What Is A Body Pillow? 🛏️ A Beginner’s Guide

Sleeping well is one of the critical factors in living a long and healthy life. The types of pillows you use play a role in how well you sleep. There are many different types of pillows, and the body pillow has many benefits. It allows you to find the ideal sleeping position and more. 

A body pillow is a long, narrow pillow that forms to the length of your body and fits between your knees. It comes in different sizes and lengths, and they are made with different types of filling. When you use the body pillow, it helps to keep your spine and pelvis aligned properly and offers relief from pressure on your hips, neck, and shoulders. 

In addition to these benefits, the body pillow does more to help you get the best possible sleep. Continue reading to learn all about what the body pillow can do for you. 

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What Is a Body Pillow?

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Body pillows are most often used to help keep your entire body aligned while you are sleeping. They are long, normally between 48 and 54 inches, and they are usually 27 or 28 inches in width. They come in different materials, similar to standard sleeping pillows. This way you can find the pillow that is best for your body and your budget. 

People use a body pillow to keep their bodies aligned correctly throughout the night. This leads to better blood circulation and allows people to get the necessary restorative sleep for optimal health. Body pillows can help regulate your temperature, and they provide emotional comfort. 

Most people lay on their sides and hug the top part of the body pillow. Then, they tuck the bottom section between their knees. This keeps your hips, spine, and shoulders aligned and free from any excess pressure. It also reduces acid reflux, snoring, and sleep apnea. Many people find that the comfort of embracing a body pillow also reduces anxiety and stress and provides a calming overall effect. 

The Benefits of Using a Body Pillow

There are a number of benefits that come from using a body pillow. The first and what some consider the most important is that you will sleep better because your body is properly aligned. However, there are other benefits as well. 

Activation of Oxytocin

Oxytocin is a hormone that your body releases when you are affectionate. It is produced by your hypothalamus and released by the pituitary gland, and it causes feelings of connection, trust, and bonding. This happens when you “hug” the body pillow while you sleep. When your body releases oxytocin, it causes you to want more affection. 

It can extend into your relationships and make them more meaningful while boosting your long-term overall health. You will get to sleep faster and feel less stress and anxiety when you use a body pillow. 

Improves Restorative Sleep for Athletes

Another benefit of sleeping with a body pillow is that it improves restorative sleep and optimizes the recovery process of the body. This is especially helpful for athletes who participate in physically demanding activities during the day. 

That said, everyone benefits from exercise. It improves the entire body, including the muscles, organs, tendons, brain, balance, and coordination. The way the body works is that it has an exertion, and then it needs rest to recover and restore. 

When you are fully rested, your body pillow will provide support and comfort, two key components of deep and restorative sleep. It can also help you heal from injuries, as it keeps the body properly aligned. No matter what your rehab need is, you can mold the body pillow to assist. 

It Brings Comfort to Women During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, when the belly expands, it pulls on the ligaments around the abdomen and the lower back. Women can experience discomfort in their hips and back, and sometimes the ankles swell. As the pregnancy progresses, it can be hard to find a way to sleep comfortably. 

A body pillow can be a blessing in this case. It helps to support the back, hips, legs, and abdomen. The entire body stays aligned, and the woman won’t need to take a lot of different pillows to find a comfortable position. This allows for a restful night’s sleep. 

It Helps Alleviate Back Pain

Some people suffer from back pain constantly. They can use a body pillow to keep their spine aligned properly during the night. Back pain comes from a number of different factors, including pregnancy, stress, being overweight, heavy lifting, and poor support. In fact, this is the most common reason that people use a body pillow. 

When you get the support for your entire body, the pressure points in your hips, neck, shoulders, and back are relieved. In addition, it helps allow muscles to relax and recover. It allows you to find a comfortable position for sleeping. 

It Helps to Reduce Snoring

The position you sleep in has a large impact on whether or not you snore, and people who sleep on their backs snore the most. What happens is that the airways relax and grow narrow, and then the tongue will fall back. When you breathe, your throat walls will vibrate, which is what comes out as snoring. 

If you use a body pillow, it will help you remain on your side while you are sleeping. This can stop you from snoring. 

Types of Body Pillows and How to Choose One

You can find body pillows in different shapes and sizes. 

Shape

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The standard body pillow is rectangular, but they also come in a C shape, a U shape, or a J shape. 

  • The rectangular body pillow comes in different sizes, and they can have different fills. 
  • The C shape supports your back, hips, knees, neck, and head, and it is normally used by pregnant women. 
  • The U shaped body pillow is designed to keep the head and spine in alignment while the sides give you support for your chest and shoulders.
  • The J shape offers similar support to the C shape, and it is preferred by people who sleep on their sides.

