When you think of a pillow fight, you might image people jumping on beds and feathers flying everywhere as kids swing at each other with pillows. Although buckwheat pillows would probably win that kind of pillow fight too (they’re the most supportive, after all!), that’s not what I’m referring to.
There are so many different types of pillows on the market that it can be hard to choose which one is best for you. There is memory foam, fiber fill, down feather fill, feather, water fill, millet pillows and buckwheat pillows. If you are shopping for a new pillow, the selection can be overwhelming and there are a lot of things to consider. The primary differentiator between these pillows is the filling and unbeknownst to some, many pillow fillings can have a negative impact on our health, alignment and sleep quality.
I’m going to give you a quick run down on the contenders in today’s “pillow fight” and then I will tell you why some are better than others, and why buckwheat pillows are the winner.
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillows claim to fame was from ads touting they were used by astronauts. This was only partially true; it was designed for astronauts but never actually made it on the shuttle. This pillow is made from a material called viscoelastic polyurethane. This material is on the firmer side until your body’s heat touches it. After a couple moments of heat, the material will soften and contour to your body. When you lay down on the pillow you will feel the pillow mold around your head and neck and then when you get up in the morning the foam will bounce back. Although some find these pillows provide enough head and neck support, they have some unpleasant cons. Due to the chemical processes used to create and package these pillows, they release off-gassing which is the smell of chemicals trapped in the pillow. When petroleum-based chemicals are used, off-gassing of formaldehyde and chlorofluorocarbons occur. These chemicals could potentially have long term effects and the smell can trigger migraines for those with sensitivities. This is definitely not something you want in a pillow, no matter how comfy it may seem at first.
Fiber Fill Pillows
These are your classic, standard pillows and by far the most affordable pillows on the market. You can probably pick up a fiber fill pillow for $5 dollars; it’s cheap and it feels cheap. The lifespan on fiber fill pillows is short and the material is known to form large clumps and become lumpy. The pillow fill can either be too soft or stiff to provide the proper support your head and neck need. These pillows are also not a good choice for the summer, a cool sleep isn’t happening with these as they can trap heat while you sleep. Lastly, like the chemical issues with the memory foam pillow, many fibre fill pillows also contain benzene, formaldehyde and toluene which is not good for your health, nor the environment. Again, not something you want to be breathing in every night.
Down Feather Fill Pillows
Down feather fill pillows are different from just feather pillows. Down feather fill pillows run a higher price tag as these are made from soft feathers with no quills. These are taken from the chest or belly of ducks and geese and are typically small, fluffy white feathers that create a fuller looking pillow. A down filled pillow will compress when you lay on it, so although it may initially look full and supportive, it can quickly flatten out. The better the pillow, the more feathers it will contain and the more expensive it will be. This is not a great option for anyone with allergies or those who choose not to use animal products. Another downfall of these pillows is you need to be extra careful not to get it wet. These pillows take a very long time to dry so that means they can be a pain to clean and not a suitable choice if you ever go to bed with your hair wet.
Buckwheat pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls, offering superior support to your body. This type of pillow has been used for centuries in Japan and is still widely popular today. Buckwheat pillows and millet pillows use natural fillers that are chemical free, eco-friendly and cruelty-free. A buckwheat pillow will guarantee a cool sleep as the cooling cover and buckwheat filling repels heat and cools your head. The ability to adjust the filling in order to customize the pillow to your head and body, ensures uncompromisable support. As buckwheat pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls, millet pillows are filled with millet hulls which is smaller in size and weight. This creates a lighter pillow that will feel smoother. Often buckwheat pillows and millet pillows have superior pillowcases to keep the buckwheat hulls in and provide comfort. These cases are made from 100% leak proof cotton and are durable yet flexible. Lastly, a buckwheat pillow will last 10+plus years, a feature no other pillow can offer.
We spend a least 8 hours a night lying on our pillow which means just under 3000 hours a year, not including naps - that’s one third of our life! Spending 8 hours every day on a pillow that releases toxins or allergens can have long term health consequences. A poor-quality pillow can also cause us neck, back and head pain as well as trigger migraines and disrupt our sleep. You may see various advertisements that promote all kinds of benefits from using different pillows, but this pillow fight is won by buckwheat pillows, and it wasn’t even close!
Our bodies have not changed all that much over the past couple centuries, and I can assure you our ancestors weren’t sleeping on memory foam pillows. A firm, supportive pillow with organic, natural filling is the clear winner. Our bodies require a firm pillow that will maintain proper neck, spin and head alignment and that’s exactly what a buckwheat pillow does.