Ever Heard Of Buckwheat Pillows: Here Is Everything You Need To Know

July 16, 2021

Pillows play a crucial role to have a good night’s sleep. Without the comfortable and cushioned support they provide to your neck and head, you might spend your night tossing on your bed without getting enough rest. Or worse, you could wake up feeling pain in some parts of your body.

Pillows must be firm, comfortable, soft, and have the right thickness. If you want something with such qualities and can help you feel cool and relaxed every night, a pillow with buckwheat hulls is your best choice.

Popular in parts of Asia due to their perceived health benefits, buckwheat pillows are gaining traction. However, if it is your first time to hear about this type of pillow, make sure to read below to know everything about it.

What Are Buckwheat Pillows?

Commonly referred to as sobakawa in Japan, buckwheat pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls, which are the hard outer casings of the buckwheat seeds. Such hulls have a firm feel, but they are small and they conform to the shape of your neck and head. Due to their firmness, many people prefer using this cooling pillow.

Buckwheat pillows offer countless benefits for sleepers. One of these is they’re fully adjustable, which means you can either remove or add hulls to change how supportive and lofty the pillow feels. Another thing to adore is their excellent temperature regulation. They promote steady airflow and most of them come with organic cotton or breathable cotton covers.

Sizes For Buckwheat Pillows

If you are buying a new pillow, you have to take note that many buckwheat pillow brands provide a variety of sizes. Depending on your preferences, below are some of the available sizes for buckwheat pillows:

  • Specialty: It keeps the traditional buckwheat pillow design and it is a bit smaller compared to the standard. It can be used for sleeping and it may also work great as a leg and knee bolster.
  • Standard: The standard size may vary from one brand to another, but it is perfect for those who do not change positions often while sleeping.
  • Super Standard: It is best suited to people who prefer the standard size but want a few inches of space. However, this size of buckwheat pillow is rare.
  • King: This size is best for those who toss and turn frequently. If you are sharing your bed with someone, you will require a wider space to accommodate these pillows.
  • Queen: Like king and standard sizes, queen sizes are widely available and quite popular. This option is perfect for those looking for something that’s not too wide or too narrow.

Pros Of Using Buckwheat Pillows

As mentioned above, there are various benefits you can enjoy from using buckwheat pillows. If you still have doubts about it, here is a list of the good things about using this pillow:

1. Optimal Muscle Support

Your neck muscles must be supported in their natural position and must not be forced into a particular shape. Firm pillows like memory foam do best to support and contour your muscle alignment. However, buckwheat pillows do better to give you a pain-free sleep.

All buckwheat pillows can be contoured to lessen the headaches or pain you feel while sleeping or after waking up.

2. Reduces Snoring

Snoring is one of the stressful parts of sleep, and there are various reasons why people snore. But more often than not, it is due to being too exhausted or stressed. People with allergies, afflicted with respiratory tract infections, and heavy drinkers may also be noisy sleepers.

Since snoring is due to a blockage in the airways, occasional and minor snoring can be relieved by having a proper sleeping position. Buckwheat pillows are useful when restoring alignment on your neck and head, keeping the airways open. With that said, these pillows may come in handy when it comes to preventing snoring.

3. Keeps You Relaxed And Cool

Buckwheat pillows are well-ventilated because the hulls have a lot of small perforations and are naturally made in a heat-wicking triangular shape. Such help in dispersing heat effectively.

So, once you sleep using buckwheat pillows, their internal structure is not forced close together, which means the hulls will not hold more heat once they are compressed. Instead, they will continue to expel it effectively. If you hate a hot pillow, buckwheat pillows are a great option for you.

4. Durable And Long-Lasting

Buckwheat pillows might be a bit expensive, but it does not mean it is not cost-effective. One of the advantages of these pillows is they may last for more than a decade once taken care of properly.

Unlike ordinary pillows that you need to replace every two years, buckwheat pillows can help you save money over time. But even if these pillows are durable, take note that they may lose their firmness in the long run. Once it happens, you can just purchase hull refills and replace the old hulls. In terms of thickness, you can adjust it depending on your sleeping position.

5. Helps Prevent Migraines And Headaches

Migraines can be due to various health-related issues, but severe headaches can be due to an erratic sleeping position or lack of neck and spinal support. If this is the case, you might consider snagging a buckwheat pillow to avoid headaches or migraines. This is because buckwheat pillows can provide the body with proper spine and neck alignment.

6. Promotes Better Sleep

Another good thing about using buckwheat pillows is they promote better sleep since they support proper posture and spinal alignment upon sleeping. Regardless of your sleeping position, buckwheat pillows can ensure you’ll have a good night’s sleep. 

This pillow is also non-shifting and malleable, allowing it to contour to your body. Buckwheat pillows also promote cervical alignment, which is crucial to keep your body relaxed while you’re sleeping.

7. Hypoallergenic

The hulls used to fill buckwheat pillows are grown organically, which means they do not contain any dangerous chemicals like pesticides or fertilizers. Moreover, the hulls are dried, cleaned, and processed naturally before being sold to the market.

