Are Body Pillows Good? The Ultimate Guide to the Benefits of Body Pillows
Body pillows are oversized pillows that come in different shapes and sizes. They are designed for increased comfort, body support and an overall better sleep. As body pillows cost more than regular pillows, many people wonder if they’re worth the price. The answer is:
Yes, body pillows are good because they provide many benefits such as: proper spine alignment, pressure relief, pain relief, and added overall support. They are also known to help improve blood circulation during sleep, by making sure that no part of the body is bearing extra pressure.
When choosing the best body pillow for you, there are several factors that you should take into account. The factors include:
- Need: You must identify the reason you want the body pillow. This is important because there are several types of body pillows, and some are more suitable for certain needs than others.
- Shape: Body pillows come in various shapes. The most common are the rectangular shape, the U-shape, the J-shape, and the C-shape. Some manufacturers even create specially contoured pillows for use during pregnancy.
- Size: Body pillows come in different sizes, and it is very important for you to get the size that is properly aligned to your body size. Only then will the body pillow be able to serve its purpose in a proper way.
- Firmness: The firmness of body pillows varies from hard to soft. In most cases, we recommend a body pillow of medium firmness. You can choose the firmness that best serves your needs.
- Material: Body pillows can be made of fiber, latex, memory foam, and other materials. You should choose the right material for yourself, according to your need and budget. People who have latex allergies should avoid buying a body pillow with latex. If you are buying a body pillow for your baby, it is a good idea to go for a hypoallergenic material.
Are Body Pillows Good for Back Pain?
Back pain can be caused by a variety of reasons. Sometimes it can simply be a result of fatigue and over-working, but other times it can be brought on by more serious reasons. Back pain is known to be associated with conditions such as ligament strain, arthritis, osteoporosis, and skeletal irregularities.
It is important for you to identify the cause of your back pain and seek proper treatment. But along with that, it is also important to make some lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes include the way you work-out, the way you sit, and most importantly, the way you sleep.
When it comes to back pain, sleeping on your stomach is the worst sleeping position you can assume. But if you have developed this habit over time, it can be very hard to get rid of. This is where a body pillow comes into play. The U-shaped body pillow is the best choice if you are experiencing this problem.
With support on both sides, the U-shaped pillow keeps you from lying down on your stomach during your sleep. Moreover, having support on both sides is ideal to help with back pain. One of its sides supports the spine, and the other can be used to position the legs the right way to prevent back pain.
To use a U-shaped body pillow for back-pain relief, follow these steps:
- Lie in the center of the pillow on your side
- Place one knee under the pillow
- Place the other knee over the pillow
- Cuddle the pillow as you like
- Pull your knees slightly towards your chest
The sleeping position described above alleviates back pain by supporting both your legs and your spine, allowing you to sleep comfortably on your side.
To help treat back pain, we recommend you choose the correct body pillow size for your body size, and go with a body pillow that has medium firmness. Also make sure that your bed is sufficiently tall for you to get in and out easily.
Are Body Pillows Good for Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by the compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, and it often results in a shooting pain moving from the lower back to the leg. This pain can be triggered by changing posture, such as bending down or standing up straight. Some people also experience constant pain on the side of their rear.
If the pain gets worse, it can also make it unbearable for you to move or change posture at all. While sciatic pain is manageable through physical therapy and painkillers, an important factor in managing sciatic pain is also sleeping the right way.
If you have sciatica, the best position to sleep in is on your back. If you are a back sleeper, the best pillow option for you is a wedge pillow system, which inserts pillows under your spine and legs to offer maximum support. However, if you are a side sleeper, wedge pillow systems won’t help you. You’ll need a body pillow instead.
Any shape of the body pillow can help with sciatica pain. However, we consider the J-shaped body pillow to be the best option for side-sleepers suffering from sciatica. The J-shaped pillow provides support for the legs, and also helps you keep your neck at a level that ensures correct spine alignment.
To use a J-shaped body pillow for sciatica relief, follow these steps:
- Place the pillow on a medium firm mattress
- Keep the longer side of the J on the side you face while sleeping
- Support your legs by taking the pillow between your knees
- Position your arms and legs in a comfortable position
- Keep your neck on the curve of the J
- Make sure that you’re comfortable and sleep in peace
Are Body Pillows Good for Hip Pain?
When you sleep on your side, one of your legs goes over the other. While the lower leg gets proper support, the upper leg doesn’t. This creates pressure on the hip muscles, which can cause hip pain. Other causes of hip pain can include arthritis and tendon strain, but in any case, the wrong sleeping position will certainly aggravate the situation.
