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Body pillows are long pillows people place between their legs while sleeping on their sides. Some people find body pillows can help improve their sleep quality by increasing comfort and reducing pressure on the joints.

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Anecdotal evidence suggests body pillows may help relieve neck, shoulder, back, and hip pain. Other potential benefits include:

  • relieving joint pressure
  • promoting proper spinal alignment for side and stomach sleepers
  • improving blood circulation
  • improving overall sleep quality

Body pillows can also help someone train themselves to sleep on their side instead of their back, which may reduce snoring.

Some doctors believe side sleeping can reduce the chance of pregnancy complications. However, this is a highly debated topic among health professionals, with mixed evidence.

A small 2018 study on 25 pregnant women suggests that reducing the amount of time spent sleeping on their back in the third trimester could have health benefits for them and their fetuses.

However, a 2019 study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzed data from over 8,700 women who participated in the Monitoring Mother-to-Be (nuMom2b) study, which aims to identify risk factors for first-time mothers.

Based on this study’s findings, researchers conclude the back-sleeping position does not affect the risk of pregnancy complications in the first and second trimesters.

While the health benefits of side-sleeping during pregnancy are unclear, pregnant people may still find that body pillows help improve their comfort and sleep quality.

People may wish to consider the shape and fill of a body pillow to ensure they purchase the right product for their requirements.

There are three main shapes of body pillows:

  • U-shape: This shape of body pillow encases a person and may provide more support. People who are pregnant may prefer a U-shaped body pillow as it provides lift and support in most positions.
  • C-shape: A C-shaped body pillow provides support to the head, side, and between the legs. These pillows offer full body support similar to U-shaped pillows.
  • Rectangle: Rectangle body pillows are also suitable for side sleepers. People can place the pillow along their back or side to provide support while sleeping. Additionally, people can use rectangle pillows as lumbar support when sitting in bed.

Body pillows may use different fills. The most common fills include:

  • Fiber fill: Many body pillows use fiber fill, such as polyester. Polyester is hypoallergenic, machine-washable, and may be more breathable than some alternatives. However, polyester does retain heat and may not suit people who want a cooler sleep.
  • Memory foam: Memory foam offers greater support and pressure relief than other alternatives. This fill contours to a person’s body shape and supports joints, which may lead to fewer aches and pains.
  • Down: Down offers a plush feel and allows for a cooler sleep. However, down pillows are often lumpier than other alternatives and are not suitable for people with allergies.

When purchasing a body pillow, people may wish to consider the following factors:

  • Price: People should consider their budget when purchasing a body pillow. Body pillows vary in price according to their fill, size, shape, and weight.
  • Support: Some body pillows may only suit specific sleeping positions. Other body pillows may provide lumbar support while sitting down and suit a person who sleeps on their back, side, and front.
  • Weight: Body pillows can vary in weight. People should only buy a body pillow they can comfortably and safely move.
  • Size: Body pillows are available in different sizes. Check the dimensions of a pillow before purchasing to ensure it is the right size. Additionally, wider body pillows will take up more space in the bed.
  • Cleaning: Some body pilows come with a removable, machine-washable cover. People should also consider the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean the body pillow itself. Some pillows are spot-clean only, whereas other are suitable for machine-washing.
  • Warranty: Companies may offer a warranty or sleep trial. Purchasing a body pillow from a company that offers these benefits gives the customer time to determine whether the pillow is the right one for their requirements.

The products below include a selection of pillows for pregnancy, side and stomach sleepers, and back pain.

Please note, the writer has not tested these products. All information is research-based.

People who are pregnant may wish to purchase body pillows that provide extra comfort and support when resting.

AngQi Pregnancy Body Pillow

The AngQi Pregnancy Body Pillow is a U-shaped body pillow. It contains 6.6 pounds (lbs) or 3 kilograms (kg) of polyester filling for extra comfort and support. The pillow naturally conforms to the body, making it an ideal multipurpose pillow for sleeping, reading, and nursing.

According to the manufacturers, this pillow provides total body support, especially for the back, hips, knees, and neck, reducing pregnancy-related symptoms, such as back pain. It comes with a soft, washable cover in blue, purple, or grey.

Leachco Back ‘N Belly Contoured Body Pillow

The Leachco Back ‘n Belly Contoured Body Pillow is a U-shaped pillow with inner contours that form an hourglass shape. This means the pillow can simultaneously support the back and growing belly.

The U-shape also allows people to change sleep positions throughout the night without relocating their pillow. It also comes with a removable cover for easy washing.

The product has mostly positive reviews on Amazon, though some say the placement of the seams is uncomfortable.

Restorology 60-Inch Full Body Pregnancy Pillow

Restorology’s 60-Inch Full Body Pregnancy Pillow contours the body’s natural shape while supporting the head, neck, back, and abdomen.

