While they’re primarily marketed for it, pillows aren’t just for your head. You can use pillows to support yourself below the waist, too. In fact, research suggests placing a pillow between the knees can relieve pain and lead to a more restful night’s sleep. Ready to learn more? We spoke to Pete Bils, Sleep Number VP of Sleep Science and Research, to get the scoop on sleeping with a pillow between your legs.
THE BENEFITS OF SLEEPING WITH A PILLOW BETWEEN YOUR LEGS
If you experience back pain, a pillow is a simple, affordable solution that can bring you some relief. Lying on your side in a fetal position with a pillow between the knees helps keep the spine natural. Situating a pillow between your lower half helps keep the knees aligned on top of one another, which in turn keeps your hip and pelvic area aligned, Bils explains. It can also reduce stress on the hips: A firm pillow between the knees can prevent the upper leg from pulling the spine out of alignment.
THE DRAWBACKS OF GOING PILLOWLESS
“Everybody’s familiar with sitting posture,” Bils says. “If you sit wrong all day, you feel it when you stand up.” Though you may not pay much attention to it because you’re off in dreamland, there’s such a thing as correct sleeping posture, too. “If you’re in the wrong posture all night, in the morning you’ll feel it,” he says. Brushing off sleep posture can leave you with pain, stiffness, and soreness. Lying on your side without a pillow between the knees can negatively affect spine health. Sleeping without proper support between the joints can overstretch or tighten muscles and ligaments and place unnecessary stress on the joints.
TIPS FOR SLEEPING WITH A PILLOW BETWEEN YOUR LEGS
The best pillow for you comes down to preference, body type, level of activity on any given day, and other factors. You can:
CHOOSE A CONTOURED PILLOW SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO BE PLACED BETWEEN THE LEGS, TYPICALLY ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL WITH CONTOURED CUT OUTS. “THEY TEND TO STAY IN PLACE BETTER,”
CHOOSE A FIRM ENOUGH PILLOW SO THE KNEES DON’T EVER TOUCH.
CHOOSE A PILLOW WITH DOWN FILLING. “I PREFER THE ADJUSTABILITY OF A DOWN OR DOWN ALTERNATIVE PILLOW. YOU CAN REARRANGE THE CONTENTS TO MATCH EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT THAT NIGHT,” BILS SAYS.
CHOOSE A BODY PILLOW FOR FULL-BODY SIDE-SLEEPING SUPPORT.