The solution is simple: you need to make sure that your legs are properly supported so that there is no pressure on your hips. If you are a back-sleeper, the ideal way to support your legs is to keep something under your knees. If you are a side-sleeper, the best thing to do is to keep something between your knees so that the weight of the upper leg is properly supported, ensuring it causes no pressure on the hips.
The body pillow that will be the best to use for both of these positions is the simple rectangular body pillow. Since this pillow doesn’t have any curves, it can be easily adapted to fit different sleeping positions.
To use the rectangular shaped body pillow for hip pain relief, follow these steps:
- Take a soft or medium firm pillow (the pillow shouldn’t be too firm)
- Place it perpendicular to your head pillow
- Place one leg under the pillow and the other over it
- Place your arms in a comfortable position
- Adjust the head pillow according to your comfort
- Make sure you are comfortable and sleep in peace
If you are a back-sleeper, place the pillow horizontally under your knees for support.
Are Body Pillows Good for Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time in which a woman’s body undergoes many changes. These changes include weight gain, an enlarged uterus, and an expanding belly. These changes are often accompanied by discomfort and bodily aches, which is why pregnant women are in even more need of proper health care. Having a good night’s sleep is an essential factor to a woman’s health during pregnancy.
As the body undergoes complex changes during pregnancy, your normal sleep gear might not be enough to give you a comfortable sleep. Buying a body pillow is an especially good investment during pregnancy. While a regular body pillow may work for some, we recommend you use the body pillows that are specifically designed for use during pregnancy.
Many manufacturers of body pillows have created U-shaped pillows with a special belly contour for use during pregnancy. This belly contour makes sure that there is no pressure on your belly, and that it rests comfortably. But, even better than a belly contoured pillow is the pillow contoured for both the back and belly.
To use a back and belly contoured body pillow for pregnancy, follow these steps:
- Right after buying the pillow, make sure it is the right size for you
- Place the pillow on a firm mattress
- Lie on the side so that your belly is towards the belly contour
- Make sure your belly is resting comfortably in the contour
- Adjust the other end of the pillow to support your back
- Make sure your neck is at a comfortable position
- Adjust your arms and legs as you feel comfortable
- Sleep in peace
Once you have your child, it becomes easy to soil your body pillow. Read our guide to cleaning body pillows here.
If you are unable to find a pillow with a back and belly contour, you can go for a C-shaped body pillow. To use it, sleep on your side so that your belly is towards the open part of the C. This will also work to save your belly from pressure.
Are Body Pillows Good for Neck Pain?
Your neck connects your torso to your skull, and is connected by a series of vertebrae. Between the vertebrae are the cervical discs, which serve to absorb the shock between your bones. Wrong posture, fatigue, and over-use of your neck muscles can contribute to those cervical discs wearing down, and can cause neck pain or stiffness.
It is important to note, however, that neck pain is not just about the neck; if your body is tossing and turning at night, that may also cause strain on the neck. Tossing and turning usually results from you not being positioned comfortably as you sleep.
While neck pillows may work to relieve neck pain, we recommend a full-body pillow support system. The ideal body pillow to relieve neck pain is the U-shaped body pillow. By providing support to your neck, shoulders, and the rest of the body, it will make sure that you do not feel the need to frequently toss and turn during the night.
To use a U-shaped body pillow for neck pain relief, follow these steps:
- Position the pillow on your bed
- Keep your neck where it feels the most comfortable
- Make sure that the pillow is not too firm or too soft for the neck
- Position your shoulders so that they are supported by the pillow (this way there will be no pressure on the neck).
- Position the rest of your body in an easy position
- Sleep in peace
Are Body Pillows Good for Snoring?
One of the reasons why snoring occurs is the obstruction of your airways. When the air cannot move freely through your throat and nose during your sleep, the surrounding tissues start to vibrate. These vibrations are what produce the snoring sounds.
Snoring is not only an indication that you need to do something about your sleeping posture, but it can also be an inconvenience for the people sleeping near you. It is therefore important to know the right sleeping positions to help reduce snoring.
Your airways are most prone to obstruction when your head is not raised high enough or supported well enough, especially when you are lying on your back.
The role of a pillow is very important here. We recommend that you use a body pillow made of memory foam, or a memory foam wedge pillow for your head. Memory foam uses your body heat and contours itself according to your position, which is why it can be relied upon to give proper support. Both of those pillow options will provide proper support to your head. But, with the body pillow, the rest of your body will also be well supported. Make sure you fully expand your memory foam body pillow before using it.
As far as the shape of the body pillow is concerned, you can go for any of the hooked shapes that have a place for resting the head.
To use any hooked shape of body pillow for snoring relief, follow these steps:
- Position your head so that it is raised properly
- Make sure that the pillow is providing ample support to your neck
- When you feel no strain on your neck or head, adjust the rest of your body according to your comfort level
- Enjoy a snore-free sleep