Fill

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The fill inside of your body pillow has an impact on what it can do for you. Some of the most common fills are as follows:

  • Down or feathers and down: This type of fill comes from the soft undercoating of geese or ducks, and it is moldable and soft. If it is feathers and down, it includes the outer feathers with quills, so they can poke through.
  • Poly-fill: This option works well for people who are allergic to down. They are more affordable, and they hold your body heat. 
  • Memory foam: This type of fill is made from polyurethane. Your body heat causes the foam to form to your shape. Some people find it too hot and it can emit an odor.
  • Organic rubber latex: This fill comes from an organic rubber tree, and it is natural and sustainable. These pillows are durable and supportive, and they are free of odors. 
  • Kapok: This material comes from the ceiba tree, and it is similar to cotton. It is a soft, plant-based alternative to down, and it is popular with vegans.
  • Wool: This material is warm in the wintertime and cool in the summertime, and it is a natural material. It provides support, contains no chemicals, and lasts a long time.

Size

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When you are choosing a size for your body pillow, you want to find one that reaches from your head to your ankles. Some people choose one that comes just below the knees. You should be able to lie on your side and hug the pillow. 

Most rectangular body pillows are between 48 and 54 inches long. Your arms and legs should go around the pillow and it should fall between your knees. It will keep your body aligned correctly while you are sleeping. 

Some body pillows take up more space than others, so you need to consider this when you are choosing the right one. You want a body pillow that is right for your length and that will fit on your bed. 

Weight

Normally, body pillows weigh from five to seven pounds. It is important to consider the weight if you plan to place the body pillow over part of your body. You need to choose the weight you are most comfortable with. 

Firmness

The next consideration is firmness. Some people prefer a softer pillow with more cushioning, but others are looking for firm support. 

Pressure Relief

Many people experience pressure on parts of their body while they are sleeping, and using a body pillow can help to get rid of them. When your spine is aligned, the strain is limited and your body will be in a natural position throughout the night. 

How to Use Your Body Pillow

Different people use their body pillows in different ways. It is difficult to sleep on your stomach when you use one, but you can find one that works for your back or side. 

Side Sleepers

The majority of people sleep on their sides. In fact, research shows that sleeping on your left side has health benefits. Your organs can better get rid of toxins. No matter which side you sleep on, you can reduce your chance of sleep apnea and get relief from back pain. 

One of the problems with sleeping on your side is that you may roll forward and pull your shoulders, hips, or back out of alignment. This puts extra strain on the muscles in your back. You can prevent this from happening with a body pillow. 

You simply place your pillow under your chin and let it go straight down between your knees. You can hug the pillow with your arms, and it will keep your body in alignment. 

Injury

When you have suffered from an injury, you need support to keep your body in position throughout the night. Sometimes people use two pillows. One pillow goes along the back and the other along the front. You can also use a U-shaped pillow to cover both sides. 

Back Sleepers

If you prefer sleeping on your back, one of the best ways to use your body pillow is under your knees. This will remove pressure from your lower back, but it keeps your spine relaxed. In addition, your neck will be in a good position as long as you use a good pillow. 

Back Support

If you need back support, you can choose the side you want to sleep on and use a pillow under your head. Then, place the body pillow behind you and lean into it. This will help you relax all of the muscles in your back, and it opens up your sternum and chest. 

Upper Body Support

Some people need extra support for their shoulders. You can take the body pillow and twist it so that the top part is parallel to your chest. This way, your shoulders, and arms will be higher and can relieve pinched nerves or any other kinks or pains. 

Who Should Use a Body Pillow?

Anyone can use a body pillow. It offers support and comfort, and it works in many different positions. There are some people, including athletes, pregnant women, and people with back pain who benefit greatly from a body pillow, but anyone can enjoy the benefit of sleeping with their spine properly aligned. 

Final Words

Body pillows are long and normally rectangular, and they help people sleep with their spine properly aligned. There are many benefits, including the fact that they allow you to get a more restful night’s sleep. They come in different shapes and sizes, so you can address specific needs, such as having back pain or being pregnant. 

These pillows come with different types of fill, so you can choose one that is soft or firm. Some people use two rectangular pillows, while others choose a different shape. No matter what your needs are, you can benefit from sleeping with a body pillow. 

Sources

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Hi! We're a team of scientists, doctors, teachers, and coaches experienced in helping people with special needs. We hope you like our research and share it with others who might find it helpful too :)

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