How to Use a Body Pillow

How to Use a Body Pillow

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Last Updated on Jan 05, 2023

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    After going through non-stop hubbub all day long, the one thing all of us crave is – deep, calming, and undisturbed beddy-bye. 

    In reality, however, very few people get to experience the wonders of restful sleep. But, is there no way to achieve a better night's rest? Well. It turns out there is! By modifying their sleep environment, most people can attain a healthier nightly routine and wake up feeling all positive and energetic.

    And one of the best ways to do so is to add a body pillow to your bed. Once a sleeper knows how to use a body pillow properly, it can perhaps resolve their sleep issues once and for all.

    This guide is about different body pillows' uses, purpose, and benefits. So, keep on reading to know how to use a body pillow.

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    What Is a Body Pillow?

    A body pillow is a giant, cuddlesome, and narrow pillow that provides the sleepers with full-body support and comfort all through the night. Just like it may appear by the name, body pillows are not regular bed pillows over which one can place their head and go off to sleep. Instead, these are "add-ons" to them.

    The purpose of a body pillow is to keep your spine, and pelvic region aligned, relieve pressure points, and prevent you from collapsing on your sleeping side. When used properly, a high-quality, accurately-sized body pillow could regulate body temperature, improve blood circulation, and alleviate back pain in most people.

    In addition, hugging a body pillow can be one of those stress-busting moments for which you wait all day long. These extra-long pillows come with different filling materials and serve as great options for side sleepers, people with sleep apnea, pregnant ladies, and just about anyone who faces trouble while sleeping.

    How to Use a Body Pillow?

    Once you get yourself a perfect body pillow, you may wonder what the next step is? How exactly are you supposed to make use of the unusually long and oversized pillow? Let's now discuss just that.

    One needs to cover it with a pillowcase to keep it clean and protected. Once that is done, you'd want to position the pillow in a way that supports your body. To do so, consider looking at the following ways to use a body pillow depending on people's different sleep positions and personal preferences. 

    • Keep the pillow beside yourself along the length of your body to have occasional support while you toss and turn at night.
    • Gently tuck the lower section of the pillow between your knees and wrap your arms around it to almost hug it or place your hand on it. The pillow-hugging position allows you to sleep on one side, which is believed to be the most preferred sleeping position
    • If you sleep on your back, a body pillow may help support the natural bend in your knee as you sleep. You may keep it beneath your knees to reduce the weight-bearing pressure from your lower body and support the natural curve of your lumbar region.
    • Stomach sleepers can place a body pillow under their shins or against their ankle-fronts, which helps them to lower pressure across their hips and lower back.

    How to Use Different Types of Body Pillows?

    Body pillows come in all shapes and sizes, which means no matter what your sleeping style is, there's always an ideal body pillow for you. Below are a few shapes of body pillows and their uses to help you decide which one best fits your requirements. 


    Rectangular body pillows are among the most commonly preferred types of body pillows. One can use these narrow pillows on comparatively smaller beds (for example, twin or twin XL-sized beds) since they do not take up much space.

    How to use: A person can use a rectangular body pillow both in vertical and horizontal positions:

    These pillows offer excellent head and knee support, especially for side-sleepers in vertical positions. When placed vertically, one may wrap their arm around the pillow to reduce pressure off their shoulders and keep the lower portion of the pillow between their knees to support their spinal alignment. However, one must avoid placing their entire leg over the pillow since this may add undue strain to their back

    When placed horizontally, back and stomach sleepers can use them as long head pillows while lying down or as lower-back supports while sitting upright on their beds. 


    For people with limited space in their beds, cylindrical body pillows can do a fair job. These are cylindrical and plumper in shape. These are similar to rectangular ones in their purposes but require even less space.

    How to use: Rest the head over the upper portion of your pillow. Hold the central region of the pillow gently with your arms. Now keep the lower half of the pillow between your knees. Most people can get to experience the best comfort these pillows can offer.


    A U-shaped body pillow is an extra-large pillow that provides overall support in a sleeper's head, neck, chest, and back and prevents them from rolling over. It works best as a pregnancy pillow since it allows pregnant women to sleep on their sides which is considered a better sleeping position. Due to its huge size, the U-shaped pillows should either be used on a king-size or a queen-size bed. 

    How to use: The inverted 'U' fits closely around a sleeper with its separate arms (one going down the back and the other going down the front). One may lay their head at the top of the curve and sleep on their back or by facing either side. When facing a particular side, they can hug one of its arms while the other should support their back. The U-shape helps restrict movement and prevents people from tossing and turning all night. 


