Getting comfortable before checking in for the night can be tough sometimes. You might find yourself tossing and turning for hours trying to find the perfect position to sleep in, but nothing seems to work in the end. To add onto your problems, any back, hip, shoulder, or neck pains you have may also contribute to a night of restless sleep.
If you’re looking for a way to fall asleep quicker and add some comfort to your slumber, then try sleeping with a body pillow. Body pillows, like the bamboo ones from SnugglePedic, are great because they provide extra support to help you sleep better and even come with a range of health benefits. But for those of us who have never used a body pillow before, you might be asking yourselves things like: “What is a body pillow?”, “What are body pillows used for?”, “Is sleeping with a body pillow good for you?” or “How do you sleep with a body pillow?” To answer some of the questions you may have, we’ve outlined some basic information about this special type of pillow. Let’s dive in!
What is a Body Pillow?
A body pillow is a long and narrow pillow that people place between their legs or knees when they sleep to add comfort. While body pillows are soft and plush, they’re firm enough to support your back, arms, legs, hips, and shoulders. Initially, they were commonly used by pregnant women, but they’re now more widely used since they provide the full-body support that some regular pillows or mattresses fail to give. So whether you’re looking for extra comfort (especially if you’re pregnant), simple pain relief at night, or just something to hug when you sleep, using a body pillow is the way to go.
Benefits of Sleeping with a Body Pillow
If you’re wondering if it’s good to sleep with a body pillow, the short answer is yes! As we mentioned earlier, this type of pillow can be used for various reasons to help you get comfortable and sleep better at night. In addition, below are some body pillow benefits that you’ll find useful in learning how to improve the quality of your slumber.
Relieves Body Pressure and Pain
Sleeping in a supine position maximizes the amount of pressure on your body. And if your mattress isn’t supportive enough or is too firm, it’s easy to aggravate pressure points and trigger pain and discomfort in certain body areas, such as your hips, back, shoulders, and arms. Your body therefore shifts and twists to find the ideal sleeping position which might only lead to further pain and soreness, especially if you have conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia.
Using a body pillow will provide the extra support you need to help alleviate any pressure and prevent soreness. And for all the side sleepers, placing a body pillow between your knees or legs will keep you in a comfortable sleeping position by supporting your hips which have sensitive pressure points.
Promotes Spinal Alignment
When you twist your body to find the perfect position to sleep in, your spinal alignment becomes improper. Such misalignment and incorrect sleeping posture leads to excess pressure on your shoulders, arms, back, and hips (especially if you sleep on your side). As a result, you might wake up feeling numb or sore in these areas of your body. In fact, people who have wide shoulders are more likely to experience these issues.
However, using a body pillow will keep you properly aligned, correct your sleeping posture, and distribute your weight evenly so you can avoid the aches and pains.
Did you know that snoring and sleep apnea are worse when you sleep on your back? In fact, sleep apnea can become serious since it repeatedly stops your breathing throughout the night. However, body pillows help to reduce snoring and relieve symptoms of sleep apnea — such as obstructed breathing, coughing, and dry mouth — by elevating your upper body and encouraging you to sleep on your side rather than your back.
A poor sleeping posture can lead to reduced or restricted blood circulation. However, sleeping with a body pillow keeps you properly aligned and supported so your blood can flow freely, leaving you feeling comfortable and ready for slumber.
Do body pillows help with anxiety? According to this article, our bodies release the “trust hormone” oxytocin when we hug. Oxytocin acts as a stress-reliever and is known to improve memory, lower anxiety, and reduce blood pressure. This means that hugging a body pillow as you sleep can help decrease your anxiety levels since you’ll feel a sense of safety, comfort, and relief from any worrying or stressful thoughts.
How to Sleep with a Body Pillow
Body pillows come in different shapes to accommodate various needs, bed sizes, and body types: rectangular, cylindrical, U-shaped, C-shaped, and J-shaped. Knowing how to use your body pillow properly is the key to getting a comfortable and relaxing night of sleep.
- Rectangular: Rectangular full-body pillows like SnugglePedic’s are great for reducing shoulder pressure and maintaining correct spinal alignment. To use this type of pillow, simply wrap your arm around it and place the pillow between your knees. However, avoid placing your entire leg on the pillow as this can cause back pain.
- Cylindrical: Cylindrical body pillows also relieve shoulder pressure and are a good option if you don’t have much bed space. Using this type of pillow is also easy; all you need to do is wrap your arm around the pillow and place it between your knees.
- U-shaped: U-shaped body pillows are also used as pregnancy pillows and are popular among pregnant women since they prevent users from rolling on their backs when sleeping. During pregnancy, side sleeping is ideal since it improves blood circulation and reduces back pain, so these pillows are great for back, head, and neck support. To use this type of pillow, hug one of the arms while placing your head on the curve of the U. The other side of the pillow will support your back and prevent you from sleeping on it.
- C-shaped: C-shaped body pillows require less space than U-shaped ones and are commonly used by side sleepers for front and back support. You can use this type of pillow by positioning the curve of the C toward your back and tucking the bottom end between your thighs. This way, your thighs will be supported by the bottom end while your neck and head will be supported by the top end.
- J-shaped: J-shaped body pillows are also commonly used as pregnancy pillows and provide head, neck, and back support. However, they don’t take up as much space as U-shaped pillows, so they’re a better option if you have a smaller mattress. To use this type of pillow, rest your head on the curved end and place the straight end in between your legs.
Sleeping with a Body Pillow: Final Thoughts
Choosing the right body pillow for yourself can be a little overwhelming. For starters, it’s good to have an idea of what size you need; using a larger pillow can take up too much bed space while a smaller one might not give you adequate body support. In addition, you should know the kinds of benefits you want to get out of your pillow so you can maximize the amount of quality sleep you get. At the end of the day, the important thing to remember is that the perfect body-supporting pillow is the one that tailors to your needs!
Contributing Writer: Rebecca Lee