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Side sleeping is a popular sleep position for many adults. However, while this can be a comfortable position, some people may benefit from using knee pillows that might provide extra support.

Many adults sleep on their side as it can be comfortable, but it may also put pressure on the hips, knees, or back, especially if a person is pregnant or has a condition such as arthritis.

Knee pillows may help side sleepers to relieve this pressure, allowing them to sleep better.

This article will discuss the pros and cons of knee pillows and suggest some that side sleepers may find useful.

Learn about some of the best mattresses for side sleepers here.

Potential health benefits and risks of knee pillows may include:

Health benefits of knee pillows

The primary objective of knee pillows is to help relieve pressure on the back, hips, and knees.

For some people, a knee pillow may be a good alternative to medication or other treatments. For example, a 2016 study of people with hip fractures found that knee pillows offered good pain relief compared to more invasive alignment techniques.

Some people report that a knee pillow helps with pregnancy-related discomfort or with restless legs syndrome.

A knee pillow will not treat knee or other forms of pain, but it may offer temporary relief. In some cases, such as when a person has pregnancy-related pain or pain from sleeping on a different bed, a knee pillow may prevent nighttime pain from getting worse.

Because the right pillow can help ease pain, it may also help a person sleep better. Sleep plays a key role in overall health.

Learn more about how sleep benefits health here.

Health risks of knee pillows

For most people, there are no specific risks to sleeping with a knee pillow. However, for people who have recently had knee surgery, sleeping with a pillow between the knees can keep the knees in a flexed position that affects movement and healing. Talk to a doctor about alternatives for safe, comfortable sleep.

Some people find that sleeping with a knee pillow can make it hard to stay asleep when the pillow moves or that they become more dependent on the pillow over time.

Learn about knee pain when sleeping here.

Below, we list five knee pillows that people may wish to try.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented is purely research-based.

Coop adjustable knee pillow

The Coop adjustable pillow is a suitable option for people who are uncertain of how much support they require.

It features a removable foam insert that allows people to adjust the pillow as their needs change. The pillow itself is hypoallergenic and contains CertiPUR-US foam, which is free from common harmful chemicals.

The Coop adjustable knee pillow is available for purchase online.

Company Store knee and leg posture pillow

The Company Store pillow is longer than most options, offering additional support for the legs.

It is relatively flat, which means it will not elevate the top knee excessively. People who want more support can fold it in half. It contains polyester material, and its size means it can double as a traditional pillow. The pillow is moderately firm.

The Company Store knee and leg posture pillow is available for purchase online.

Contour Legacy pillow

One of the more affordable options on the list, this pillow also supports the knees.

It features an outer layer of memory foam, preventing leg overheating.

The company state that tapered edges of the cushion provide adjustable support and some support to the legs.

Contour’s pillow is very firm, making it suitable for those who want significant support.

The Contour Legacy pillow is available for purchase online.

Aeris knee pillow

The Aeris knee pillow features an optional strap to help keep the pillow in place, reducing the need to adjust throughout the night.

The memory foam pillow features indents on either side to comfortably accommodate both knees, preventing painful pressure points. The cover is machine washable.

The Aeris knee pillow is available for purchase online.

Tempur-Pedic all-purpose pillow

The Tempur-Pedic all-purpose pillow is a small, peanut-shaped pillow that can fit between the knees.

It is also easy to use as a travel pillow or neck roll, making it a versatile option for people who think they will only need a knee pillow for a short time.

While the company offers a 5-year warranty, it does not accept pillow returns.

The Tempur-Pedic all-purpose pillow is available for purchase online.

Some alternatives to using a knee pillow include:

  • Traditional pillow: A pillow does not have to be a specialized knee pillow to offer support. Try positioning one or two pillows between the knees. A memory foam pillow may provide more adjustable support.
  • An adjustable bed: Some people find pain relief from a mattress that elevates the legs.
  • Changing sleep position: Switching to a sleep position that puts less pressure on the knees and hips, such as back sleeping, may help with the pain.

People who have chronic or severe pain should talk with a doctor to discuss longer-term solutions.

Learn about the best adjustable mattresses here.

Using a suitable knee pillow may offer nighttime relief for a restful night’s sleep but will not treat an underlying medical condition.

While it may be useful for temporary pain or discomfort, it is advisable to see a doctor for any pain that does not get better within a few weeks.