Buckwheat Pillow 101: Everything You Need To Know

Pillows play an important role in getting a good night’s sleep. Without the cushiony and comfortable support they provide to your head and neck, you might spend the whole night tossing on your bed not catching sleep. Worse, you may wake up with a sharp pain in certain parts of your body.

Experts say a pillow should be firm yet soft, comfortable, and of an ideal thickness. If you want some add-ons to those qualities, such as eco-friendliness and coolness, a buckwheat pillow is your best choice. Originally used in parts of Asia for its perceived health benefits, including a more restful shuteye, the use of buckwheat pillows is gaining traction.

If it’s the first time you’re hearing about this type of pillow, read on, as this may be the product you didn’t know you desperately needed all along.

Key Takeaways On Buckwheat Pillows

A buckwheat pillow is also known as a Sobakawa pillow in Japan, where it traces its roots from. These types of pillows are simply stuffed with the hulls from this herbaceous plant. Buckwheat is a type of seed that’s often consumed as an alternative to rice, wheat, and other grains. It’s a staple for many people and animals in Eurasia.

Though the practice of using buckwheat hulls in pillows originated in the East, the United States is also a producer of this seed. Some buckwheat pillows are sold as organic and toxin-free, and count the U.S. as their main source.

This type of seed is not just stuffed into a pillowcase. Manufacturers typically make a thin layer of organic pillow from cotton and hemp, before filling the pillow with hulls.

A great alternative to buckwheat is a millet pillow. Between the two, millet hulls are smaller.

Buckwheat Pillow

What Makes Them Special

When consumed, buckwheat provides a host of nutritional and health benefits. But, as an organic pillow filler, there’s not enough evidence to support its claims of positive effects on a user. Yet anecdotal evidence hasn’t stopped some healthcare professionals to suggest the use of buckwheat pillows to certain groups of individuals.

It’s believed that because of its superb support function, buckwheat pillows may help ease head and neck pain in people with poor sleeping posture. This makes it an amazing and worthy bedroom investment piece to try out.

Apart from its superior support functions, a buckwheat pillow is also highly moldable and breathable. Using it promotes better air circulation as compared to synthetic pillows. Having a hard time understanding what a buckwheat pillow is? Learn more about them by watching videos about them uploaded online like

Usual Price

A buckwheat pillow may cost you from about USD$30 to as high as USD$135. The cost for this sleeping aid is largely dependent on the size, quality, and quantity of the buckwheat pillow or the hulls stuffed inside of it.

7 Benefits of Using Buckwheat Pillows

As mentioned, there are personal accounts suggesting buckwheat pillows’ effectiveness in giving its users a good night’s sleep. Sobakawa pillows may help increase the quality of sleep for the following reasons:

1. Helps Improve Sleep Posture

Maintaining proper posture while walking, sitting, and sleeping poses health benefits that include increased lung capacity, enhanced blood circulation, improved joint, and the like-boosting your overall energy levels.

While we can fully control our posture during the day, we may have less power to maintain it while we’re sleeping. A buckwheat pillow ensures that your head and neck are properly supported, being that the hulls don’t shift when you move while you’re basking in dreamland.

When used with the right sleeping companions and sleep hygiene practices, it can get you the right amount and high-quality bedtime rest you deserve.

2. May Aid In Reducing Snoring

Many people share their positive experiences to achieve a good night’s sleep. But one of the most stressful parts of sleep to some is snoring. There are many reasons behind it. It can happen occasionally, just as when you’re stressed or exhausted. Persons who have allergies, heavy drinkers, and are afflicted with respiratory tract infections can also become noisy sleepers.

Because it’s commonly caused by a blockage in the airways, minor and occasional snoring may be relieved by maintaining a good sleeping position. A buckwheat pillow may make itself useful by restoring good alignment on your head and neck which keeps your airways open. This is said to be helpful in preventing you from snoring again.

A more serious sleep problem called sleep apnea, which triggers a patient’s chronic and loud snoring, requires proper intervention by a licensed healthcare professional.

3. Adjustable Thickness

People come in different shapes and sizes. This means that thicker pillows may work perfectly for some while thinner pillows may work better on others.

Without getting the proper support based on your weight, structure, and preferred sleeping position, you’ll likely end up with bouts of body pains or worse, get deprived of high-quality sleep.

Varying sleeping positions will need different pillow thicknesses. Side sleepers should have a thicker pillow to keep their bodily alignment right. Meanwhile, those who like to sleep on their back should use thinner pillows for proper and posture.

While you can order buckwheat pillows in varying sizes and thicknesses, you can also adjust the thickness of your pillow by adding in or removing the hull fillers on your own. Some sellers provide these add-ons free of charge.

4. Long-Lasting And Durable

Buckwheat pillows may be pricey, but this doesn’t mean it’s not cost-effective. It’s said that these pillows can last for more than 10 years if properly taken care of. Comparatively, you need to replace your ordinary pillow every two years or more frequently. This means that you can save money in the long run if you invest in a buckwheat pillow.

While durable, they can lose firmness over time. If this happens, simply buy hull refills online and replace your worn-out batch with new ones. Be reminded of the thickness your need based on your preferred sleeping position.

5. May Help Prevent Headaches And Migraines

Migraines may be caused by a myriad of health-related problems. At the same time, though, severe headaches may be caused by an erratic sleeping position and lack of proper spinal and neck support. If such is the case, you may consider snagging a Sobakawa pillow to help prevent this highly frustrating condition.