The manufacturer claims this product can relieve lower back pain, sciatica, and heartburn, which some people may experience during pregnancy.

The company says that the pillow is also suitable for people who are not pregnant, which means it may be useful after giving birth. This might make it more versatile and cost-effective than some other options. The body pillow also comes with a removable cover.

Side sleepers may require body pillows that provide extra support to the back and sides.

Coop Home Goods Body Pillow

Coop Home Goods offers an adjustable body pillow that the company claims is tailored to every person and all sleep positions. It provides full-body support, ideal for side sleepers and people who experience back pain. By removing or adding the filling, a person can also change the size and firmness of the pillow.

This body pillow contains CertiPUR-US certified foam, which means it does not contain harmful chemicals, such as flame retardants or formaldehyde. It is also hypoallergenic and fully machine-washable.

Coop Home Goods offer a 100-night sleep trial so people can try it out at home and return it hassle-free if they are not satisfied. This body pillow also has a 5-year limited warranty.

People who sleep on their stomachs might benefit from a pillow with extra support for the lower back and hips.

Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Body Pillow

Snuggle-Pedic offers a high-quality, breathable body pillow that contains environmentally-friendly, CertiPUR-US certified bamboo memory foam. The pillow is also GreenGuard Gold Certified, which means it is hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant, and non-toxic.

The shredded memory foam in this pillow is durable and breathable. It provides support for the lower back, hips, and knees. The micro-vented cover helps body heat to escape, which reduces the chance of overheating.

People can trial this pillow for 120 nights before they decide to keep it. Snuggle-Pedic also offers a 20-year warranty.

Utopia Bedding Soft Body Pillow

Utopia Bedding offers an affordable body pillow that supports the hips, back, and abdomen. Its simple rectangular shape makes it more versatile than other products, as people can also use it for lumbar support while sitting in bed or sleeping on their front.

The pillow comes with a 100% cotton cover and synthetic ball fiber filling. The cover is removable and machine washable.

People with back pain may wish to purchase body pillows that provide full-body support and improve posture.

Multi-Position Body Posture Pillow

A chiropractor designed the Multi-Position Body Posture Pillow to improve people’s sitting and sleeping posture. It has three separate sections that people can position differently, to support the head, neck, shoulders, hips, lower back, and knees.

This unique body pillow is ideal for people who frequently experience back pain, as it may help improve the alignment of their spine and reduce pressure on painful areas.

Sharper Image Full Support Body Pillow

According to Sharper Image, their 10-foot long body pillow alleviates pressure on the lower body and promotes proper spinal alignment, which may help with back pain. The company states that their pillow is ideal for people who experience:

This product also makes a suitable pregnancy pillow. A person can use the pillow in its original U-shape, twist it into a circle, or use it to read comfortably or lounge.

While body pillows can help people find more comfortable sleep positions, other factors can influence sleep quality, such as a person’s mattress.

Mattresses influence spinal alignment and the amount of pressure on the joints. This means that someone with an unsupportive mattress may still experience pain or discomfort even while using a body pillow.

Room temperature is also important. According to survey data from 765,000 people in the United States, higher nighttime temperatures reduce sleep quality. The National Sleep Foundation recommends people set their bedroom temperature to 60–67°F or 16–19°C.

Additionally, certain fabrics contribute to how warm or cool people feel during sleep. Some synthetic fibers, such as polyester or memory foam, trap heat. This can lead to someone getting too hot. People may wish to use bedding that contains a high amount of natural fibers, such as cotton or bamboo.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about body pillows.

Why do people use body pillows?

People may use body pillows to support their joints while they are sleeping or sitting in bed. While there are no large-scale studies on the benefits of a body pillow on sleep, anecdotal evidence suggests that they may lead to more restful sleep and reduce joint aches and pains.

What is the best body pillow?

People may find that certain types of body pillows suit their requirements more than others. Various factors, such as shape, fill, and materials, may make a particular pillow more suitable than another. For example, a body pillow may have a cooling outer shell, which may suit a person who feels hot during the night.

People should research the body pillow before purchasing to ensure it has the features they require.

How much space does a body pillow take up?

The shape of a body pillow will influence how much space it takes up. For example, a U-shaped pillow will take up more space than a rectangle pillow.

Companies will include the dimensions of a body pillow in the product description. People should take the measurements into account when purchasing a pillow.

Body pillows are available in a wide range of materials, shapes, and sizes. Anecdotal evidence suggests they help some people feel more comfortable during sleep. They may be especially useful during pregnancy or for those with posture-related back pain.

Research into the potential benefits of body pillows is limited. If someone has persistent symptoms that disrupt their sleep, a doctor or sleep specialist may help.