According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. Nearly 60% of individuals who have nasal allergies reported difficulty sleeping due to their allergy symptoms.
But what if what you’re sleeping on is the trigger for your allergies?
In this article, we’ll take a look at buckwheat pillows and look at whether or not they can cause allergies.
So, can buckwheat pillows cause allergies? Research has proven that buckwheat pillows contain an equal amount of dust mites and endotoxin allergens as synthetic pillows do. On top of that, buckwheat itself is an allergen. So, if you suffer from allergies and are sleeping on buckwheat pillows, your pillows could be part of the problem.
What Causes Allergies?
Allergies are caused by your immune system perceiving allergens as “harmful” and attacking them when they enter our bodies.
The result of this immune response is inflammation and mucous production, which is your body’s way of protecting you against what is inaccurately perceived as harmful.
The result of this “protection” is often allergy symptoms like nasal congestion, cough, and itchy eyes.
The Effect of Allergies
If you do suffer from allergies, chances are you are not feeling your best when it matters. During the day, when it’s important to be at your best, you may feel foggy due to allergies.
But allergies can also impact the quality of your sleep at night, which can make you feel even more tired during the day due to lack of sleep.
A night of congestion, sneezing, or coughing can easily disrupt an otherwise perfect night’s sleep, leading to grogginess and fatigue the next day.
That is why it’s so important to get to the root of what is triggering the allergies.
Pillow Facts Regarding Allergies
We know that 1 in 4 people know that pillows should be replaced every two years but wait longer to do so. We also know that 1 in 5 people have never washed their pillows.
By that same light, 70% of people are not comfortable showing their naked pillows to others. That means that most of us are sleeping on pillows that are no longer fluffy and are full of dust mites, sweat, dead skin, and other allergens.
What About Buckwheat Pillows?
Buckwheat hull pillows are famous for being hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. Buckwheat pillows provide a wonderful sleeping experience and help to eliminate neck pain.
But scientific studies reveal that they actually carry the same quantity of dust mites and endotoxins as synthetic pillows. In addition, symptoms of anyone suffering from buckwheat pillow allergens are equal to other allergic reactions.
Research has proven that buckwheat pillows contains an equal amount of dust mites and endotoxin allergens like synthetic pillows. On top of that, buckwheat itself is an allergen. If you suffer from allergies and are sleeping on buckwheat pillows, your pillows could be part of the problem.
Buckwheat Pillow Manufacturing Disclaimer
A lot of buckwheat pillow manufacturers say that their product is hypoallergenic. That means that the pillows are less likely to cause allergic reactions, especially since they do not contain feathers. Many people are allergic to feathers.
Buckwheat pillows are made from hulls whose insides come from buckwheat grown organically without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or feathers.
Just because your buckwheat pillow is hypoallergenic doesn’t mean it won’t cause allergies, especially if you have buckwheat allergies. If you are allergic to buckwheat, the buckwheat pillow itself could be causing you to have asthma or allergic reactions.
Symptoms of Buckwheat Allergy
Buckwheat is one of the main and most powerful allergens in Japan and Korea. Buckwheat allergy is an adverse reaction by the body’s immune system to buckwheat.
The immune system produces immunoglobulin E and histamine in response to contact with the allergen. This type of allergy is very rare, and severe reactions are even rarer.
Symptoms of buckwheat allergy in adults include: swollen lips, sneezing, runny nose, coughing, itching of the mouth, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Buckwheat allergies in children can have symptoms that include rashes, red eyes, tearing, and runny nose.
Cleaning Your Buckwheat Pillow
First of all, never immerse a pillow in water with the hulls still inside. Once the hulls become soaked with water, it’s unlikely they will dry completely.
That can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. And that will ultimately ruin your pillow and leave it smelling awful and being harmful to your health.
Buckwheat pillows are washable. First, you should pour the hulls into a container. This step in itself is easy to do if you’ve purchased a buckwheat pillow with a zippered opening. Otherwise, you have to undo the stitching and sew it back up when you are finished.
Make sure every single hull is out of the pillowcase. Turn the fabric inside out to ensure all of the hulls have been removed. This way, none will get into your washing machine. Wash your pillowcase as you normally would. Once the case is completely dry, pour the hulls back into it.
Benefits of Buckwheat Pillows
While buckwheat pillow may not prevent you from getting allergies, they do have many benefits:
- Improves sleep quality – Buckwheat pillows promote a neutral back position and spinal alignment ideal for sleeping, regardless of your sleep preference.
- Reduces Snoring – Buckwheat pillows can improve your cervical alignment, and given that your airway goes along the cervical spine, poor posture can block your airways leading to snoring, gasping, and other symptoms of sleep apnea.
- Muscle Support – Buckwheat pillows improve sleep quality because they promote the proper alignment (posture) for sleeping. During the night, our bones and muscles restore and relax as we sleep. The proper sleep posture promotes its smoother and swifter recovery and relaxation. If you sleep on a poor-quality pillow, your body will wake up as tired as it went to sleep. After a while, poor posture during sleep can result in headaches and migraines.
- It’s Cool – Buckwheat pillows allow more breathability and better airflow through the pillow, ensuring that you don’t have to turn your pillow a countless number of times before the side you want to sleep on is cool enough. The husks are triangular and are a little cupped. That makes for great airflow because enough air can pass through the gaps between the hulls.
- Durable – Buckwheat can go as long as ten years if properly maintained. A good buckwheat pillow with the right encasing could last even longer.
- Adjustable – Buckwheat pillows are adjustable. Most buckwheat pillows come with zippers that can easily open to add or remove excess filling (hulls) in the pillow. With that said, here’s an example. If your sleeping preference has changed over the years and you would prefer to sleep on your stomach rather than your side, you can remove the excess hulls and settle for a thinner pillow.
Conclusion – Buckwheat & Allergies
Buckwheat is a serious allergen that is quickly becoming popular countries all over the globe.
If you find the benefits of your pillow, far outweigh any allergic reactions you may be having, we recommend cleaning the pillow to rid it of any dust mites, or maybe it’s time for a new buckwheat pillow.
If symptoms persist, consult your doctor. It’s possible, you could be allergic to buckwheat. An allergy test would be better able to determine that.