When compared to other kinds of pillows, buckwheat pillows don’t attract allergens, including bugs, dust mites, and some insects. Hulls also provide excellent airflow, preventing allergens from thriving and forming.

Cons Of Using Buckwheat Pillows

Using buckwheat pillows also have some drawbacks. So, before you decide to get one for you, make sure to be aware of the following:

1. Difficult To Clean

When compared to some types of pillows, buckwheat pillows cannot be washed using washing machines. In fact, they should not be immersed in water, because the hulls may weaken or be destroyed.

What you can do to make your buckwheat pillows clean and fresh is to take out the hulls and wash the pillowcase only. If you do not want to take out the hulls, you can just use a damp cloth for cleaning the cover. Just do not get it wet too much or you will ruin it.

2. A Bit Heavy

Another drawback you should know about buckwheat pillows is they are quite heavy. So, if you want a pillow that you can move while sleeping, this might not be the right one for you.

3. Can Be Noisy

A buckwheat pillow may not be a good idea for restless sleepers. This is because the hulls produce a crackling sound as you turn or move your head while using them. Some may find the noise a bit tolerable, but others may find it a little irritating. But since it provides support to your head and you will not move it often, you might not need to deal with noise always.

Considerations In Buying Buckwheat Pillows

Before you decide which buckwheat pillows to buy, it’s wise to compare the different models and brands in the market to know more about the sizes, prices, and materials used. The reason behind this is the majority of buckwheat pillows sold these days are quite similar to one another. Other than that, every brand offers different sizes and this may confuse you if it’s your first time purchasing a buckwheat pillow.

So, if you do not want to end up purchasing the wrong buckwheat pillow, make sure to consider the following things:

  • Loft

Many buckwheat pillows are made for adjustable loft. The designs of these pillows typically feature a zippered outer cover, which enables access to the interior. This customization is particularly helpful for everyone who sleeps in various positions.

  • Firmness Level

Buckwheat pillows have different firmness levels, which may range from firm to very firm. Several sleepers love how supportive and hard the pillows feel while some find them very bulky and stiff. Exceptions include pillows that are filled with a combination of softer materials and buckwheat hulls to provide more cushioning.

  • Support

As mentioned, a buckwheat pillow is quite firm, so this pillow offers excellent support for most back and side sleepers. The hulls can mold to the body effectively without sinking too much. This ensures a strong support for the neck and head.

Depending on your sleeping position, you can adjust the buckwheat pillow’s loft by removing or adding hulls to make it more supportive.

  • Pressure Relief

Usually, side sleeping needs more pillow loft to make sure the neck and head are aligned with the spine. With the volume of hulls, a buckwheat pillow may alleviate pressure for the side sleepers. Back sleeping is ideal for proper spinal alignment, so this sleeping position doesn’t require as much loft to lessen pressure.

  • Price

Buckwheat pillows can be more expensive compared to regular pillows. However, the price may depend on the size you prefer. If you don’t have much money and would like to try a buckwheat pillow, you can start with the traditional and smaller sizes.

For hull refills, you can pay less if you purchase per pound and not in bulk. So, make sure to determine your budget for you to know how many refills you can purchase and what size of buckwheat pillow is perfect for your needs.

  • Shape

Like most pillows, a buckwheat pillow is sold in various sizes. Some brands provide smaller sizes, which are inspired by the traditional pillows from Japan. If you prefer body buckwheat pillows, take note that they are only available in select brands and they can be rare.

  • Quality Materials

When shopping around for buckwheat pillows, one of the things you should not forget is to check the materials used to make them. Since buckwheat pillows are known for being durable, choosing a poor-quality pillow may not last for years and may flatten easily. If you do not want something like that, choose buckwheat pillows made from quality materials and make sure they are organic.

  • Temperature Regulation

One of the major strengths of buckwheat pillows is temperature neutrality. The hulls offer steady airflow throughout the interior and don’t trap the body heat, compared to some fill materials like foam. Many buckwheat pillows, on the other hand, have breathable cover materials.

  • Moldability

The hulls mold closely to the body, and most people compare the feeling of buckwheat pillows to that of firm beanbags. Since hulls are small, the pillows will contour closely to the neck and head to deliver better pressure relief and improved support.

Who Can Benefit From Buckwheat Pillows?

Anyone who wants to experience the benefits of resting can enjoy using buckwheat pillows. These pillows are well-suited for those who are searching for pillows with exceptional firmness and offer strong support for their neck and head. However, depending on what kind of sleeper you are, a buckwheat pillow may or may not be suitable for you.

Therefore, determine first your preferred sleeping position as well as your preferences before you look for a buckwheat pillow.

Wrapping Up

Not all are keen on paying expensive fees for pillows. However, even if buckwheat pillows can be costly, their benefits outweigh the price tag. Although, these pillows are not perfect, they can be of great help to have a good night’s sleep every day. This is especially true if you are suffering from pain in various parts of your body due to inappropriate posture. Just make sure to find the best and right buckwheat pillows available in the market.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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