    If someone wishes to have the same benefits as a U-shaped pillow but does not have enough room for it, they may consider opting for a J-shaped pillow. These pillows look like giant' candy canes' and provide excellent head and leg support.

    How to use: A person only needs to place their head over the curved end and tuck the longer arm of the pillow between their knees to make the most of J-shaped pillows. Using the body pillow, one gets excellent leg support and spinal alignment.


    A C-shaped pillow is a curved pillow that works on smaller beds. It is an excellent option for people who don't have as much space but require similar benefits as a U-shaped pillow. 

    How to use: To ensure front and back support as a side-sleeper, a sleeper needs to curl into the C's curve so that their head rests on the top and the remaining curve supports their back and legs. C-shaped pillows can also work as pregnancy pillows.


    I-shaped body pillows are long and huggable. These pillows are compatible with smaller beds and can potentially ease pressure points.

    How to use: As a person lays their head and neck on the top region, they can wrap their arm around the middle and tug the other end between their legs. This position helps support the person's knees and relieves pain in their spine.

    Filling Materials Used in Body Pillows

    When choosing the right body pillow, one may cut down their options by selecting a suitable fill for their pillow. The features like softness, breathability, and temperature sensitivity, depending upon the material a body pillow is stuffed. One needs to make sure that they pick the best material as per their preferences to ensure better features. 

    Here are a few options to choose from:


    Down is prepared using the soft undercoat from the bellies of geese and ducks. The feathers found under their wings and belly areas are naturally warm, resulting in super cozy pillows.

    However, down-filled pillows are expensive and can trigger allergies due to dust particles trapped by the material. 

    Down Alternative

    Down alternatives are a common synthetic material and a comparatively cheaper alternative to other fill types.

    The material can absorb too much heat and is not very breathable. It can also get saggy much sooner than expected. 

    Memory Foam

    Memory foam is made of polyurethane and provides sleepers with excellent pressure relief. Being heat-sensitive, the foam material adjusts to their body shapes. But, due to lower breathability, these may cause overheating and perspiration. 

    There are two options among these – solid memory foam and shredded memory foam. Shredded foam offers slightly higher breathability and moldability and requires little extra maintenance than solid foam to keep it fluffy enough. 


    One of the most popular uses of organic latex is the making of latex-stuffed body pillows. Pillows made out of natural latex are durable and odor-free. Due to its bouncy texture, latex foam provides long-lasting support while settling according to one's head and neck postures. 

    Also, latex manufacturing is an eco-friendly process, and the material is comparatively more breathable than memory foam. 


    Inflatable pregnancy pillows are examples of air-filled body pillows. These are low-priced products that do not provide lasting support. These are generally not recommended since air may leak out at times, leading to lumpiness that can, in turn, also cause neck pain. However, one can use them while travelling. 

    Benefits of a Body Pillow

    There are undoubtedly numerous benefits of sleeping with a body pillow, especially if you're a side-sleeper, pregnant woman, or someone with back pain. Some of the most prominent ones are listed below.

    Alleviates Pressure-Points and Back Pain

    Sleeping on one side or on a mattress that's too firm can create pressure points in a person's body, mainly around their shoulders and pelvic region. These areas tend to bear the maximum weight in their bodies. Body pillows help distribute this weight so that the high-pressure areas do not get too stiff. 

    When held between the knees, a body pillow keeps the sleeper's spine naturally aligned, alleviates lower-back pain, and relieves conditions like herniated discs.

    Reduces Snoring and Sleep Apnea

    When using a body pillow, side-sleeping is the most convenient option. Resting on one side keeps a person's head lifted above and makes sure that their airways are not blocked somehow. This helps prevent the soft tissues at the back of their throat from collapsing, which in turn wards off any breathing problems and thus reduces the effects of snoring and sleep apnea. 

    Acts as a Stress-Buster

    The action of hugging a giant, fluffy pillow can certainly reduce cortisol levels and act as a stress-buster. Increased blood pressure or heart rate may affect the sleep quality of most people. One of the many benefits of using a body pillow is that it relieves stress and helps calm one's mind.

    Prevents Restless Sleeping

    Many people struggle with restless sleeping at night and keep tossing, turning, and rolling over their beds. A sure-fire solution to this is to start using a body pillow. A U-shaped pillow shall best hold them in place and prevent any possible misalignment of their spines.


    A body pillow is, without a doubt, one of the most revolutionary sleeping aids of all time. Adding these giant-sized pillows to your sleep routine can potentially revamp your entire sleeping experience, provided that you know how to use it the right way and choose the correct one as per your needs. 

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
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