When you think of using a body pillow while sleeping, consider it a luxury accessory item for bedtime. At first glance, plush body pillows appear to be oversized, cushy pillows that offer more than enough comfort. Realistically, body pillows provide more than you realize, offering much-needed support and an improved sleep experience.
If you’re new to body pillows, you may initially consider them best for side sleepers, though you’ll find many ways to adapt them to fit your sleeping positions and preferences. While the traditional shape of a body pillow is rectangular, various shapes, sizes, and positions can be used to improve sleep quality.
Different Pillow Shapes and Positions
The most common body pillow shapes are the “I” and “J,” which are often used in a side sleeping position. The I shaped body pillow is most commonly used as a pregnancy pillow, where you place one end between your knees and hug the upper part with your arms while sleeping on one side.
You can also sleep comfortably in this position with a J shaped pillow or large, body-sized cushion. Two other two common shapes include the “C” and “U” shaped pillows, which offer extended comfort for various sleeping positions and individual needs.
Regardless of shape, larger pillows offer more support for the back, hip, and joints to sleep comfortably and easily throughout the night. It’s also important to minimize the use of extra pillows and bedding during the night to allow easy movement to change positions if needed.
What You’ll Need to Sleep With a Body Pillow
Before you invest in a body pillow, it’s important to have a queen or king-sized bed, as a full-body pillow can take up a significant amount of space. You’ll also want plenty of room to change positions to experiment with which side is best for comfort and support.
A good quality mattress, a well-ventilated room, and good sleep hygiene are all essential components in getting the most out of your memory foam pillow.
Is it Best to Sleep on the Right or Left Side?
If you prefer sleeping on your side, switch between the left and right. Sleeping on your left side helps aid digestion, which is ideal if you eat shortly before bedtime.
Your stomach is toward the left side of your body, so when you lay in this position, you might find more comfort. Additionally, choosing one side or the other can bring pressure relief after a strained muscle or injury.
While stomach sleepers may find these pillows more challenging to use, it’s relatively easy to get used to choosing a side position that works best with your body. Sleeping in a fetal sleep position with a sturdy mattress can alleviate neck and back pain and aid with proper spinal alignment.
If you prefer sleeping on your back, you can evenly distribute the “C” or “U” shaped pillow and sleep in the middle, using each side of the “C” to support each arm and side of your body.
How to Sleep With an I Shaped Body Pillow
An I shaped pillow is the perfect oversized cushion for hugging, sleeping in the fetal position, and relieving chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain. It’s also a great pillow for supporting the spine and is more adaptable for smaller beds.
It’s the ultimate size and shape for hugging and can fit well on more bed sizes than the more extended “U” and “C” pillows. It’s ideal for providing adequate support between your knees, which can alleviate hip joint pain and provide support when sleeping on your left or right side.
These body pillows are available in both thin and thick varieties and tend to be less expensive than other oversized pillow shapes.
Sleeping With a J or C Shaped Body Pillow
One of the most vital features offered by both the J and C shaped body pillow is a hybrid style between the I and U shaped pillows. The extra curve added to a J pillow offers extra support for your neck and head while providing a cushioning length for your knees to help keep your spine, hips, and lower body comfortable during sleep.
These specific pillow shapes are versatile for various side sleeping positions, though they require more space and a larger bed size than an I shaped pillow.
Choosing the U Shaped Pillow
If you prefer to sleep on your back instead of side sleeping, a U shaped pillow is the best option. Since it’s among the largest of body pillows, you’ll need a larger bed, preferably a queen or king, to accommodate this cushion and to ensure more comfortable sleep.
This pillow allows for more positions so you can switch between each side and your back based on your preferences and needs.
Body Pillow Materials
When choosing a body pillow for your bed, selecting a reputable brand with natural or organic materials is important. When you consider how many hours you spend sleeping each night, choosing a comfortable body pillow is essential in keeping you feeling protected and safe.
While some fabrics may seem cozy at first, even if they blend various materials, wool or cotton are among the best choices for your skin.
Important Tips for Sleeping With a Body Pillow
If you’re new to using a body pillow, you’ll want to get the most out of it by using it consistently and adjusting your position to improve your sleep.
It’s essential to ensure that you choose the right shape and size pillow for your body, whether you’re looking for a C shaped pregnancy pillow or full body support for chronic pain or back strain.
The following tips can help you get the most out of your new body-sized cushion:
- Make sure that the position you choose gives you adequate neck and back support so you can simultaneously hug and position yourself comfortably. This technique will reduce any stress on the body while you sleep so that you don’t wake up with strain or discomfort.
- Use the body pillow every night, as consistency will give you the greatest advantages of using it. When you only use it occasionally, or every other night, you’ll miss out on vital support that can prevent and improve mobility and reduce pain or discomfort during the day.
- Suppose a specific position gives you more pain than support. In that case, it’s best to change positions and ask a medical professional if there may be an underlying condition or reason for this.
- Always cover the pillow using a quality pillowcase to preserve the quality of the fabric. It’s easier to keep it clean, and using natural materials as a cover provides a good cushion for your skin with less risk of irritation.
- Choose a body pillow that’s easy to maintain, wash, and dry so that you can use it for longer. While large pillows are a fantastic way to improve your sleep and a great investment, they can be expensive and should be cared for properly to get the most out of their use.
There are many types of body pillows to choose from, which can range in price drastically. If you’re unsure which option is best for you, it’s ideal to consider the size of your bed, what you’ll use the pillow for, and the level of full body support you need.
Suppose you have a chronic sleeping disorder, such as sleep apnea, or a similar condition that requires ongoing treatment. In that case, it’s best to consult with your physician before investing in a new pillow.
When you’re ready to try a large body pillow, you may first think of a large cushion as a means for exceptional comfort. While body pillows provide excellent support and aid in a good night’s rest, they also help improve your physical and mental health.
You’ll also enjoy your pillow more if it’s easy to maintain, clean, and use every night. Large body pillows of every shape aim to improve the quality of your sleep so you can enjoy greater productivity and focus during the day.