Buckwheat pillows are said to provide your body with proper neck and spine alignment. No matter your preferred sleeping position, you may experience fewer migraines waking up, when your body is appropriately positioned. This was according to a study about pillow use in relationship to cervical stiffness, headache, shoulder and arm pain, done in 2010.

Anecdotal reports suggest that these types of sleeping aids have resulted in fewer incidences of migraine and headaches. Some suspect that the buckwheat pillows’ therapeutic claims may be linked to acupressure, being that the hulls inside the pillow are capable of naturally exerting pressure in specific points on the back and spine. Furthermore, these acupressure points are believed responsible for facilitating better blood flow towards the brain, as well as the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins.

6. May Help Increase Sleep Quality

Apart from migraines or headaches, an erratic sleeping posture may cause muscle stiffness on the neck, shoulder and upper back, sometimes including the upper arm region. Why? Because your muscles and soft tissues will work overtime. They are also said to exert twice the amount of effort in supporting different parts of the body, including your spinal section, and the other components of your central nervous system.

With better muscle support in your upper body, complemented by the activation of specific pressure points, you’ll be able to achieve a night of more restful sleep. And, with fewer sleep interruptions, you’ll wake up feeling better refreshed and energized in the morning.

7. Hypoallergenic

Sobakawa pillows claim to be hypoallergenic. According to manufacturers, buckwheat hulls used to fill the pillows are grown organically, meaning, they haven’t been touched by dangerous chemicals coming from fertilizers and pesticides. In addition, they’ve been dried, processed, and cleaned before being sold to the market.

Unlike other types of pillows, these types don’t attract allergens such as dust mites, bugs, and other insects. Hulls offer excellent airflow, which prevents allergen from forming and thriving.

There’s an ongoing debate about this claim, though. Some buckwheat detractors point out that buckwheat is not completely what it claims to be, stating that a few individuals have developed allergies to buckwheat.

5 Disadvantages of Using Buckwheat Pillows

Owning a buckwheat pillow in your home can have drawbacks too. There are a few caveats one should know before deciding to buy one for themselves.

1. Can Be Difficult To Clean

Unlike other types of pillows, Sobakawa should not be washed in a washing machine. In fact, it shouldn’t be immersed in water at all. Doing so can weaken or destroy the hulls, making them less beneficial or utterly useless.

What you can do as a buckwheat pillow owner is to take out all the hulls and only wash the pillowcase in the washing machine to keep it smelling fresh and clean.

Otherwise, use a damp cloth to clean the pillowcase while the hulls are inside. Don’t let the pillow get wet too much, or you’ll risk having it ruined. Leave the pillow under the sun or hang it to dry.

If you need to replace the hulls inside, just purchase buckwheat refill bags sold online.

2. Few People Can Develop Allergies From Using Them

Although most manufacturers claim that their hulls are generally hypoallergenic, buckwheat pillows may still cause allergies to some people.

Scientific studies reveal that even if claiming to be hypoallergenic, buckwheat pillows may still hold the same volume of allergens such as dust mites as other synthetic pillows. These synthetic sleeping aids may include memory foam, fiberfill, feather, or cotton-filled pillows.

So, if you’re sleeping on buckwheat and suddenly develop an allergy, have yourself checked for a potential buckwheat allergy. Fortunately, though, only very few cases have been reported in some countries such as the United Kingdom.

3. They’re Not For Those Who’d Like A Quiet Rest

Buckwheat pillows may not be ideal for restless sleepers. The hulls do produce a crackling sound as you move or turn your head while using them. Others may find the noise tolerable, but some may find it irritating. Because of this, it can take some time to get used to.

However, because it can support your head, you may not need to move too often. What you can do is to sew some pillow indents so that the hulls gather only in specific areas and don’t move as much when you’re being restless or need to move your head from side to side.

4. Its Materials May Cause It To Weigh More

Stuffed with hulls, you’d think that these fluffy things can’t rack up the scales, don’t you? However, buckwheat pillows can be a heavyweight with some of them weighing up to 12 pounds. With this average weight, these pillows are definitely not meant for tossing around.

On one hand, though, this weightiness contributes to its efficacy in providing excellent support to your upper body.

5. A Disagreeable Smell May Develop

Users have reported that these headrests have an earthy smell that lasts for a few uses. This may happen if the hulls were not processed well or roasted before being placed to fill the pillows.

Most users claim that the soil-like smell is not overpowering and can be quite aromatic. Fortunately, the smell goes away after a few days; faster if you air it to dry often.

 You Can Make Your Own Buckwheat Pillow

If you want to ensure that you’re getting a high-quality buckwheat pillow, you can make one on your own.  All you need to prepare is a zippered pillowcase and your hulls, which can be purchased in reputable online stores. Before getting the hulls, perform due diligence and ensure that the seller only supplies top-grade buckwheat hulls.

Apparently, there are a few varieties of buckwheat hulls, and some may be better to stuff in pillows than others. Additionally, the milling process can also impact the hulls, where it can cause heavy crushing or flattening – qualities that you want to avoid if you’re looking for high-grade hulls for your pillows.

Once your pillowcase is ready, prepare up to nine pounds of hulls and start stuffing them inside the pillow.

Final Thoughts

Not everyone is keen on paying hefty out-of-pocket fees upfront just for a pillow. But with its purported benefits, it may be a worthy splurge after all.

While not perfect, buckwheat pillows can be great sleeping tools for persons frequently suffering from pain in different parts of their body caused by inappropriate posture.

Bear in mind that these conditions, including chronic snoring, may be caused by more serious health conditions. Always seek an appointment with a trusted health provider if you feel something more worrying may be the root cause of your sleep troubles.

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