Sleeping with a body pillow has several advantages regarding back problems, spinal alignment, and general sleep position. They are specifically valuable for those who don’t want to fork out a new orthopedic mattress or memory foam topper but desire all the benefits.
Body pillows for sleep have become more and more popular over the last ten years as people have come to learn about the many benefits. For example, people with arthritis say it can decrease pain in bed, and some recovering from surgery or injury have said it drastically. It helps them to remain in their recommended position throughout the night.
Side sleeping seems to be one of the most popular positions. A recent study revealed that almost 75% of Americans sleep on the side as opposed to their front or back. While it might be the favored position to sleep, sleeping on your side can cause problems with the hips, as well as causing shoulder and neck pain. It can also put an immense amount of pressure on your joints, causing you to toss and turn throughout the night and possibly waking you up throughout the night.
So, how can sleeping with a body pillow improve your posture while you snooze, and do they have any other benefits?
During this guide, I will share with you all the reasons that sleeping with a body pillow might improve your sleep quality by adequately supporting your body.
What is a Body Pillow?
A body pillow is a long, thin pillow that usually runs the entire body length; they were designed to help spinal alignment and reduce pressure on the joints. Depending on your need for a body pillow will determine what shape you desire, as they come in various shapes and sizes, such as J, C, or U-shaped.
For example, pregnant women advised to sleep on their sides may benefit from sleeping with a U-shaped body pillow. These tend to prevent you from rolling onto your back, restricting oxygen circulation to the baby.
If you’re a side sleeper looking for comfort and relief while you doze, then a J-shaped body pillow is a popular choice. The hook part of the pillow supports the head, shoulders, and neck, while the straight part supports the legs and aligns the spine.
C-shaped body pillows are used by placing your body in the center, with your head on the curvature and your knees bent into the hook of the C.
The more commonly used body pillow is rectangular. It can be used alongside the body at your front to place your arms and legs around or along your back to prevent you from rolling onto your back at night.
What Are The Benefits of a Body Pillow?
Sleeping with a body pillow can benefit people in several ways. For some people, just the comfort of cuddling up to something while they drift off can improve how quickly they fall asleep.
Below are all the ways that sleeping with a body pillow can benefit your sleep quality.
Pregnant women are usually told that the best sleeping position for their unborn baby is on their side. It takes the pressure off the organs and stomach and gives better oxygen circulation to the fetus.
As I mentioned previously, a U-shaped one has been proven to be instrumental as it prevents the user from rolling onto their back or stomach once asleep.
2. Back Pain
Whether you suffer from lower or upper back pain, sleeping with a body pillow can massively improve your standard of sleep. Placing the body pillow between your legs can help to keep the spine and limbs stabilized throughout the night.
It can also relieve the symptoms of a herniated disk and take pressure off the sciatic nerve, alleviating sciatica pain.
3. Comfort And Relaxation
You don’t have to have a bad back or be pregnant to benefit from using a body pillow. Anyone can use them and experience a noticeable difference in their sleep quality.
The comfort you get from sleeping with a body pillow can improve relaxation, enhance respiration and support your circulation and oxygenation.
4. Stress And Anxiety
The simple feeling of security and being close to something while you sleep may help to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety, which may prevent you from sleeping. This is because when you feel comfortable, your heart rate lowers, and your breathing is regulated, helping you drift off easily.
Cuddling has been proven to release a hormone called oxytocin, which calms the nervous system. Therefore, if cuddling someone isn’t an option for you or makes you uncomfortable, a body pillow might be the perfect alternative.
You often find that people who snore do it more when they’re sleeping on their backs or sides. This is because the pressure is put on the lungs, restricting breathing.
Therefore, sleeping with a body pillow can encourage snorers to stay in one position on their sides, alleviating snoring, which can benefit the person doing the snoring and anyone sharing a room with them; a win-win situation.
6. Weight Distribution
Body pillows can help to relieve pressure off your joints and organs by evenly distributing your weight. Sleeping with one leg and one arm on top of the body pillow means less pressure on your shoulders and hips. This is especially the case if you have a soft mattress as they tend to sink and dip around these points.
On the contrary, a firm mattress can also cause problems because you may not feel adequately supported, leading to tossing, turning, and general discomfort.
7. Recovery And Performance
Whether you’re a trained athlete, like to keep fit at the gym, or have a taxing, active job, you will understand the strain you feel at the end of the day. While being active and fit is detrimental to your general health, so is recovery. Getting a well-rested night’s sleep and sleeping in the best position possible is detrimental to your body’s restoration.
Sleeping with a body pillow to align the spine and take pressure off your joints can help your body to get the recovery it needs while you sleep. As well as all this, getting a restorative night’s sleep helps your mind get the rest it needs to remain focused on the tasks ahead the following day.
Using a Body Pillow For Sleep Disorders
Sleeping with a body pillow can help with several sleep disorders, primarily sleep apnea. I’ve talked about how body pillows can improve circulation, and respiration, which is crucial when suffering from sleep apnea.
If you have sleep apnea, seeking medical attention is the first thing you need to look into. Still, aside from that, you might find that sleeping with a body pillow can alleviate the severity, improve breathing quality, and reduce acid reflux.
Your specific condition and circumstances will determine what kind of body pillow will work best for you. For example, if you’re going through CPAP therapy, finding a body pillow that doesn’t affect the use of the equipment is detrimental.
Can Back Sleepers Benefit From a Body Pillow?
The simple answer to this commonly asked question is yes. Sleeping with a body pillow can benefit you even if you find sleeping on your side uncomfortable. The typical way that back sleepers use body pillows for sleep is to place them underneath their knees.
This keeps the spine straight and takes a lot of pressure off the lower back. It can also help to keep your neck aligned, opening the airways, and making breathing less restricted.
As you can see, there are many benefits to sleeping with a body pillow, and no matter what your need for one is, there are a wide variety of shapes and sizes that can help.
Whether you’re pregnant, have a medical condition, or suffer from a sleeping disorder, a body can help dramatically improve your sleep quality. Even if you have none of the above needs and simply want the comforting feeling of hugging while you drift off, a body pillow can assist you there too.
Choosing what shape and size body pillow to sleep with depends on your circumstances. Still, I hope this guide has given you enough insight into what type of body pillow will work for you.
Lastly, remember to consider the material your body pillow is made from and filled with. For instance, a hypo-allergenic pillow might be your best option if you suffer from allergies.