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Voted The UK's Best Pillow For Neck Pain

300,000+ Happy Customers

Body Pillows: What Are They & Are They Any Good?

95% of adults lose at least one hour of sleep because of pain in a given week (Suni, 2023). So, if you wake up feeling sore or cranky, you’re not the only one. However, you don’t have to endure nighttime aches and pains.

A common solution to poor sleep is a body pillow. These sleep aides are everywhere, but if you haven’t used one before, you might be unsure whether they actually work or simply take up more mattress space.

In this article, we’re exploring what body pillows are used for, whether there are any proven benefits, and whether they have a psychological effect. Scroll down to get the lowdown now.

What Is a Body Pillow?

If you’ve clicked on this page, you’re likely wondering, ‘What is a body pillow?

Sleep experts define a body pillow as a long pillow that you hug or cradle while you sleep. They’re mainly used by side sleepers.

Unlike normal pillows, these pillows are designed to flow down your body and not just under your head and neck. They come in many different shapes but are typically narrow and filled with specialised materials like memory foam to promote more comfortable sleep.

Some body pillows have ‘bumps’ or unique ergonomic shapes. You can also find body pillows with a slightly curved shape. These different forms offer extra support for all body shapes and conditions. You can also find body pillows designed for pregnancy.

What Are Body Pillows Used For?

Body pillows can be used to target a range of sleep complaints and conditions. Alongside extra comfort, here are the main things body pillows are used for:

1. Support

Body pillows provide full body support all the way from your neck and shoulders to your ankles. The pillow takes extra pressure and strain off your joints and pressure points, leading to less pain and a deeper sleep.

2. Pain Relief

Body pillows can help relieve neck or back pain, allowing you to wake up without feeling sore. They take pressure off problem areas and align your spine—but more about alignment below.

3. Pregnancy

Long body pillows can be a lifesaver in the third trimester, as they make sleeping on your side with a bump more comfortable. In addition to belly support, they cradle your legs and head without extra pillows.

This results in better sleep, and less risk of pregnancy complications caused by a lack of sleep, such as preeclampsia, longer labours, and gestational diabetes (Johns Hopkins Medicine, n.d.).

4. Surgery Recovery

Some surgeries require sleeping in a specific position to help your body heal faster. This is common after a hip or knee replacement. You can use a body pillow to sleep in a posture that takes pressure off your surgical site.

5. Sleeping Posture

If your go-to sleeping position is lateral or on your side, a body pillow can help you maintain a healthy sleep posture. Rather than twisting your neck or spine, a body pillow keeps your torso and legs aligned.

Research has shown that a body pillow can extend the time in a healthy side sleeping position and lead to fewer sleep disruptions (Park et al., 2021).

Benefits of Using a Body Pillow

Body pillows help tackle the issues above, but that’s not their only advantage. There are plenty of other benefits to using a body pillow, and we’ve noted the most important benefits below.

  • Better sleep quality — Body pillows reduce disruption to slow-wave sleep cycles (Park et al., 2021). These cycles last for 70 to 90 minutes and are essential as they involve a growth hormone release (Reinoso Suarez, 1999). This helps us heal and function in the day.
  • Less tossing and turning — Tossing and turning, or fragmented sleep, causes decreased sleep quality (Hirata et al., 2020). Body pillows can lessen this due to extra comfort and support.
  • Reduces pain and stiffness — Body pillows target back and neck pain by improving your sleep posture and spinal alignment.
  • Better posture — Studies hint that poor sleep posture can lead to poor posture in daily life (Cary, Jacques and Briffa, 2021). Since body pillows improve your sleep posture, frequent use can lead to you standing taller during the day.
  • Versatile use — Body pillows aren’t just for bedtime. You can also use them while watching TV, reading, or to keep you comfortable on the sofa.

What Is the Psychology Behind Body Pillows?

Many users feel more comfortable and safe while hugging a body pillow, leading to a better quality of sleep and less stress or anxiety while falling asleep.

Studies have revealed that psychological stress and everyday worries can decrease sleep quality (Kim and Dimsdale, 2007). Like a child hugging a soft toy, body pillows can help adults push away stress and achieve a more restful sleep.

How To Choose the Right Body Pillow

Body pillows come in all shapes and sizes. Finding the one that suits you involves more than buying the first one that pops up.

Instead, you should consider whether you need a specialised pillow (e.g., a pregnancy one) or if you can use a more general option. You should also consider the type of materials inside the pillow, whether they offer extra support, and how long the pillow is. Some may even want to look at the pillow’s cover material and washability.

Different Types of Body Pillow

It’s helpful to know the different types of body pillows before you shop. These can be made from memory foam, polyester, or down.

Body pillow shapes are usually defined by letters. The main shapes include:

  • I-shaped pillows
  • J-shaped pillows
  • U-shaped pillows
  • C-shaped pillows

The I-shape is the most common form, as this and can suit most needs. However, curved C-shaped pillows can provide extra support, as the pillow follows the body’s natural contours.

The Groove Body Pillow is a full-length orthopaedic memory foam design that soothes muscles and joint stiffness while promoting a healthy sleep posture. It’s also 100% adjustable, allowing you to remove or add foam for your desired level of firmness.

Conclusion

The benefits of a body pillow are verified and plentiful. Whether you’re looking to reduce hip pain or pregnancy discomfort or simply want better sleep quality, this long pillow can improve your nighttime routine.

Enjoy a new level of comfort today with the Groove Body Pillow. All customers receive a 100-day and night guarantee. You’ll receive a full refund if your sleep doesn’t improve.

Learn more about Groove Pillows today.

References

  • Cary, D., Jacques, A. and Briffa, K. (2021). Examining relationships between sleep posture, waking spinal symptoms and quality of sleep: A cross sectional study. PLOS ONE, 16(11), p.e0260582. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0260582.
  • Hirata, R.P., Dala Pola, D.C., Schneider, L.P., Bertoche, M.P., Furlanetto, K.C., Hernandes, N.A., Mesas, A.E. and Pitta, F. (2020). Tossing and turning: association of sleep quantity–quality with physical activity in COPD. ERJ Open Research, 6(4), pp.00370-2020. doi:https://doi.org/10.1183/23120541.00370-2020.
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine  (n.d.). Get a Good Night’s Sleep During Pregnancy. [online] Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/staying-healthy-during-pregnancy/get-a-good-nights-sleep-during-pregnancy.
  • Kim, E.-J. and Dimsdale, J.E. (2007). The Effect of Psychosocial Stress on Sleep: A Review of Polysomnographic Evidence. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, [online] 5(4), pp.256–278. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/15402000701557383.
  • Park, I., Suzuki, C., Suzuki, Y., Kawana, F., Yajima, K., Fukusumi, S., Kokubo, T., Tokuyama, K., Yanagisawa, M. and Satoh, M. (2021). Effects of Body Pillow Use on Sleeping Posture and Sleep Architecture in Healthy Young Adults. Sleep Medicine Research, 12(1), pp.57–63. doi:https://doi.org/10.17241/smr.2021.00878.
  • Reinoso Suárez, F. (1999). [The neurobiology of slow-wave sleep]. Anales De La Real Academia Nacional De Medicina, [online] 116(1), pp.209–224; discussion 224-226. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10554397/#:~:text=Slow%20wave%20sleep%20usually%20lasts.
  • Suni, E. (2023). Sleep Statistics. [online] Sleep Foundation. Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/sleep-facts-statistics.