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Buckwheat pillows were first developed in Japan. They contain buckwheat hulls to create a firm surface that conforms to a person’s shape.
Here, learn how they compare to other pillows, including the potential benefits and downsides. Also, we describe how to choose a quality buckwheat pillow and a list some top options.
Buckwheat pillows contain the hard outer casings of buckwheat seeds, which are called hulls. These are durable, heat resistant, and allergen resistant. However, it is important to note that people can have allergies to buckwheat.
For others, buckwheat may be a more natural alternative to latex, feather, and cotton pillow fillers.
The hulls create a firm surface that contours to the shape of the head and neck. A person can add or remove hulls to reach their preferred level of firmness.
Buckwheat is a natural alternative to materials such as latex, cotton, and down. A person with an allergy to any of these materials — but not to buckwheat — may benefit from switching to a buckwheat pillow.
Buckwheat pillows may also be helpful for people who overheat in bed because the hulls have natural cooling properties. The space between them allows air to circulate.
Buckwheat pillows are generally suitable for people who prefer a firmer feel or require more support.
The National Sleep Foundation emphasize the importance of comfortable and supportive pillows for quality sleep.
A few benefits of buckwheat pillows may include:
- the organic certification of some products
- buckwheat’s hypoallergenic and cooling properties
- its durability
- the promotion of optimal spinal alignment for people who sleep on their sides or back
Buckwheat hulls are biodegradable and compostable, making buckwheat pillows with natural cotton covers an environmentally friendly option.
Also, these products tend to be no more expensive than regular pillows. And they may reduce neck and shoulder pain more significantly than latex pillows, according to one 2019 study.
Some downsides of using a buckwheat pillow may include:
- an initial adjustment period
- that they are noisier than other pillows due to the hulls shifting inside
- the slight natural aroma of the hulls
- that they are heavier than regular pillows
Below, find a variety of options to choose from.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
This is available in three sizes: small, standard, and king. The pillow has a side zipper, allowing a person to add or remove hulls to reach their preferred level of firmness.
The buckwheat in this product is milled and grown in the United States. All the materials are plant-based, including a 100% certified organic cotton twill cover that is machine washable.
Hullo says that their buckwheat pillow is breathable and promotes airflow, making it suitable for hot sleepers. The company also offers a 60-night money-back guarantee and free shipping.
The cylindrical shape of this pillow contours around a person’s neck and shoulders to provide firm support. The company also offers buckwheat pillows in the standard shape, and these come in two sizes. A person can add or remove hulls through a side zipper.
The buckwheat that Sachi uses is organic and grown in the U.S. The company says that its pillows are chemical-free and contain no flame retardants. Each has a 100% cotton canvas casing.
The company offers a 30-day return policy on unused, undamaged products.
A person can choose a bamboo, cotton, or cotton twill cover for these pillows, as well as cooling or waterproof covers. The pillows come in three sizes: compact, Japanese, and standard. The company also offers a cylindrical pillow.
Pinetales says that their buckwheat products work best for side sleepers, but that they are suitable for back sleepers who remove enough hulls.
The inner pillowcases are made from 100% leak-proof cotton. The company advertises that its buckwheat hulls are organic, grown in the U.S., triple-screened, heat-treated, and free from odor and pesticides.
A person may decide to consider a few other types of pillow, including:
- Memory foam: These pillows contour to the shape of the neck and head and may be suitable for people with back, neck, and shoulder problems. Find some of the best memory foam pillows here.
- Down: These pillows are light and filled with feathers but do not provide much support. They may be best for stomach sleepers. Find some of the best down pillows here.
- Latex: These pillows offer good back and neck support and can be hypoallergenic. Find some of the best latex pillows here.
- Bamboo: These pillows have natural cooling properties and are hypoallergenic.
Buckwheat pillows are natural and have a firm feel, providing solid support for the neck and shoulders. They also are naturally breathable and cooling. A range of sizes and shapes are available from various suppliers.