignment. We’ve selected the Kapok Memory Foam Pillow for Kapok as our top choice for side sleepers. It has a medium loft of about four inches, which is suitable for side sleepers of any weight but particularly optimal for those weighing at least 130 pounds.
The pillow’s fill consists of shredded memory foam and fibers from the kapok tree. Both of these materials are hypoallergenic, and also sleep reasonably cool compared to other pillow fills. Additionally, the cover is made from a blend of polyester, viscose, and Lycra® spandex to keep dust mites and other allergens at bay. Customers can choose from queen and king sizes.
The Kapok Memory Foam Pillow is somewhat pricey. However, Layla offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S. and low rates for customers in Alaska and Hawaii. The pillow is also backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a five-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.
Most back sleepers prefer pillows with medium to high loft. This ensures even support by keeping the head aligned with the rest of the body, rather than letting it rest too low or high. We’ve selected the Original Casper Pillow for back sleepers because it offers a loft of five inches in a standard size and six inches in a king size. While these are fairly thick loft settings, the pillow has a plush feel that allows the head to sink to a comfortable, supportive level. The Original Casper also sleeps exceptionally cool.
The Original Casper Pillow is constructed with an inner pillow with crimped polyester microfibers and a larger outer pillow padded with longer fibers for extra cushioning. Both components have hypoallergenic fill, and the pure-cotton shell also staves off dust mites and other allergens. Both the shell and the interior are machine washable, allowing owners to save time and money when cleaning the pillow.
The Original Casper Pillow is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a three-year warranty. Casper also offers free shipping and full refunds on all returns.
Although many stomach sleepers do not use a pillow, those that do typically prefer low to medium loft. Higher loft settings can elevate the head to an uncomfortable degree, potentially resulting in poor spinal alignment and neck pain. We’ve chosen the Down Alternative Pillow from Parachute for stomach sleepers because it is available in three loft settings, including a firmer, lower-loft design that is suitable for most stomach sleepers. A medium-loft option is also available for sleepers who prefer their head and neck to be slightly elevated.
The pillow is constructed with clustered down alternative fill encased in a smooth, percale-weave cotton shell. These hypoallergenic components help resist dust mites, mold, and other contaminants that trigger allergies in sleepers. They also sleep very cool, making this pillow a good option for people who run hot in bed. This pillow is offered in standard and king sizes.
Parachute backs this pillow with a 60-night trial and a three-year warranty. Free ground shipping is also available to customers in all 50 states, as well as overnight and expedited delivery for an added charge.
Allergies affect millions of people in the U.S. The most common household allergy triggers include dust mites, mold, mildew, and pet dander. These contaminants are drawn to fibrous surfaces, including pillowcases and sheets. As a result, people with allergies often experience poor sleep quality.
In recent years, hypoallergenic pillows have become popular among sleepers. Some are made from naturally hypoallergenic, plant-based fibers, while others contain synthetics treated with hypoallergenic additives. All of these pillows stave off allergens to some degree, but some are more effective than others. Read on to learn how hypoallergenic pillows are made and what they do to keep allergens at bay.
Please note: Tuck.com is not a medical website, and our advice about allergies and hypoallergenic pillows should never replace information from a licensed medical professional. If you experience allergy symptoms and want to learn more about your best options, please consult your physician to learn more.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, allergies affect millions of adults and children in the U.S., and are one of the nation’s leading causes of chronic illness. Some allergies are considered allergic diseases, such as food, drug, and insect sting allergies. These can be life-threatening in some cases. Others, such as hay fever caused by exposure to pollen, are considered seasonal allergies.
Perennial allergies, characterized by light to moderate year-round symptoms, are a persistent source of irritation for sleepers. Allergens associated with perennial effects include:
Although perennial allergies affect everyone in different ways, the most common symptoms include:
Perennial allergies may not cause serious symptoms for most, but they can be highly disruptive to daily life, including sleep cycles. In the next section, we’ll learn more about hypoallergenic pillows and how they work.
First, it’s important to note that the term ‘hypoallergenic’ can be somewhat misleading. The federal government does not regulate the use of the term, meaning some pillows labeled as hypoallergenic may not be effective as others at reducing the spread of allergens. The bottom line: just because a manufacturer calls a pillow hypoallergenic does not mean it will completely eliminate allergy triggers.
Hypoallergenic pillows, by definition, contain materials that won’t trigger allergies in most sleepers and are designed to thwart the accumulation of dust mites, mold and mildew, and other common allergens. Most hypoallergenic pillows share at least one of the following characteristics:
As we’ve discussed, many natural and synthetic materials can possess hypoallergenic qualities. The following table breaks down hypoallergenic qualities for the most common pillow fill materials based on allergy trigger potential, fibrous texture, airflow, and other key factors.
|Pillow Material||Buckwheat||Down/Feather||Down Alternative||Latex||Memory Foam|
|Description||Pillows are filled with hulls, the hard outer casings of buckwheat kernels. The pillows are firm and sleep very cool.||Pillows are filled with a combination of softer inner plumage (down) and coarser outer plumage (feathers) from ducks or geese. These pillows are exceptionally soft and airy.||Pillows are filled with clusters of polyester puffballs, which mimic the airiness and softness of natural down.||Pillows are filled with latex, a flexible substance derived from rubber tree sap. The fill may be shredded or consist of a single piece. Latex pillows are responsive and very durable.||Pillows are filled with viscoelastic polyurethane foam (aka memory foam), a material that becomes softer when it comes into contact with body heat. The fill may be shredded or consist of one piece.|
|Allergy potential||Fairly low, although some people have buckwheat allergies.||High. Down and feathers are arguably the biggest allergy triggers among common pillow fills.||Low. Unlike authentic down, down alternative does not trigger any allergies in sleepers.||Medium. Some people have latex allergies.||Low. Memory foam should not trigger allergies for anyone.|
|Allergen protection||Fairly low. Buckwheat pillows do not keep out dust mites or other allergens.||Low. Dust mites often thrive in down and feather fill due to its warmth.||Medium. Down alternative fibers may attract dust mites due to their fibrous texture.||Fairly high. Latex naturally blocks mold and mildew spores. However, dust mites may settle on the material. Shredded latex pillows attract fewer mites.||Fairly high. Memory foam is inedible to dust mites and tends to resist spores. Solid memory foam pillows tend to attract more dust mites than those with shredded fill.|
|Anti-microbial?||Many buckwheat pillows are antimicrobial and antibacterial, particularly those with organic components.||Down and feathers may emit dander and contain microbes. Some manufacturers treat the fill to remove these contaminants.||Down alternative fibers may have antimicrobial qualities, but this usually involves chemical treatments and additives.||Latex is naturally antimicrobial, meaning dust mites won't consume it.||Memory foam is antimicrobial. Like latex, it does not serve as a common food source for dust mites.|
|Average price range||$50 to $75||$70 to $100 (pure down) $25 to $50 (down/feather combo)||$20 to $30||$40 to $60||$50 to $60|
|Rating for sleepers with allergies||Fair||Poor||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good|
In addition to choosing a hypoallergenic pillow, sleepers with allergies can alleviate symptoms with the following bedroom strategies:
For more information about choosing pillows and keeping your bedroom allergen-free, please visit the following guides on Tuck.com: