Last updated on October 11th, 2018
Using a body pillow to sleep is an excellent way to help alleviate aches and pains and support more of the body. The best body pillows on the market help cradle your pressure points and keep your spine in proper alignment throughout the night.
We’ve assembled our top four body pillows on the market today that we feel best help the greatest number of sleepers. We’ll also be breaking down why a body pillow may be right for you, as well as several considerations to make before purchasing your first one.
In a Hurry? Check out the editor’s choice for the best body pillow: Snuggle-Pedic Full Body
Why a Body Pillow?
Body pillows are often highly recommended but seldom seen as commonplace in the bedroom. Why is that?
Most sleepers either grew up using a single head pillow or aren’t used to the feeling of support throughout the body. Unfortunately, many people who sleep with just their head pillow are only continuing to suffer from unnecessary pain.
Not all mattresses are created equally. Many people may sleep on firm mattresses that irritate pressure points or use plush mattresses that fail to support the back and spine. Using a body pillow takes away the guessing game and affords both support and comfort.
Body pillows are also highly recommended for pregnant women. Maintaining proper alignment is crucial for encouraging blood flow to the womb, and late-term pregnancies are often too uncomfortable to continue sleeping on the back. Using a body pillow when pregnant will keep you and your child supported throughout the night.
Body Pillow & Pain Relief
Aside from support and comfort, pain relief is another strong selling point for this type of pillow. Body pillows can help you enter a more comfortable position in the night—thus lowering your overall need to find a new sleeping position.
Less tossing and turning in the night will allow your body to relax and heal in a position that keeps the diaphragm open and the legs aligned.
For Neck Pain
Neck pain is commonly reported from side sleepers and stomach sleepers. Side sleepers using an ineffective head pillow will notice their head either forced upward by a thick pillow or bending downward to meet a thin pillow.
Body pillows (especially those designed with a curve) keep the neck in proper alignment. For stomach sleepers that need the feeling of support on their stomach, body pillows can also help you straighten your neck and shift to a side sleeping position without sacrificing support.
For Hip Pain
Hip pain is most commonly reported by side sleepers. The side sleeping position is known to be effective for maintaining spinal alignment but often forces the legs and hips to hyperextend to fall flat onto the mattress.
Body pillows can be situated in between the legs, just like knee pillows, to keep the hips in a neutral position and relieve the pain felt from torsion. The pressure is removed from the joints, and the body no longer feels the need to constantly adjust in the night.
For Back Pain
Back pain can be felt from all sleeping positions and occurs when the spinal column is forced out of neutral alignment by larger pillows or a contorted sleeping position.
Clinging to a body pillow opens up the back. Since these pillows are long enough to hold and support the lower body, the spinal column remains straight. While spinal contortion can be felt by most positions, this is especially important to stomach sleepers.
Since your head is no longer forced to the side for air, stomach sleepers can comfortably breathe, support their stomach, and keep their spines in alignment simultaneously.
Body Pillows & Sleeping Positions
While there are three or more distinct ways of sleeping with a head pillow, sleeping with a body pillow is usually rather universal. Body pillows most commonly come in “I” or “C” shapes and are designed to be held close to you.
To use a body pillow, place the pillow in bed with you on the side you wish to keep on the bed. Next, turn to your side and rest your head on the top of the pillow. Your arms will go above and below the pillow, which will pull the thickest part of the pillow towards your chest.
The lower half of the body pillow is designed to slip in between your legs to open up your hips and release tension from the lower spine. The final position should look something like a side sleeping position, or a fetal sleeping position.
While this is essentially the only way to sleep with a standard body pillow, there are other variants you can seek out that are better for other types of sleepers. Be sure to consider how you best sleep and how a body pillow can improve rest before making a purchase.
Best Body Pillows
Snuggle-Pedic Full Body – Editor’s Choice
Anyone who knows and loves the comfort and support of a shredded memory foam pillow should consider the Snuggle-Pedic Full body pillow.
Snuggle-Pedic’s take on the body pillow uses a micro-vented bamboo cover and features filling that can be easily manipulated to support different sections of the body. At 54 inches, this pillow runs about the width of a full-sized bed and will fit sleepers of most heights.
As with other memory foam pillows, you may experience some off-gassing in the first few days. However, most pillows lose their scent quickly, and you can feel protected by the 120-night refund period.
Beyond this, the Snuggle-Pedic body pillow features one of the longest warranties we’ve ever seen on a body pillow. Their 20-year warranty will ensure your sleep for what is essentially the lifetime of the pillow.
