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

This article talks in detail about eight body pillows, the benefits of body pillows, and their shapes and fills. It also discusses how to shop for body pillows, explores other ways to improve sleep quality, and answers frequently asked questions.

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

  • Price: People should take into account their budget when purchasing a body pillow. Body pillows vary in price depending on 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, or front.
  • Weight: Body pillows can vary in weight. It is advisable to buy a body pillow that a person 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 pillows 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 others 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 pregnant people, side and stomach sleepers, and individuals with back pain.

How we choose products

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: Products are available for a range of budgets.
  • Features: Products have a variety of features to suit individual needs.
  • Suitability: Products come in a range of shapes and sizes.

People can shop for body pillows in store or online. Body pillows can range in cost from around $10 to more than $200. A person should consider their budget before shopping for a body pillow.

Many individuals, particularly those who live in areas with a smaller range of stores, find that buying a body pillow online is more convenient. However, a person should check returns and warranty policies so they can return the pillow if it does not meet their expectations.

The main advantage of shopping in store is that a person can check the firmness and support of the pillow before committing to a purchase.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

For back pain: AngQi Pregnancy Body Pillow

The AngQi Pregnancy Body Pillow is a U-shaped body pillow. It contains 6.6 pounds (lb) of polyester filling for extra comfort and support. The pillow naturally conforms to the body, making it a great 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 gray.

For all sleeping positions: 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 sleeping positions when asleep without relocating their pillow. Moreover, it comes with a removable cover for easy washing.

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

For pregnancy symptom relief: Restorology 60-Inch Full Body Pregnancy Pillow

Restorology 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 individuals may experience during pregnancy.

The company says 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. This body pillow also comes with a removable cover.

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

For side sleepers: Coop Home Goods Body Pillow

Coop Home Goods offers an adjustable body pillow that the company claims is tailored to every person and all sleeping positions. It provides full-body support, ideal for side sleepers and individuals with 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 offers 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.

For a cooler sleep: 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, resistant to dust mites, and nontoxic.

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 escape, which reduces the likelihood of overheating.

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

For lumbar support: 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.

For posture improvement: The Company Store 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 a person can position differently, to support the head, neck, shoulders, hips, lower back, and knees.

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

For chronic conditions: Sharper Image Full Support Body Pillow

According to Sharper Image, its 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 its pillow is ideal for individuals 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.

Anecdotal evidence suggests body pillows may help relieve neck, shoulder, back, and hip pain.

Other potential benefits include:

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

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

A small 2018 study involving 25 pregnant people found 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 study, which aims to identify risk factors for first-time mothers.

Based on the study findings, the researchers conclude sleeping on the back 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.

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

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, to the side, and between the legs. These pillows offer full-body support similar to U-shaped pillows.
  • Rectangle: Rectangular body pillows are also suitable for side sleepers. People can place the pillow along their back or side to provide support while sleeping. Additionally, a person can use a rectangular pillow as lumbar support when sitting in bed.

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

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

While body pillows can help people find more comfortable sleeping positions, other factors can also 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 important as well. 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.

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, we answer some frequently asked questions about body pillows.

Why do people use body pillows?

People may use body pillows to support their joints when sleeping or sitting in bed.

While there are no large-scale studies on the benefits of body pillows on sleep, anecdotal evidence suggests that they may lead to more restful sleep and alleviate 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 sleep.

People should research body pillows before purchasing one 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 instance, a U-shaped pillow will take up more space than a rectangular one.

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

Can sleeping with a body pillow help your back?

Many reviewers online state that their body pillows have helped their backs, but these anecdotal reports are not as reliable as peer-reviewed studies.

According to a recent study, using a body pillow may reduce pressure on the shoulders, hips, and whole body. However, this study only involved eight participants.

Further research is necessary to determine whether body pillows can help with back pain or posture.

How do you wash a body pillow?

Some body pillows are machine-washable. These are generally washed on their own, but a person should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The standard recommendation is to wash the pillow cover every 1–2 weeks and the pillow itself every 6 months.

Some can only be spot-cleaned. Other body pillows are not washable, but their covers are. Some users report that washable pillows have a longer life span.

What size body pillow should I get?

Finding the best size of a body pillow depends on the user’s body size and needs.

Many body pillows are 48–54 inches (in) long, which could be a bit short for taller people or for those who want wrap-around support. Longer body pillows, measuring up to 72 in, are also available.

Body pillows tend to weigh 5–7 lb, but pillows using memory foam can weigh as much as 16 lb. A person should consider how much they want to manipulate or move their pillow before purchasing.

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.