Buckwheat pillows are becoming increasingly popular. Does one deserve to be on your bed? Let’s look at their main advantages and disadvantages. But before we do, let me describe exactly what a buckwheat pillow is.
Buckwheat is, in fact, not a wheat, but a fruit (fagopyrum esculentum) related to rhubarb. Buckwheat hulls are what fill a buckwheat pillow. The hulls are the husks that protect the buckwheat kernel. The hulls are not just chaff, but are a highly sought after product that is usually more valuable than the buckwheat kernel.
The pillows are very supportive in that they are “solid state.” In other words, they will hold their shape and not sink in during the night, while at the same time they won’t push back like fiber or foam pillows can.
This excellent support that buckwheat pillows offer means that your neck can maintain a proper, neutral position for the whole night. It also can mean less of a need to move around at night since you won’t need to adjust yourself because the pillow has changed shape.
The ability to maintain their shape is the reason many people claim that buckwheat pillows provide relief from neck and back pain, headaches, snoring, muscle tension, TMJ syndrome, and sleeplessness.
Also, since snoring is often caused by an unnatural alignment of the neck, a buckwheat pillow with its ability to maintain proper support can reduce or eliminate snoring.
The pillows can also be adjusted for firmness and loft by adding or removing buckwheat. (Most quality buckwheat pillows come with a zipper so you can do this easily.)
A possible downside to a buckwheat pillow is that it is quite firm. As a result, it may not provide the softness and cushioning that your face and ears need. Its firmness also requires you to often manually mold the pillow into the shape you want. In other words, it will not automatically contour to your head and neck as some other pillow types do, such as memory foam.
Another disadvantage to some is that the hulls inside can make a rustling or crunching noise. This noise is not overly loud, but it may take some getting used to.