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The anti-snoring marriage-saving pillow

When I first came across a Pillow Menu beside my bed at a hotel a few years back, I thought how posh. It was literally a menu of descriptions of pillow fillings. I was so intrigued that I buzzed the Pillow Menu number and ordered the full selection to be brought to my room for closer inspection.

A poor guy was came to my door with so many pillows stacked up in his arms that I couldn’t see him. There was a down one, a curved one, a hard as nails one, an allergy-free one…

I asked him to leave the lot, slept on the down, leaned on the curved and threw the other ones aside. I had a great sleep!

Pillow menu

Then another pillow menu outdid that one – a box of miniature pillows to test with your fingers and made your choice at the Banyan hotel in Macao.

But all these pillows were just for luxury and comfort, I thought. Until I boarded a Silversea cruise ship.

I was on a Silversea Shadow and our butler (yes I had a personal butler) talked me through the Pillow Menu. He rattled off the usual: firm core, shaped foam, full body pillow (is that for lonely travellers?), allergy-free cotton, polyester, down… Then he casually dropped in “Buckwheat pillow to relieve aches and pains, sleeplessness and stop snoring”. Stop snoring?!

Pillow butler
The Silversea pillow menu

I looked at my husband who suffers from such an affliction and said, “we’ll take one of those,” quicker than he had a chance to meet my gaze.

The Buckwheat pillow arrived on a silver tray. Truly. And that night I had all my eggs in this wheatie bag basket in the hopes that I would not have to leave my cabin in the wee small hours and try to find an empty one somewhere along the hall for a good night’s sleep.

It is basically a pillow-sized wheat bag and is heavy! It weighs nearly as much as a bag of cement and hubby says feels like it to sleep on. BUT….. it works and he got used to it within about a week.

Hiding under pillow
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I can’t even tell you why it works – and I have done more than a little research into the phenomenon. But it seems that because grains are not spongy like feathers, cotton, wool or polyester, it simply moulds to the shape of your spine/neck and there it stays, thereby keeping the airways open.

Suffice to say we bought one and now, a couple of years later, we still sleep like logs. Wellll, sometimes he gets shushed, but if he moves his face about an inch, that usually does the trick!

There are many reasons why people snore. For some it is their weight, others might be alcohol induced (!) and for some it is their physiology. So this pillow might not be the cure for everyone.

Try before you buy!

If you want to give it a try without going out and buying a new pillow (they are expensive), try folding up a couple of towels under your regular pillow to make it sturdy. This will give you an idea of what the firmness of the effect a wheat pillow that doesn’t squish during the night might have.

Buckwheat flowers
Buckwheat growing in Japan. Pic from Flickr/tanaka_juuyoh

Some nerdy information about buckwheat:

Buckwheat is not actually a wheat. It is a triangular shaped grain related to sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb. It establishes quickly and is used as a summer cover and to make flour and noodles in mountainous regions where grains don’t grow easily (think soba noodles). The biggest producer is Russia and China and it’s most commonly consumed in Asia.


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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!