Customer opinions are divided between the two pillow types. Understandably, both buckwheat and viscoelastic foam pillows have pros and cons to consider before settling for one or the other. We've compiled the most notable pros and cons in an easy-to-read table.
But first, here's what you must know about home mattress trials and what makes a good foam mattress.
As you may already know, buckwheat neck pillows are made of buckwheat hulls, the exterior husks of buckwheat seeds (which, despite their name, are not cereal, but fruit plants related to rhubarb).
Once the seed is split in half, the inside (called buckwheat meal) is ground into flour (nowadays used by the entire world as a dietary equivalent of wheat) and leftover husks are vacuumed out to remove any remains of meal, dust or twigs.
Pillow manufacturers then buy these hulls, flatten them to increase resistance and stuff them into heavyweight cotton covers which help the pillow maintain its shape.
The average price of a buckwheat pillow is around half what you'd pay for a similar size visco elastic foam pillow. A new visco pillow, for example, costs you somewhere between $50-100, while a normal hull pillow is around $35-40.
A buckwheat lumbar roll is less than $15. With buckwheat pillows, you may also have to buy spare hulls, especially if you want a firmer pillow. A pound of hulls costs around $6.
Asian cultures have been sleeping on buckwheat pads for many hundreds of years but it's only after 1980 that North America and Europe discovered its natural benefits.
Despite their many benefits, buckwheat hull products started losing appeal with consumers when latex and foam became more affordable and lost their luxury status.
Bottom line, memory foam and buckwheat pillows are similar in many ways: they contour the neck and head, aim to offer better support without being to firm and are praised as being extremely comfortable. I think visco foam pillows can be considered the more refined and modern version of the natural, ancient buckwheat pillows.
|Visco Elastic Pillow||Buckwheat Hull Pillow|
|Major Pro||Can be very comfortable||Correct alignment of the neck & spinal cord while sleeping|
|Major Con||Gets hot during sleep||Takes time getting used to|
I have been a fibromyalgia sufferer for years. One of the best things that I have found to help me sleep better is the Bucky Pillow. While it may not look like a normal pillow (because it isn't) it is the only pillow I've ever had that helps me sleep on those nights I actually can sleep. It doesn't make sleep come on our bad nights, but it greatly enhances sleep on those nights that we do actually get some restful sleep.
When I get a migraine, I also have intense neck pain. I lay on this pillow with a cloth over my eyes. The pillow provides immediate relief for my neck, which, in turn, helps my head. The pillow also causes no problem with my dust/mildew allergies.
I read that as the foam is temperature sensitive, that in a cold room, it feels hard. Indeed, when I took delivery of my mattress, it had obviously been sitting on an ice cold truck over night for several days, so when the guys put it down, I couldn't believe it because it was totally like cement! But, that is no worry because the thing will warm up eventually. And, a cold bedroom is still WAY MORE WARM than being outside on a truck. So, if you have a cold bedroom, do not fear your mattress would be cement. It won't be, and besides, you body warms it up.
Years ago a Japanese friend suggested I try sleeping on a buckwheat pillow to help control my chronic headaches. It took a bit of getting used to the feel of the pillow, but it really worked for me. So when my mother recently began complaining about neck pain, especially in the mornings, I gave her my pillow and ordered a new one for myself. This is a good investment. The pillows last a long time and really help for a good night's sleep.
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A Critical Eye On The Latest Mattress Technologies
What affects the expected lifetime of a memory foam topper and does a Tempurpedic pad last longer? The answer is years and years as long as it's made of better quality, higher-density foam.
Many manufacturers claim memoryfoam was first used by the NASA Space Program to boost sales for their foam mattresses.
NASA never did use that basic material in the 1960s. NASA beds or space beds simply do not exist as such.
The truth is the Swedish Tempurpedic company did eventually come up with a reliable formula now used in the best-selling Tempurpedic beds.
While Tempurpedic pillows are commonly known as Swedish foam pillows, not all such products made in Sweden are made of the so-called NASA pillow foam.
How can you check if your purchase as good as authentic Tempur beds? You can try the wine glass test, the egg test, or the fridge test.