What is the difference between buckwheat hulls and millet hulls?
Both pillows are equally firm as we sleep on them; they offer the exact same neck support. The main difference lies in the texture of the filling:
Customers who own a buckwheat hull or millet hull pillow and always enjoyed it, are encouraged to stay with the same filling as they look to purchase a new pillow to replace the old one. All hull pillows are temperate (they do not take on heat in the summer or cold in the winter). Buckwheat hulls ventilate more easily given their large irregular shape. This will make a difference for those who tend to perspire at night and wake up to a damp pillow every morning).
Why do buckwheat and millet hulls work better than traditional fillings?
The size and shape of buckwheat and millet hulls allows or a constant shifting of the material as we move during sleep while air freely passes through the organic filling. This constant ventilation of the filling keeps the pillows fluffy and fresh.
Cotton, polyester, and down pillows trap a lot of air that keeps the pillow fluffy as long as we do not use it, yet they tend to lose their shape as the night progresses. As soon as we lie down, the weight of our head begins to squeeze the air out of these pillows until they are flat within just a few hours after we went to sleep. We then double them over, toss them around in our sleep, or put our arms under them … and all this to make them fluffy again and higher. But to no avail: The weight of our head will always flatten them and there is no way to prevent this.
As this goes on, our neck muscles have to constantly compensate for the change in pillow height and as we get older our bodies find it harder and harder to keep compensating. As a result we wake up with headaches or tense and achy shoulder & neck muscles.
Buckwheat and millet hull pillows will neither flatten during the night nor force you to shift your head and neck in search of comfort. Hull fillings always hold the pillow's shape and although much air is trapped inside the filling, it cannot be squeezed out. The organic hull filling will adjust itself to the individual form of your head and neck, while giving continued support throughout the night. This way the hull pillow retains its height from the moment we lie down to the moment we get up in the morning, night after night, year after year. You will never again put your arm under your pillow while you sleep or wake up in the middle of the night to fluff up your pillow. It is this ability of the hull pillow to perfectly contour your neck and spine that makes it such an invaluable tool for pain prevention and spinal support.
How do I sleep on my hull pillow? Should I remove or add filling?
First you will adjust the height of your hull pillow. It is of the upmost importance that you use a hull pillow only if it is zippered so can add or remove hulls to adjust the pillow's height to your individual should/neck line. It will be detrimental to the health of your spinal column if you regularly sleep on a hull pillow that is either too high or too low.
Hull pillows are always measured while you lie on your side (irrespective of whether you are a side sleeper or back sleeper). Place your head on your pillow. Your shoulder will touch the pillow but will not be on top of it. In this position, your neck should be in a neutral position; it should not curve up or down. It should be a straight elongation of the rest of your spinal column. If it curves up, the pillow is too high and you will need to remove some hulls. Simply open the zipper and remove about 1-2 cups at a time. If your neck curves down then the pillow is too low and you will need to add hulls. Our pillows are always overstuffed so our pillows will never be too low for you when you first receive them. However, if you remove too many hulls while you adjust the filling, you will sense that your neck now slightly curves downwards and you will then replace some of the hulls you removed.
Once you have correctly adjusted the height of your hull pillow, it will keep its shape all night, for years to come.
When you sleep on your back, simply form a little indentation with the back of your head as you lie down. The hull pillow will support your neck in its natural curvature and keep it aligned and tension free. If you prefer to sleep on your side, just pull the pillow down so it touches your shoulders and keep it flat. If you are a tummy sleeper, we recommend that you do not use any pillow at all.
Buckwheat hull pillows make soothing rustling sounds as you lie down or shift your position. Many people find these sounds enchanting and calming. It may take a few nights for you to get used to your new hull pillow, given that it is firmer and quite different from what you have used before. If the firmness feel makes you hesitant at first we encourage you to put a soft towel over your pillow for the first few nights. You will soon find that this new experience is such an improvement to your night's rest: You will sleep deeper and awaken refreshed, with more energy.
How often should the hulls be changed in my pillow and where do I purchase new hulls?
Hull fillings do not wear out for years of use. They remain ventilated and fresh while giving continued support. The hulls will not break or collapse as they adjust to the individual contour of your neck and spine. However, they may lose part of their elasticity after some years. Once the pillow appears less high than it did when you first received it, it may be time to refluff the filling. Simply take out half the filling that is in your pillow and replace it with new hulls. That will add new elasticity and bring the height back up to where you need it. We offer loose hulls so your can restore your pillow to its original height and feel.
Can buckwheat hulls or millet hulls cause allergies? Are they clean?
Our hulls have been carefully cleaned and dusted to remove flour residue, dust particles, and other dirt remnants. They are 99% dust free. All hulls are run 2-3 times through a dust ventilator.
We use only certified organic hulls and no chemicals or pesticides are used during growth, harvest, or processing of our filling.
Our buckwheat and millet hulls should not cause any irritations. If you feel that an allergic reaction is linked to the use of one of our organic pillows, please contact us immediately.
Are the buckwheat hulls roasted?
Certified organic hulls that are from within the United States are never roasted. The roasting process is used to destroy insects and their eggs that might have gotten into the filling during harvest, the de-hulling process, storage or transport. Certified organic hulls cannot be exposed to pesticides and keeping hulls bug-free can be a challenge. Roasting is done routinely in Europe before hulls are exported to the US. If you see that a company offers roasted hulls in their pillows, you know that they use hulls that are imported and not from a domestic source.
