Monday, May 9, 2016

My Buckwheat Hull Bed Adventure: A Review

So as some of you know, my girls have two homes with Daddy, one with Mommy. We've had to divide and conquer stacks of belongings and weed our way through countless online ads for used furniture. All of this administrative busy work is necessary, though, to keep me from getting lost in my own thoughts. I welcome it. I welcome the craziness of moving toys and searching for sustainable home furnishings.

And can I please tell you, if you're ever looking for a great way to keep yourself busy for countless (and I mean countless) hours, look no further than researching an affordable, eco-friendly, organic mattress.

I think I've read close to 50 articles on peace-love-dope hippie bed options. I've scoured website after website and my eyes are still blurry from the seemingly-endless array of latex, rubber, cotton, and of course, foam mattresses available on the market today. Each of them had a price tag well over $1k for a twin. I was checking out full sizes's just me now. And my Daryl Dixon pillow. I'm strangely ok with that.

Just as I thought I would need to resort to toxic, off-gassing mattresses, the glory of all glories fell upon me and I read about buckwheat hull mattresses.

Buckwheat what?

Buckwheat hulls.

So get this - buckwheat is a grain, right? People eat it kinda like quinoa or amaranth. You can bake bread with it. It's a great cover crop - farmers can use it between growing seasons to keep soil healthy and weeds at bay. The little tiny black outer shell on the buckwheat grain (seed) is called the hull. They are shells, that's it. They smell like bread. And they make a "swish" noise when you put a bunch together in a bag.

Now why would anyone want to sleep on buckwheat? 

Buckwheat hulls are strong...they don't squish under your weight when you sleep. Your body, with all of its curves and corners, is supported. They're also great for those with allergies. No synthetic fibers or feathers or chemicals or flame retardants. The hulls allow a ton of air to pass through, too - dust mites don't like airy quarters. Last cool little tidbit? Buckwheat hulls do not retain heat. That means if you turn into a sweaty hog like I do sometimes, you won't need to worry about it while sleeping :)

But the real question - is it comfortable? Like, in real life, Kevin? Well dear readers, I'm about to tell you. That's right. I bought a buckwheat hull mattress kit and I've been sleeping on it for two weeks.

So first, I need to note, I was not paid a dime for this review. I did not get any discounts or perks or any special treatment .... it's just been such a cool experience, I had to write about it. Of course. 

I ordered my DIY mattress kit and buckwheat hulls from Open Your Eyes Bedding.

The kit comes with organic cotton sleeves to put the hulls in. My hulls came in 5 large white bags, all delivered to my house via a sweaty UPS driver (giggity). I had my sleeves, I had my buckwheat, all I needed was a partner to help me build the mattress.

So I called upon the power of my sweet little 4th grader :) She helped me every step of the way.

We filled the little pod sleeves.

Wove them together one by one.

Row by row.

And then - done! :)

That's great Jen, but how does it feel?

In two words? Freaking fantastic. 

It is VERY different from a traditional mattress. You know all those times you've ran into a room and took a flying leap onto the bed? Yeah, well if you try and do that with this mattress, you'll break a hip. There is absolutely zero squish factor. If you punch it, it punches back. That being said, when you get into bed you kinda wriggle into your space and it's awesome. I wriggle my butt and shoulders into the hulls and make little grooves and it is glorious because the rest of the hulls form to my body. Like a lil' buckwheat hug.

Also the hulls smell fantastic. Reminds me of the bakeries in Germany. I love it. I wake up and smell like bread and I love every single minute of it.

It's been two weeks of awesomeness and I'll never go back. I'm getting one for my allergy-suffering big girl. Organic, affordable in comparison to the other options out there, and sold by a small business owner who actually does her own customer service. Could not be more happy with my decision to go buckwheat.

Have you ever considered alternative mattresses? What's holding you back? I'd love to hear about it and your experiences in the comments down below and as always, thank you so much for reading :)

EDITED and UPDATED, September, 2020 - I am still using my mattress :) I've actually given it to my oldest daughter as she was ready for a full-sized bed. I've ordered more pillows from Open Your Eyes and still adore and support them as a healthier alternative to traditional bedding.

This post has received a lot of attention, which I love very much because good, transparent businesses deserve good publicity. Sadly, I've encountered a few trolls in the comments who've accused me of being "affiliated" and "not reading studies." I've addressed my personal opinion about endotoxins in the comments, in addition to my feelings about an over-publicized and incredibly limited/flawed study that does not apply to this post (my buckwheat hulls came from Canada, and are certified organic....they were not from Korea). 

Please remember, my personal opinion is all that really matters here, as this is my personal blog, not a scientific study or university research paper. Any of my true, long-time readers know I do not willingly and knowingly share false, misleading, or corrupted information. I stay true to what I believe and learn during my own research. As consumers, we (and that includes you, dear readers) all have responsibility to do our own research using professional, valid resources that include large sample sizes and information we can read and process. At the end of the day we all make decisions based on perceived risk and after much consideration, the decision to go with an Open Your Eyes buckwheat bed was mine (a decision I am extraordinarily happy with and to this day support and would do again).

I am going to close comments on this post as it was originally written in May of 2016 and my life has changed dramatically since then. I am now a birth worker, herbalist, flower and veggie farmer, soapmaker, owner of my own business, and still grinding away at a full time corporate gig. I don't have the time to argue or answer repeat questions, although I appreciate all those who were genuine and helpful in the comments. This is a great option for natural bedding and I still recommend with all my heart.