What are Body Pillows?

October 09, 2023 6 min read

If you need your entire body to be supported while you are sleeping, the use of a body pillow can ensure this. Most body pillows are rectangular, but you can also get body pillows that have other shapes. Pregnant women, sufferers of chronic pain, and side sleepers are among the people with whom body pillows are the most popular.

Body Pillows Can Enhance the Quality of Sleep

If you need your entire body to be supported while you are sleeping, the use of a body pillow can ensure this. Most body pillows are rectangular, but you can also get body pillows that have other shapes. Pregnant women, sufferers of chronic pain, and side sleepers are among the people with whom body pillows are the most popular.

Physical and mental health requires that you have a night of quality sleep. Body pillows are not pleasant to look at at first, but the whole purpose of using a  body pillow is that it can help you be more comfortable while sleeping, make your sleep more profound, and give you relief from pain.

Shapes of Body Pillows

Standard body pillows come in 20 inches width and 54 inches length, but they may come in different shapes that support sleepers at various levels.

Rectangle: Most bedding retailers will be able to sell you rectangular body pillows that are long and narrow. This rectangular body pillow is one that you hug while you place it between your knees. Turn it horizontally, and it will serve as a long pillow for you to set your head-on.


Cylinder body pillows are thick, long, and round. The cylinder pillows can be decorative if you have the correct pillow sham to make your body pillow look better.


These are long rectangular pillows with a second arm to put under your head or position between your knees. These two arms are often identical, though some pillows can have one arm longer than the other.


These pillows look like a hook or candy cane, as their two arms are of different sizes. You can either hug the long arm and put the curved portion between your legs or reverse positions.


These are pillows that can support the entire body. A curved cushion connects their two long arms. You get full body support if you lie between the two arms that will give you this support.


These pillows have two hooks that can support your legs and arms. They are like the U-shaped pillows as they support the body entirely, but they are often smaller and can fit on small beds.

Body Fills

Body pillow fills are a personal choice, but fill can affect the price, breathability, and feel.

Memory Foam

These pillows filled with memory foam will conform to your body’s curves and help relieve pressure, and aid in relaxation while asleep. This foam comes in two distinct forms: Solid and Shredded. Solid foam is stiff and firm, while shredded memory foam has some malleability. Shredded memory foam pillows will require occasional fluffing, while solid foam pillows will not.


Latex is obtained from the sap of rubber trees and is a natural product used for latex body pillows. These pillows are soft and bouncy, will not flatten quickly. Flattening can make them ineffective. It is a fill that is non-toxic and hypoallergenic and leaves your home safe.


Soft feathers found on the belly of ducks or geese make up this popular fill. This fill remains soft and fluffy while remaining durable and breathable.

Down does, however, trap dust and may not be suitable for you if you are suffering from allergies. It also cannot give you the support you require for pressure relief, which you will get from foam pillow fills.

Alternative to Down

Some polyester fills to serve as an alternative to down. It’s a down alternative as it will feel similar to down but also does not cause allergies and costs less. It is, however, not durable and may require replacement sooner than other types of fill.

Who Should Use Body Pillows?

If you suffer from chronic pain, are just recovering from surgery, or have sleep apnea, use a body pillow. It is an excellent pillow for pregnant women.

You don’t need to have a health condition for the use of these pillows. These pillows bring a  lot of comfort to side sleepers by relieving pressure.

Side Sleepers

The use of body pillows enhances side sleeping benefits as they relieve pressure and pain. A body pillow placed between your knees aligns your spine and hips, which minimizes the risk of stiffness or lower back pain. Most side sleepers will benefit most from medium-firm body pillows and have a 5 to 6 inches mid-loft.

Side sleeping is a healthy position to sleep in and can help with sleep apnea, snoring, or acid reflux.

Pregnant Women

Body pillows are often called pregnancy pillows and marketed as such because they bring pregnant women many benefits.

A pregnant woman will often suffer from heartburn, acid reflux, lower back pain, and poor circulation. The use of a body pillow can give relief from these issues and make it easier for her to sleep comfortably on her side, a position that is considered very safe for pregnant women.

The use of body pillows also benefits post-pregnancy. They  make for a comfortable seat when you need to breastfeed your baby, especially if your body pillows are C, or U shaped

Sufferers of Sleep Apnea

A person with blocked airways that then leads to breathing starting and stopping at various intervals suffers from a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea.

Side sleeping benefits both obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, as the jaw and tongue do not obstruct the airways. A body pillow gives a high loft that allows the sleeper to sleep with the head held high, thus making sure that the airways stay open.

Sufferers of Joint and Muscular Pain

Suppose you have a constant struggle with back pain, arthritis, or fibromyalgia. Then the pressure on the joints can be relieved with the full body support that body pillows will give you.

If you side sleeps, a comfortable body pillow will correct your positioning and give you better posture, alleviating muscle and joint pain. Body pillow for back pain must be soft and have a low loft of not more than 5 inches.

Post-op Patients

If you have had surgery for knee or hip replacement, using a body pillow can make healing easier and more comfortable. You will be free of pain with the extra support that a body pillow will give you.


Are body pillows comfortable?

Yes, they are. These pillows act as a sleep aid, as their design allows more comfortable sleep and reduces body pain and aches. However, the larger body pillows that are J,U, or C shaped may make you feel trapped in your bed.

Are they suitable for stomach or back sleepers?

Sleepers who sleep in these modes may not gain many benefits from these otherwise versatile pillows.

Stomach sleepers must use a body pillow under the hips to reduce the tension in their back. Back sleepers should elevate their legs using body pillows, something which they can also do with a standard pillow.

What is a body pillow cover?

These pillow covers are made of fabric. Using a pillowcase or cover for your body pillow will keep it clean from the effect of sweat, oils, and dust. The pillow will also last longer because you do not have to wash as often.

Are they worth the price?

These pillows are more expensive than standard pillows, but they are larger and bring in many benefits. They support your head and your entire body and can help in the easing of joint and back pain and prevent the chafing of your knees.

Do you hug your pillow at night?

It is entirely normal to hug your pillow at night, and most of us enjoy that. In a way, it gives you the same neurological reaction that you would get from hugging another person.

The act of hugging releases a hormone called oxytocin related to positive thinking, trust, and love. So the hugging of a body pillow can help you feel protected and safe, thus allowing you to sleep well.