American farmers that are specialized in certified organic hulls for pillow fillings carefully screen their warehouses for insects. Given that no chemicals can be used during the processing and storage of organic hulls, the screening process is a must. Our warehouse carefully screens at all times as well.
In recent years, however, outbreaks of bug infestations in domestic buckwheat hulls have occurred again and again. Exposing the hulls to CO2 (a gas which leaves no residue) is one way for pillow manufacturers to fight the battle, yet it is an arduous, time consuming, and very expensive process. The roasting process cannot be done in-house, it requires sophisticated machines and large warehouse space.
After some contemplation when a recent bug infestation in buckwheat hulls wreaked havoc on one of our competitors for no fault of their own, our team at Pillow Company began searching for ROASTED organic buckwheat hulls in Europe, with Germany as our point of greatest interest given their immensely strict laws regarding the growth & harvest of certified organic food stuffs. Imported organic hulls (roasted, crisp, and incredibly clean) from Europe are expensive and it has been a challenge to incorporate them in our pillow filling process without raising prices. Yet is has been very much worth it and has provided us with a wonderful peace of mind after years of stressful screening and the fear of bug infestations when we saw our competitors deal with it.
Roasted hulls are not only bug/egg free, the heat also takes care of any buckwheat flower remnants (which look black and are often mistaken for dust or dirt) as well as all remaining dust particles. Roasted buckwheat hulls are simply sparkly clean.
Our organic millet hulls come from a different source and in 17 years there have never been any problems. It should be possible to roast millet hulls we imagine, but as of today we have not been able to find a single source anywhere that would make them available this way. Millet hulls are a highly desirable and popular pillow filling and we make sure at all times to screen our millet hulls most carefully.
What is a preflattend buckwheat hull?
The concept of the preflattened buckwheat hull is actually quite comical. It is unclear which company invented this term to make an inferior hull look more sophisticated. The machines that separate the buckwheat fruit from the shell (hull) either keep the hull intact or they destroy the hull. The more expensive the dehulling machine is, the better it preserves the shape of the hull. An intact hull has more of a three dimensional form (several parts form a shape) while the destroyed hull looks entirely flat. The flat piece is really only a part of the once intact hull. One intact hull can be broken into 3-4 flat pieces.
The intact hull is elastic and allows the filling to "bounce", meaning it is less rigid and gives a bit. The pillow filling feels less hard and is more comfortable.
A pillow with flattened (namely destroyed) hulls has no elasticity, feels much harder, and has no bounce to it. The pillow will need more of the flattened hulls to fill it all the way which makes the pillow heavier.
The only advantage that comes from a hull filling that consist of flattened hulls is that the pillow will not need to be refluffed as soon as a filling that bounces and feels more comfortable. Since there is no elasticity to start with, the flattened hull pillow will keep its height longer.
You will find companies online that tell wonderful stories of how their hulls were deliberately flattened by a special machine to provide a superior filling. These are entertaining fairly tales and should make you smile ... and then move on to the next company.
Our team at Pillow Company uses intact hull fillings only.
Do I need to clean the hull filling?
A hull filing does not need cleaning (unless you accidentally pour your morning coffee over it – then we suggest you air-dry the filling in the sun). You cannot expose hulls to water as it will cause mold to form and that destroys the filling.
But we suggest you wash the casing here and there to keep the pillow feeling clean and crisp. You can remove the hulls from the cotton casing once every few weeks or months by pouring them into a plastic bag or a container (if it is a Duplex pillow, keep the two different hull types separate as you remove them). Then wash the cotton casing and put the hulls back in once the casing is completely dry.
If your cat or dog urinates on your hull pillow, you should discard the filling, wash the casing thoroughly, and purchase new hulls.
Why should I purchase my buckwheat or millet hull pillow from The Pillow Company?
Years of experience and skill have gone into the development of our support pillows and everything possible has been done to create neck and spinal support that will help keep you healthy and pain-free during the day and at night. We use only the finest quality organic fillings which include domestic hulls and seeds that are conform in size, intact in shape, and carefully cleansed. Our fabrics are beautiful to look at and chosen for their high quality. All our products are made in the United States and shipped only after passing strictest quality control measures.
How do I best heat or cool my Heatpacks?
Please keep in mind that each of us has a different sense of what feels comfortable when it comes to temperature.
When you heat your buckwheat hull Heatpack in the microwave oven (never use a conventional oven!) make sure to touch the Heatpack every 30-40 seconds, until it feels comfortably warm on your skin. Once you like the temperature, make a note of the time setting so that you can use the same setting every time.
Buckwheat hulls take only a minute or two to warm up, while rice takes much longer (2-4 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave oven).
Once you have made a note of the length of time you wish to microwave your Heatpack, turn your Heatpack over after half that time has elapsed. For example, if you need 3 minutes to heat up your buckwheat hull Heatpack, flip it over after 1 ½ minutes ito warm it evenly both on the bottom and top.
Using the Heatpack as a cold pack is very useful when you have strained a muscle or have otherwise suffered from an injury that requires a cool application. Place the Heatpack in your freezer overnight or for a few hours during the day, and then apply it directly on the affected area. Again, everyone has a different idea of what feels comfortable or unpleasant. If the cold application feels too cold at first, place a thin towel between the cold pack and your skin.
If you suffer from diabetes, consult your doctor first about the use of warm or cold applications. The skin of diabetics is frequently sensitive and may not react favorably to changes of temperature.
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