Consistent, quality sleep is essential to maintaining your wellness—brain function, muscle repair, and emotional health are just a few key reasons why sleep is important. But getting 7-9 hours of high-quality, restful sleep simply isn’t a reality for everyone.
The good news is the worlds of sleep science and product engineering have coalesced to develop helpful products to improve sleep quality. From meditation apps to white noise machines and sleep trackers, there are plenty of ways to elevate your comfort and environment at bedtime.
Body pillows are full body support pillows designed to improve sleep quality and comfort by alleviating joint pressure and back pain, promoting spinal alignment, and improving blood circulation. Every design is different, but they’re typically used for side sleepers with the outside edge of the pillow positioned between the legs.
Here, we’ll dive into the benefits of body pillows, the best body pillows for different conditions and sleeping positions, and more. Read on for a complete overview, or use the links below to navigate to the section you’re most interested in.
Although there have only been a few studies done to assess body pillow benefits, there is anecdotal evidence that suggests that they may:
Help alleviate joint pressure
Promote better spinal alignment in side- and stomach-sleepers
Improve blood circulation
Relieve sleep apnea symptoms
Contribute to improved sleep quality
How to find the best body pillow
Finding the best body pillow depends on your body type, preferred sleeping position, and your goals—lower back relief, improved blood circulation, etc. Additionally, you might consider the material, shape, and the body pillow’s dimensions. To help you select the best body pillow for your needs, we’ve broken down the various materials and shapes you’ll find in your research.
Memory foam: A material that molds to your shape as the heat from your body heats up shredded polyurethane. Some memory foams are made with potentially harmful chemicals that can trigger allergies and other complications. When shopping for a memory foam body pillow, make sure you’re looking for safe, high-quality memory foam that is certified by a regulatory agency such as CertiPUR-US®.
Latex:A natural foam material that is engineered from rubber tree sap. Its responsive and soft feel is a durable option for body pillows. However, those with a latex allergy may not respond well to latex-based pillows.
Down, feathers:Down is a soft, fluffy, and warm fill made from goose or duck undercoats, while feather fills are made with the outergrowth quills. Down pillows are typically more expensive than pillows made with feathers. Individuals that are allergic to down and feather fills may consider hypoallergenic down or down alternative fills.
Microbeads:Tiny beads made of plastic polystyrene, which are often used in surgical recovery and pregnancy pillows. Microbeads are plush and mold easily to your body, but can become a big mess if the material is torn.
J-Shape:Curved at the top and bottom, best for side-sleepers looking for total body support and relief from headaches, congestion, back pain, and heartburn. Snuggle into the groove between the two cushions, allowing the pillow to relieve pressure on the head and neck and provide extra spinal support and alignment to help relieve any lower back or pelvic pain.
C-Shape:Curved all the way around, C-shaped body pillows are designed to support the head and neck, with the bottom portion between the legs and stomach positioned nearest the opening. C-shaped body pillows can be a good option for pregnant women because they leave space for a growing belly.
U-Shape:Similar to J-shaped pillows, but a little less length, U-shaped body pillows can help with joint pain and muscle aches and can be ideal for pregnant women who want to read or watch TV in bed. Your head should rest at the curve, and your body should be nestled between each "leg" of the U.
Cylindrical or rectangular:Basic rectangular or cylindrical body pillows can be four to six-feet-long and are usually the most affordable models. These work for all body types and easily tuck between your legs while you’re lying down.
Now that you’re familiar with the benefits of body pillows and their different variations, you may be wondering where to buy body pillows and how you can find one that fits your needs. Below, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best body pillows available for back pain, side- and stomach-sleepers, and more.
When shopping for a body pillow, side-sleepers should look for:
U-, J,-, C-shaped or rectangular construction
Full body support
Free trial period to assess results
Best Body Pillow For Stomach-Sleepers
If you tend to sleep on your stomach, you may ask yourself whether it’s good or bad to sleep on your stomach in the first place. (Hint: in most cases, it is). If you do decide to carry on sleeping on your stomach, make sure that you look for a body pillow that doesn’t arch your neck or back, which can happen when the head is elevated too high above the rest of your body.
Additionally, stomach-sleepers should look for the following body pillow features:
Cylindrical or rectangular shape
Free trial period to assess results
Best Body Pillow For Back Pain
Back pain is another ailment that can cause sleep quality issues. This can be due to excess pressure, bad spinal alignment, or a natural decline in spinal flexibility due to aging.
Those looking for a body pillow to help minimize back pain should look for:
J-shaped pillow that promotes spinal alignment
A body pillow built for side-sleeping
Complimentary trial period to evaluate results
Best Body Pillow For Shoulder Pain
If you deal with shoulder pain when sleeping because of an injury, arthritis, nerve issues, or other reasons, it’s important to find a body pillow that can help you sleep comfortably and alleviate targeted shoulder pain.
If you want a body pillow to combat nighttime shoulder pain, look for:
An elevated construction that takes pressure off of your downside arm
Whether your shoulder pain is a chronic struggle or the result of an injury, the MedCline Shoulder Relief System is expertly designed to provide all-night comfort and support your healing journey. Our three-part Sleep System gently supports your entire body while you sleep, lifting and relieving the pressure you'd normally put on your shoulder, which can help keep your nighttime symptoms at bay. Plus, our body pillow for shoulder pain is engineered with CertiPUR-US® medical-grade memory foam that molds to your body for a soft, comfortable feel that’s durable and safe.
Best Body Pillow For Pregnancy
For many pregnant women, the quality of their sleep declines as they enter their second and third trimesters and their body begins to change more and more. Body pillows can be a great option for pregnant women looking for some extra support while sleeping on their side. Therapeutic body pillows not only offer support, but those designed for pregnancy are built with extra space to accommodate a growing belly.
Materials like shredded memory foam offer breathability that helps keep you cool
Removable pillow cover for easy clean and care
Best Body Pillow For Acid Reflux
When you’re lying down, there isn’t a gravitational pull to help keep acid in your stomach where it belongs. This is one of the primary reasons many people experience worse acid reflux at night. To combat this issue, physicians recommend sleeping on your left side with your torso elevated, so that the natural curvature of your esophagus and gravity can help keep acid from refluxing.
The MedCline Reflux Relief System is the only product on the market that supports the doctor-recommended inclined, left-side sleeping position in one simple solution for successful acid reflux symptom relief without the use of stacking pillows or medications.
Best Overall Body Pillow
The best overall body pillow depends entirely on your unique body and needs. MedCline offers a number of products that aim to improve the quality and comfortability of your sleep.
Benefits of MedCline sleep products
To help you find the best body pillow for your needs, we’ve outlined some of the top benefits of MedCline’s proprietary sleep products below.
Therapeutic Body Pillow:
Full-length, J-shaped body pillow for side-sleeping comfort
Want to learn more about how MedCline can help you achieve a better night’s sleep? Speak to one of our Sleep Specialists today!
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Text SHOULDER to+1 (844) 942-0170to learn more and get discounts on our Shoulder Pain Relief System.
MedCline was founded in 2011 by Carl Melcher, M.D, who was a life-long sufferer of GERD. Dr. Melcher wanted to help the millions of GERD patients with a natural treatment alternative utilizing positional therapy. Since development, the Reflux Relief System has been validated in 7 clinical trials. Aiming to help other medical conditions with positional therapy, MedCline has also developed a Shoulder Relief System for those who suffer with chronic shoulder pain at night. Both MedCline Relief Systems are providing much-needed relief for those suffering from nocturnal acid reflux and/or nighttime shoulder pain to get quality, restorative sleep leading to a higher health-related quality of life.