Ultimate Guide to
Body Pillows

Everything you need to know about the benefits of side
sleeping and using a body pillow.

Ultimate Guide to Body Pillows

Everything you need to know about the benefits of side sleeping and using a body pillow.

What is a body pillow?

A body pillow is a long pillow that supports your arm, leg and torso, keeping your shoulders and hips stacked in perfect alignment, which alleviates pressure and strain. Body pillows are designed to be “hugged” by side sleepers, with their arm and leg wrapped around it. This results in an optimal sleeping position where the spine adopts a natural, neutral position – perfectly aligned.

Body pillows come in all shapes and sizes, but are generally quite large and between 4 and 6 ft long. C-shaped and U-shaped body pillows tend to offer full body support, whilst flatter rectangular ones are often used to lean against. 

 

Another important consideration is the fill and outer cover material. Memory foam filling tends to trap heat, whilst synthetic fills like hollowfibre and latex are more breathable. Since body pillows press up against the entire body during sleep, its important to choose a body pillow which an outer cover that is both breathable and soft.

Body pillows come in all shapes and sizes, but are generally quite large and between 4 and 6 ft long. C-shaped and U-shaped body pillows tend to offer full body support, whilst flatter rectangular ones are often used to lean against. 

 

Another important consideration is the fill and outer cover material. Memory foam filling tends to trap heat, whilst synthetic fills like hollowfibre and latex are more breathable. Since body pillows press up against the entire body during sleep, its important to choose a body pillow which an outer cover that is both breathable and soft.

of people sleep on their side

struggle with aches and pains

Neck and back pain are the most common

of people sleep on their side

struggle with aches and pains

Neck and back pain are the most common

Who can benefit from using a body pillow?

Pregnant Women

The added weight around the tummy often leads to back pain. A body pillow can be used to prop up the stomach and take the weight off, making sleeping a whole lot more comfortable. Doctors also recommend that pregnant women sleep on their side during pregnancy, as this is the healthiest position for mother and baby. Some body pillows can also double as feeding pillows, for use after birth.

Athletes

People who lead very active lifestyles are quickly discovering that sleeping with a body pillow can supercharge their muscle recovery, preventing injury and increasing performance. Relieved pressure on key joints and muscles allows them to relax which reduces pain and aids repair.

Common Pains

The most common pains experienced whilst sleeping are neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain and leg pain. Due to the sheer size and versatility of body pillows, the sleeper can use the pillow in any number of ways to target their specific pain or problem. This may mean propping it between the knees to reduce tension on the hips and legs, or using it towards the upper body to prevent slouching and shoulder pain.

Fibromyalgia

A physical condition which causes pain all over the body and extreme tiredness, affecting around 2% of the population. Whilst sufferers should always consult their GP first, there are many reports of body pillows successfully reducing pain during sleep.

The main benefit of an orthopaedic body pillow is to relieve pain and discomfort whilst sleeping. Pain in the back and neck are usually caused by inadequate alignment of the spine and neck. Sleeping in a position that puts strain on these areas is going to lead to pain eventually.

Let’s take a look at some of the other reasons people would use a body pillow:

Snoring

Whilst its difficult to stop snoring completely, changing your sleeping position can produce some improvement. Back sleeping is the worst position for snoring, and side sleeping the best. By encouraging you to sleep on your side, you may find your snoring reduces (and also any neck pain!)

Operation Recovery

After an accident or operation that could leave you bed-ridden for days or even weeks, comfort and pain relief are going to be desperately needed. Either by encouraging side sleeping, relieving pain or simply helping you sit up comfortably, these versatile positional pillows will help you enjoy a more comfortable recovery.

Acid Reflux & Heartburn

Side sleeping (especially on your left side) can help relieve reflux as your stomach stays below your oesophagus, making reflux less likely.

Comforter

Hugging a body pillow releases oxytocin, the “feel-good hormone”, which helps you feel content and secure. This not only helps you get to sleep quicker, but is also perfect for soothing anxiety.

Who can benefit from using a body pillow?

The main benefit of an orthopaedic body pillow is to relieve pain and discomfort whilst sleeping. Pain in the back and neck are usually caused by inadequate alignment of the spine and neck. Sleeping in a position that puts strain on these areas is going to lead to pain eventually.

Let’s take a look at some of the other reasons people would use a body pillow:

The added weight around the tummy often leads to back pain. A body pillow can be used to prop up the stomach and take the weight off, making sleeping a whole lot more comfortable. Doctors also recommend that pregnant women sleep on their side during pregnancy, as this is the healthiest position for mother and baby. Some body pillows can also double as feeding pillows, for use after birth.

People who lead very active lifestyles are quickly discovering that sleeping with a body pillow can supercharge their muscle recovery, preventing injury and increasing performance. Relieved pressure on key joints and muscles allows them to relax which reduces pain and aids repair.

The most common pains experienced whilst sleeping are neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain and leg pain. Due to the sheer size and versatility of body pillows, the sleeper can use the pillow in any number of ways to target their specific pain or problem. This may mean propping it between the knees to reduce tension on the hips and legs, or using it towards the upper body to prevent slouching and shoulder pain.

A physical condition which causes pain all over the body and extreme tiredness, affecting around 2% of the population. Whilst sufferers should always consult their GP first, there are many reports of body pillows successfully reducing pain during sleep.

After an accident or operation that could leave you bed-ridden for days or even weeks, comfort and pain relief are going to be desperately needed. Either by encouraging side sleeping, relieving pain or simply helping you sit up comfortably, these versatile positional pillows will help you enjoy a more comfortable recovery.

Whilst its difficult to stop snoring completely, changing your sleeping position can produce some improvement. Back sleeping is the worst position for snoring, and side sleeping the best. By encouraging you to sleep on your side, you may find your snoring reduces (and also any neck pain!)

Side sleeping (especially on your left side) can help relieve reflux as your stomach stays below your oesophagus, making reflux less likely.

Hugging a body pillow releases oxytocin, the “feel-good hormone”, which helps you feel content and secure. This not only helps you get to sleep quicker, but is also perfect for soothing anxiety.

Why use a side sleeper pillow?

Our research shows that 41% of the population either sleep on their back, front or toss and turn during the night as they can’t get comfortable. 

If you are cosiest sleeping on your STOMACH, it’s not all good news! Whilst your partner may thank you for reducing chances of snoring, your body might not be so grateful. Many people who sleep on their stomach experience some kind of pain – whether it is in their joints, back, or neck.

BACK SLEEPERS are far less likely to experience these aches and pains as the spine is considerably more neutral. Furthermore, elevation of your head and neck aids digestion, reducing common issues such as acid reflux.

Whilst the health benefits of sleeping on your back are fantastic, these may not be attractive enough to sway you from a more comfortable position.

By far the most popular choice, around 60% of people sleep on their SIDE or in the foetal sleeping position. This is an ideal choice from a health perspective, as it promotes a similarly neutral spine, sharing many of the benefits of sleeping faced up. With nothing weighing down on your back, you can rest easy and not feel those morning strains.

However, there is some potential for joint issues sleeping on your side with the wrong pillow. Those of us who prefer this position have all been there: Hunched shoulders, duvet between knees, lopsided pillow…

Sleeping like this may put pressure on one side of your body, creating an unnatural angle for your hips in particular. Many leading osteopaths suggest placing a pillow between the knees to neutralise this imbalance, but a better and more complete solution may be found in our Kally Body Pillow. With a product specifically designed for this, it is the perfect way to turn side sleeping into the healthiest choice for you.

Our Body Pillows