How to Sleep with a Body Pillow?

Sometimes all you need to have a good sleep is an ergonomic pillow. But, do you know how to sleep with a body pillow?

Here is a detailed guide to provide you with everything you need to know about using a body pillow for better sleep. Let’s dive in.

Having a body pillow is the perfect way of solving your sleeping problems and body pains.

A body pillow is designed for comfort, support, and relaxation, and it is ideal for various body pains and muscle fatigue.

A pillow as long as the body can serve various purposes if you prefer to sleep on your sides. The top part can hold your head and neck, while the bottom supports your legs and knees. So your whole body can rest comfortably.

It is sometimes more comfortable to use a body pillow instead of separate pillows for the head and knees. Those who are pregnant may also benefit from the added abdominal support.

Sleeping with a body pillow can also reduce snoring, tossing, and turning. You can learn more about the best body pillows for different types of use here.

How to Sleep With Different Types of Body Pillows?

Body pillows come in different shapes and sizes, and because of this, every kind of pillow has its specific way of sleeping. There are U-shaped, J-shaped, rectangular, C-shaped, and cylindrical body pillows. Let us look at how to sleep with each type of body pillow.

1. How to Sleep With a Cylindrical Body Pillow

Cylindrical body pillows are fuller than other pillows and best for small beds.

When sleeping with this pillow, you should rest your head on the top of the pillow then use your arms to wrap its center while the bottom half stays between the knees. This way, you get to sleep well and keep warm.

2. How to Sleep With a J-shaped Body Pillow

J-shaped body pillows are the best for side sleepers. This kind of pillow offers support to both your head and legs.

Place the cushion on your top side of the bed and lay down towards its arm. Situate your head and arms on the hook of the pillow and let your legs wrap around the pillow arm.

Sleeping with a J-shaped pillow can help you get used to the side-sleeping position, which is the healthiest way to sleep.

3. How to Sleep With a U-shaped Body Pillow

A U-shaped pillow is among the largest body pillows ever, and because of this, it is ideal for pregnant women. This pillow is best for a king or queen-sized bed.

When sleeping, take the cushion and place it on the bed’s head to look like a U that is upside down. Rest your head on the top curve of the pillow and hug one of the arms, placing it between the thighs. The other arm is meant to offer your back support.

pregnant woman sleeping in a u-shape body pillow

4. How to Sleep With a Rectangular Body Pillow

When using a rectangular body pillow, set it beside you and then rest your head on the top of it, or use a separate head pillow. Then wrap your arms around the middle part, and place the lower part between your knees.

This rectangular pillow offers excellent support for your knees. Most people prefer these types of body pillows.

5. How to Sleep With a C-shaped Body Pillow

C-shape is best for smaller beds, and pregnant women use it to relieve back pain.

Let your head be on the upper curve of the cushion and your back to the center. Your knees need to be between the bottom part of the pillow as your arms hug the top part of the pillow.

pregnant woman sleeping in a c-shape body pillow

How to Sleep With a Body Pillow in Different Sleep Positions

How you should use your body pillow depends on your preferred sleeping position. You can sleep with rectangular body pillows in the following ways:

How To Sleep With a Body Pillow If You Are a Side Sleeper

The majority of people prefer to sleep on their sides with one arm overhead. But if you like to curl up in the fetal position, you may feel some back and joint pain.

Using a rectangular body pillow while sleeping on your side can relieve pressure points around your hips and knees.

To prevent the curl, place the lower part of a body pillow between your knees. That will prevent your upper leg from pulling your spine out of alignment, reducing stress on your lower back and hips. Slightly bend your knees towards your chest.

The top of the body pillow should be under your chin. You can wrap your arms around the upper part of the cushion.

Have a separate pillow under your head to keep your spine straight. A smaller pillow under your waist may also help support your spine.

Tips for Side Sleepers Needing Support Along Their Back

Place a regular pillow under your head while lying on your side. Lay the straight body pillow along your back, leaning slightly into it.

By doing this, you allow all muscles along your spine to relax while opening up your chest. Suitable for pregnant women as well.

