11 Body Pillow Benefits That Will Improve Your Sleep
Body pillows are more than just a comfy addition to your home. In addition to supporting your joints from head to toe, these cozy sleep aids can help with back pain, surgery recovery, sleep apnea, and many more issues. Snuggle up and read on to learn how!
Body pillows provide support for side sleepers that can prevent spine misalignment and joint pain
By evenly spreading out pressure points across the limbs, body pillows can improve internal processes like blood circulation and digestion
Body pillows are a great option for those who have to sleep on their sides but want more support, like pregnant people and people with sleep apnea
Did you know?
Body pillows belong to the category ‘orthopedic pillow,’ and are just one of many orthopedic pillows available. This category includes wedge pillows, buckwheat pillows, and lumbar pillows. Each is designed to encourage proper body positioning while resting.
Side sleeping is the norm for many people at night, making up an average of 54.1% of sleep. It causes issues for some, but a body pillow can turn those problems into perks. Here are 11 body pillow benefits that may improve your sleep.
1. Helps With Spine Alignment
Desk jobs and sedentary lifestyles are becoming a fact of life in the 21st century, and both can be hard on our spines. Unfortunately, sleeping on your side doesn’t make things any easier.
While side-sleeping is relaxing for many people, it can become an uncomfortable position for your spine over the course of a night. The spine starts to bend to the left and right and can cause pain down the line.
Improved spine alignment is just one of many body pillow health benefits.
Sleeping with your legs secured by a body pillow can help keep your spine straight, allowing you to wake up pain-free and refreshed in the morning. Who says you can’t work on your posture while snoozing?
2. Relieves Back Pain
Not only can a body pillow help prevent future back pain, it can also ease the nagging discomfort you’re already dealing with. And a body pillow can be a big help for anyone recovering from a back injury.
Physiotherapists commonly recommend body pillows as less invasive treatments for herniated discs. Recovering from such an injury is often a matter of counting the days until the nerve slips back into place, and that can make for a long, frustrating period of sleep disruptions. Anyone who’s experienced nighttime back spasms would agree it’s not their favorite wakeup call.
Whether you’re dealing with a herniated disc or more minor muscle issues, the support that body pillows offer can prevent painful twists and turns throughout the night. They help keep your body in line and decrease the likelihood of needing to switch sleep positions (something that only increases the chances of another spasm).
3. Postoperative Recovery
If you’re ever unlucky enough to deal with back problems that send you to the hospital, you may want to bring your body pillow with you.
A 2014 study looked at pediatric postoperative spinal fusion patients and compared hospital pillows to body pillows in terms of how well they aided recovery.
The findings suggested that body pillows were more effective at providing comfort and pain relief.
So if you’re looking for a more comfortable recovery at the hospital, you might want to give a big hug to a stabilizing body pillow. Our Cuddler may be a useful option, since it comes with a removable, washable cover – easy to clean after a hospital trip.
4. Relieves Joint Pain
Just like your spine and back, your joints can enjoy the pain-relieving benefits of a body pillow.
Having a pillar of fabric for the upper leg and arm to rest on makes a world of difference for shoulder and hip discomfort. It keeps your legs and arms from collapsing down into awkward positions that can cause you to wake up in pain.
With a body pillow, your arms and legs will be able to stay in a naturally open position, preventing wear and tear on the joints throughout the course of the night.
This is a crucial benefit for people with conditions like chronic arthritis, as bedtime can often be a struggle. Keeping your limbs from stretching in unnatural directions may help with aches and pains.
5. Improves Sleep Quality
All of that pain relief is a good sign, but you might be wondering if hugging something that big all night could make it harder to fall asleep.
The good news is, most people find the opposite to be true! One key benefit of sleeping with a body pillow is that it can improve the quality of your sleep.
This makes sense, because the decrease in hip, back, and shoulder discomfort gives you one less thing to stay up over. And science backs it up.
A 2021 study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine Research took healthy adults and gave them a long, straight body pillow to sleep with. The researchers monitored sleep waves, gave a questionnaire, and measured body pressure at certain points.
They found that body pillows relieved pressure on the shoulder, hip, and body. Additionally, they found that participants who used body pillows were able to stay in a side sleeping position for longer and had their slow-wave sleep interrupted less.
