One of the most desired, yet so often elusive, needs of our lives is a good night’s sleep. It’s possible to spend thousands of dollars on pillows, mattresses, and various sleep aids to end up where you started – grumpy and having an unproductive day.
Rather than waste endless weeks testing various pillows, allow us to suggest a possible cure to your late- night insomnia and morning grumpiness - the Buckwheat pillow.
What is a Buckwheat Pillow?
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A buckwheat pillow is a pillow that is filled with the hulls of buckwheat.
Buckwheat – or Fagopyrum esculentum, for all of you science geeks out there who love your Latin – is a fruit that is closely related to the rhubarb family. The part of the buckwheat plant that is used to stuff the pillows are the husks that protect the kernels of the plant itself.
Despite its name using the word ‘wheat,’ the plant is technically not a grain. Therefore, those of you with gluten allergies can be around this plant.
These pillows have a history dating back hundreds of years.
Asian cultures managed to keep this unique pillow a secret from the West until the 1980s. It was during this time that the pillow began to catch on in Western cultures.
For those of you who are green-minded, a great thing about buckwheat pillows is the husks of the plant are a renewable resource, unlike the petroleum-based foam that is typically used in pillows.
During the process of harvesting buckwheat seeds, the hulls are left over as a byproduct.
Depending on the company and the quality of the pillow, different methods of cleaning the hulls are used. On the cheaper end of the spectrum, companies place the husks outside in the air, and simply let them “air out.” The premium priced manufacturers roast the husks after they have been triple-cleaned.
The casing of the pillow is made with a material of either 100 percent cotton or 100 percent linen.
Why Use a Buckwheat Pillow?
The advantage of using buckwheat pillows is that they will give proper support to your head and neck throughout the night. Traditional fiber and down filled pillows collapse through the night as you sleep.
When buckwheat pillows are used, however, they offer a great support for back, neck and head because the hulls of the plant form to the weight and shape of the person as they sleep.
The materials in a buckwheat pillow also provide natural circulation for the sleeper using them. This makes the sleeping environment much more conducive. If you, or someone you know, sleeps hot, this is a great reason to switch over alone.
Numerous healthcare professionals also recommend these pillows to patients who are dealing with maladies such as insomnia, snoring, menopausal night sweats, and migraines.
And, since the pillows are made with 100 percent natural materials, these pillows are fantastic for those who suffer from allergies that are often aggravated by synthetic fiber or down-filled pillows.
How Long Do Buckwheat Pillows Last?
When talking about buckwheat pillows and how long they last you need to first look at how long a normal pillow will last. Depending on the brand, quality, and price you pay, a normal pillow can last as much as two or three years or even as little only a few months.
Properly maintained, a good buckwheat pillow can last for approximately seven to ten years – some folks claim a full twenty years – as compared to the average pillow. The difference is significant.
The reason why buckwheat pillows last so long is because the buckwheat itself is such a sturdy material to use. The buckwheat has a hull which takes multiple years before it even begins to break down.
Furthermore, once the hulls inside your pillow begin to break down, you can save money by replacing the hulls instead of the entire pillow. There are many online shops from which you may purchase replacement hulls for as little as $20.
If your buckwheat pillow doesn’t last as long as it should, it’s probably because of poor quality of the casing for the pillow.
If you purchase a low-priced buckwheat pillow, unless it is on sale, you’re likely purchasing a poorly made piece. The stitching, fabric for the casing, and the zipper are likely to fail much sooner than a decent quality buckwheat pillow.
There are certain things to watch for while buying a buckwheat pillow.
Things to Watch for In Buying
How Do You Clean a Buckwheat Pillow?
It’s important to keep your buckwheat pillow clean. This is especially true for anyone using a buckwheat pillow as a hypoallergenic alternative to a standard pillow.
Regular cleaning will also help your buckwheat pillow last longer.
Part of maintaining your pillow is to choose a quality pillowcase to use on it. The right kind of pillowcase will keep unexpected spills away and keep unwanted dirt off the pillow itself.
Maintenance of the pillow should include the outside cotton cover being washed regularly, about every two to three months. The pillow itself should never be washed because the buckwheat will be ruined.
Most Buckwheat pillows come with a case that be unzipped so that the case itself can be washed. In order to properly wash the pillow casing, you can follow these steps:
Steps in Cleaning Buckwheat Pillows
- 1Unzip the pillow casing.
- 2Empty the contents of the pillowcase into a dry container. You may use a zipper seal bag, or plastic container like Tupperware.
- 3Wash the casing in cold water only. Normally these cases are 100 percent cotton or linen and will shrink if they are washed in warm or hot water.
- 4After washing, hang the case on either a clothesline or the back of a chair. Make sure there is ample circulation so that the pillow casing will dry completely.
- 5After the casing has finished drying, refill the casing with the buckwheat husks and zip it closed.
How Much is a Buckwheat Pillow?
The price range of a buckwheat pillow averages anywhere from $20 to $150, which makes them comparable price range to pillows made of different materials.
You can find buckwheat pillows at a variety of retailers, including mass retailers like Wal-Mart and Amazon. These pillows will cost between $20 and $115 at these retailers.
If, however, you’re looking for high end buckwheat pillows from expert makers, try companies like Buckwheat Therapy, or Hullo Pillow. These companies will charge more for their various pillows, but you’ll get a much better-quality pillow in the process.
If you are on the fence on whether or not to spend the extra for the higher end buckwheat pillow, remember that the higher end pillows will last longer, and ultimately save you money.
Where Can You Buy a Buckwheat Pillow?
To find the right buckwheat pillow, you can check a variety of retailers, including the following familiar, and less familiar retailers:
- Basically, you may find buckwheat pillows at almost any location that sells bedding.
Pros and Cons of a Buckwheat Pillow
While there are clearly some great aspects to the buckwheat pillow, there can be some downsides. In order to properly understand what is both good and bad about buckwheat pillows, we have compiled a list for your convenience.
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Investing in a Buckwheat Pillow: Is it For You?
As you can see, there are tons of benefits to a buckwheat pillow. You may spend more initially, or you may not, but in the long run, you save money. The pillows last for several years, if not decades, and the are known for providing better support, which means better sleep.
Buckwheat pillows are not washable, but the casings that hold the buckwheat husks are, so you can keep your hypoallergenic pillow as clean as you need.
You can also add or reduce the number of husks to get the exact firmness that you need to create the perfect pillow for your sleep.