Upper Body Issues And Body Pillow

While lying on your side, place a regular pillow under your head. Keep a straight body pillow in front of you. Pull the top part of the body pillow, so it is firmly on your chest. This position gives extra support to the shoulders.

When your arms and shoulders rest higher, it’s beneficial for broad shoulders, upper body injuries, or chronic shoulder and arm pain. This also helps relieve tension in the shoulders and neck.

Using a Body Pillow While Sleeping on Your Back

Place your body pillow under your knees and lie on your back with a normal pillow under your head.

In this position, your lower back is relieved of pressure, and your spine is kept relaxed. Additionally, it keeps the neck in the most open and neutral position, which is best for breathing and reducing snoring.

How to Use a Body Pillow After an Injury

Regardless of the injury, learning to sleep without it negatively affecting your sleep can take time and patience. As for sleeping positions, there are obviously different ones depending on the injury.

Those recovering from injury might prefer to use extra pillows. One is placed between your knees, along your back, on your chest, etc.

With rectangular body pillows, you can try to have one at the front and one on your back, preventing you from tossing and turning. This also guarantees support is always available when you need to roll over.


Is It Bad to Sleep With a Body Pillow?

Usually no, sleeping with a body pillow is good for you since it enhances your sleep posture. To get most of it, pick the right size and use it properly.

But there are drawbacks. It might be a problem if the pillow occupies most of your bed. Or if the support is too short or long compared to your height. Also, a firm and heavy cushion might not be a good choice for smaller bodies.

While the body pillow possesses a soft, soothing essence, it does not soothe everyone. It might be too hot, for example.

For some, the pillow may have the most use when awake: you can easily fold it behind the back for great support while reading a book before going to sleep.

Any wrong kind of pillow can cause health conditions like neck pain, leading to other problems such as headaches. Or your pillow and sleeping position can temporarily restrict your airway or cause your sleep apnea treatment mask to fall off. Or you may find it difficult to fall asleep or to stay asleep long enough because of an uncomfortable cushion.

When you throw your top leg too far across the body pillow while side sleeping, it can cause the lower back to twist. With the cushion in between, your legs should remain aligned, one directly over the other.

But by providing more arm and leg support than a standard pillow, sleeping with a body pillow should relieve your pressure points and reduce the chances of back and neck pain.  

A disadvantage of body pillows is that they are difficult to clean because of their size. Learn more about how to clean, wash, and dry your body pillow here.

How Do Body Pillows Affect Sleep?

Choosing the right body pillow can ease neck and back pain. In addition to feeling better during the day, your sleep will be better too.

Using the right body pillow allows you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer without waking up or changing positions. 

Find out more about the benefits of using a body pillow here.

What to Look for in a Body Pillow?

When it comes to body pillows, there are numerous options available. Choosing the right one ultimately depends on your preferences and needs: 

  • First, consider how much space you have on your bed and the size of your pillow.
  • Secondly, if you are smaller, you might prefer a cushion letting you adjust the filling for a better sleeping position.
  • Thirdly, choose hypoallergenic and chemical-free materials. Fourth, some are easier to clean than others with a removable cover (you can always buy one separately).
  • Fifth: Is the fabric breathable enough to allow you to sleep well without sweating?
  • And finally, check the warranty, trial period, and return policy.

Should I Get a Memory Foam Body Pillow?

Memory foam is initially firm, but it softens when pressure is applied, and body heat is generated. During sleep, it supports the head and neck – memory foam molds to the contours of the head or torso.

Memory foam gives the body pillow a unique feel. Like any memory foam pillow, it’s kind of comfortable to sink into. 

There are some drawbacks to it. As the material is not remarkably breathable, you can sweat more when you sleep. Memory foam cushions are usually heavier than polyester or down pillows. They are also more expensive than polyester or down alternatives.

The Bottom Line

Pay attention to the position you sleep in – that can give you an idea of how soft or flat you might want your body pillow to be. When it comes to sleeping well, a pillow must be your ally, not your enemy.

Similar Posts