That means that if you’re a side sleeper, a body pillow could help you stay in dreamland a little longer.
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6. Helps With Snoring
Beyond helping you stay asleep, full-body pillows can also keep you from waking your partner if you’re someone who tends to snore in their sleep!
To understand how they can help, we first need to look at why we snore in the first place.
There are a variety of reasons why we snore, ranging from temporary illnesses to consumption of alcohol. But at the heart of it all, that impressive (and irritating) sound comes from tissues relaxing and closing off airways.
Sometimes it’s an innocent bit of noise, but other times it’s life-threatening, as can be the case with obstructive sleep apnea.
Whatever the root cause, people have prescribed side-sleeping as a snoring remedy for a long time. This is why reduced snoring can be another body pillow health benefit.
When you lay on your back, the muscles and tissues in your face, neck, and inside your throat relax. If it gets bad enough, they’ll start to restrict the airway. Sleeping on your side can improve the situation, and as the previously mentioned study found, body pillows can help keep you there.
If you’re someone who snores – whatever the cause – you might want to try one out for you (and your loved ones’) comfort.
7. Facilitates Digestion
Just as sleeping on your back can put pressure on the airways, it can also create pressure on the gut. And while you may already be avoiding food before bed for the sake of sleep, there’s still that chicken parm from dinner to keep your stomach busy.
Staying on your side with a body pillow can assist with digestion, particularly if you sleep on your left side where your stomach is. As your spine and airways open up from sleeping on your side, so will your digestive tract.
8. Aids Blood Circulation
Ever woken up in the morning and felt like one of your limbs went missing?
As long as you’re not the subject of a true-life crime drama, the next part of your morning probably involves you slowly getting the feeling back in that limb, followed by a sensation similar to pins and needles.
For many side-sleepers, this is a common story. Sleeping on your side can cut off circulation to different parts of your body, and while it’s usually not overly dangerous, it’s not something many people enjoy.
By opening up the hips and giving the legs and arms something to rest on, body pillows can help increase circulation. Less pins and needles, more peaceful dreaming.
9. Helps With Pregnancy Safety
The benefits of sleeping with a body pillow can be helpful for another major category of side sleepers – pregnant people.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, “The best sleep position during pregnancy is “SOS” (sleep on side) because it provides the best circulation for you and your baby.”
The potential benefits listed include:
- Less pressure on veins and organs
- Increased blood and nutrients for placenta and baby
- Reduced hemorrhoids and swelling in legs
However, sleeping in any position can be a challenge when you’re carrying another life, and that’s where a body pillow can help.
Full U-shaped pillows that support the front and back are common, but many people use other shapes like straight or even wedge pillows. Find whatever works to support the two of you.
10. Helps With Pregnancy-Related Pains
Taking care of you and your little one’s safety is the top priority, but there are other reasons for pregnant people to give body pillows a try.
Pain in different parts of the body like the lower back and hips can start to crop up in the mid to late stages of pregnancy. Sleeping with that pain can be difficult.
Thankfully, the same benefits that apply to a non-pregnant body can apply to a pregnant one, too. By offering a resting spot for limbs and belly, a body pillow can help to keep the hips and shoulders open and alleviate the strain from carrying extra weight.
Pregnancy pillows have been supporting parents and babies for a long time: a study from 1989 found that wedge pillows were more effective than regular hospital pillows at relieving back pain. Nowadays, there are even more pillow options out there. You can choose from longer pillows of many different shapes to find the best support system for your body. You can even find a variety of removable, washable body pillow covers. These help keep your pillow fresh among the joyful mess that often accompanies newborns
11. Psychological Benefits
If you’re someone who sleeps best while snuggling you might want to try a body pillow.
Theories on why it feels so good to wrap your arms around a plushy pillow vary – it might come down to oxytocin release or simply decreased loneliness. However, scientific studies haven’t sufficiently tested the waters to say for sure.
Whatever the case, many people find comfort in bringing a big pillow to bed with them.
A body pillow like the Cuddler can provide a variety of benefits to anyone, from side sleepers to pregnant people to people dealing with pain. The support they give prevents issues with the hips, back, and shoulders, and in turn facilitates higher quality sleep.