Do you ever wake up in the morning from a good night of sleep only to climb out of bed with creaky knees, sore hips, or nagging pain in your lower back? You’re not alone! It’s pretty common to experience physical discomfort related to your sleeping position. Depending on whether you sleep flat on your back, pinned to your side, or on your stomach like a starfish clinging to the ocean floor, your morning pains might be related to how you sleep. If you want to help alleviate pain that kicks off your day the wrong way, consider sleeping with a leg pillow or knee pillow. There are many proven benefits to sleeping with a support between your legs in a fairly similar way that your standard pillow supports your neck and head while you sleep. Here’s why you should start sleeping with a leg pillow.
For some reason, your human body is constantly under pressure that wears you down over time—why we’re like this, we’ll never know, but we like to alleviate discomfort where we can so we get the chance to live our lives to the fullest! Thanks to numerous studies on the best sleeping position, we know that sleeping on your side is the best option because of its numerous benefits, though it certainly helps to give yourself a little additional leg pillow support.
Sleeping Position Matters — Why You Should Sleep on Your Side
- Your spine’s naturally-occurring curvature gets necessary support that can help reduce neck and back pain. When you’re laying on your side, you don’t put as much pressure on your spine to align with anything other than your body’s natural shape, which makes it the best option for reducing lower back pain.
- Without your neck and throat tissue weighing against your esophagus (back sleepers, beware!), you can reduce your snoring and risk of developing sleep apnea.
- Sleeping on your side with a pillow that provides good neck support can help reduce neck strain, which is especially helpful if you’re prone to morning headaches.
Benefits of Sleeping with Pillow Between Legs
Unfortunately, there’s a slight downside to sleeping on your side: gravity weighs on your body and can make your knees rest against one another, putting unnecessary strain on your joints and hips. Using a leg pillow can help you avoid this discomfort by providing a few things:
Additional Comfort—use a leg pillow to eliminate the pressure of gravity pulling your knees together and ensure that your pelvic area and hips stay aligned. This is why they’re sometimes called a “knee pillow.” All the comfort, no more tossing and turning. And, if you fall asleep in a comfortable position, you’re more likely to sleep through the night.
Reduced Hip Stress—using a leg pillow can help prevent your hips from over-rotating and pushing your spine out of alignment. Of course, this happens over a long period of time, but if you sleep on your side without a leg pillow and wake up with hip soreness, you can nip it in the bud!
Reduced Snoring—if you have common breathing issues at night like snoring or sleep apnea, sleeping on your side with a leg pillow can help keep your airways unrestricted and your neck and throat aligned for proper breathing.
3 Different Types of Leg Pillows
Fortunately, no matter how you like to sleep, there’s a leg pillow that’ll suit your style of sleep. Because it’s so common to require a little extra cushion to get a full night of deep sleep, there are dozens of leg pillow companies vying for your attention (and comfort) across a variety of styles.
Leg Elevation Pillow—a leg elevation pillow is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a pillow that elevates your legs! These are used (almost) exclusively for back sleepers, as you place the large wedge of foam at the base of your hips so your legs are elevated above your heart. The leg elevation pillow has been shown to help with lower leg circulation, reduced swelling, and reduced lower back pain from sleeping. These are also sometimes referred to as a leg wedge pillow, because of their shape.
Knee Pillow—while you can always throw a normal pillow between your legs to alleviate hip pain as a side sleeper, a dedicated knee pillow might be just what the doctor ordered. Knee pillows are specially crafted to have a curved hourglass shape that allows them to fit comfortably between your legs without moving. Some even come with a handy comfortable strap to keep the pillow from getting kicked out of place in the middle of the night. Most popular knee pillows on the market today are made from a hearty memory foam.
Pregnancy Pillow—while not made exclusively as a leg pillow, the best pregnancy pillows tend to be larger than a leg pillow, wrapping around your whole body. The idea is to provide comfort to somebody pregnant who needs additional support for their tummy and legs during their most sensitive, uncomfortable months. If a standard leg pillow doesn’t quite do the trick, a pregnancy pillow can be a great alternative, providing leg, back, and hip support.
In Conclusion—We Adore Leg Pillows
The numerous benefits to using a leg pillow are clear as day! No matter what position you sleep in, you’re going to experience less physical discomfort like hip and joint strain as well as reduce swelling and improve circulation if you sleep with a pillow between your legs. Using a knee pillow to keep those patellas parted could be the key to getting a better, richer sleep experience, so you can wake up well-rested and raring to go. Take a closer look at how you sleep, pick a leg elevation pillow or knee pillow that works for you, and feel what a leg pillow can do for your sleep quality!