For those reasons and many more, the Snuggle-Pedic body pillow is our Editor’s Choice. We recommend the Snuggle-Pedic body pillow as a good all-around body pillow that will last for years to come.
- Great for all sleeping positions
- Comprehensive Warranty
- Plush design & premium cover
- Off-gassing can be a problem
- Too thick for some sleepers
- Somewhat expensive
Coop Home Goods Body – Best For Side Sleepers
Coop Home Goods constantly produces pillows designed for specific body times, and with their body pillow, the company seems to aim for side sleepers exclusively.
The Coop Home Goods body pillow, much like the Snuggle-Pedic, uses shredded memory foam technology that gives the support of foam with the adjustability of polyester. However, they’ve got a feature many memory foam pillows lack.
The Coop Home Goods body pillow is both hypoallergenic and machine washable. If you’re experiencing issues with scent or dirt, simply put the whole pillow through a cycle and enjoy a fresh, dry pillow at the end of the day.
Despite its status as an I-shaped pillow, the Coop Home Goods body pillow is surprisingly flexible. Side sleepers can bend the top of the pillow forward to double as a head pillow, or the lower half back to support the legs and hips.
We highly recommend this body pillow for customers with allergies and side sleepers. Coming in at roughly the same price as the Snuggle-Pedic and with a 100-day refund period, there’s little reason not to consider this washable option.
- Great for side sleepers
- Flexible design
- Machine washable
- Somewhat thin
- Can be lumpy
- Off-gassing can be a problem
Snoogle Total Body Pillow – Best For Pregnancy
I-shaped body pillows are great for side sleepers or back sleepers, but if you’re pregnant, they can lack proper support for your belly. The Snoogle Total body pillow eliminates that concern with a unique design.
The Snoogle Total body pillow is a C-shaped body pillow with a thinner frame, and stronger support from it’s filling. This pillow snakes around the body, supporting the head, preventing the back from rolling over, and most importantly, tapering down near the belly.
With pregnant women, too much support near the belly will put a strain on the back and misalign the spine. The C-shape gives support without pushing on the belly—which is why the Snoogle Total Body pillow is our top recommended pillow for pregnancies.
Despite the odd shape, the cover of this pillow is completely removable and machine washable. The C-shape is also malleable enough to be contorted to fit your needs, instead of the other way around.
We recommend the Snoogle Total body pillow for pregnant women, or anyone who’s looking for a completely encompassing pillow option.
- Wrap-around design great for pregnant women
- Included replaceable pillow cover
- Remains cool at night
- Can be too firm for some
- Doesn’t work for back and stomach sleepers
- Can take up too much room
Utopia Bedding Ultra Soft – Best Value
Body pillows generally run on the expensive size when compared to head pillows due to their added size and unique shapes. Utopia Bedding’s Ultra Soft body pillow challenges that notion and provides a body pillow that won’t break the bank.
This polyester and cotton body pillow is still the same size as the similarly-shaped Snuggle-Pedic or Coop Home Goods pillow, but comes in a more affordable and fully machine washable package.
This flexible body pillow will match the natural contours of your sleeping position, and remains flexible enough to be used in a variety of different orientations.
There are no extended warranties or adjustable filling with this product, but the public perception remains high, and no recurring issues seem to be reported.
We recommend Utopia Bedding’s Ultra Soft pillow for stomach and back sleepers, as well as anyone who may be skeptical of the value of a body pillow for sleep. The price to pick up this product is low, but the value it brings may be higher than you expected.
- Best body pillow for the price
- Good for stomach and back sleepers
- Plush design
- Can be too firm for some
- Lackluster cover quality
- Can be lumpy
How Do I Wash a Body Pillow?
However, most pillows come with machine-washable covers to keep your pillow smelling and feeling fresh.
How Do I Use a Body Pillow?
This position will look somewhat like spooning a partner and will keep the diaphragm open while supporting pressure points and relieving going pain.
How Big is a Body Pillow?
Or in other words, a body pillow is about the length of two and one half head pillows and the width of one.
Tips For Choosing the Right Pillow
While we stand behind these four body pillows, we also know that everyone sleeps differently. Some body pillows are going be better for specific types of sleepers.
For example, I-shaped pillows are best for stomach sleepers and certain back sleepers. They can be pulled into different supportive shapes, but generally, are designed to keep the legs open and diaphragm clear.
C-shaped pillows don’t perform as well when it comes to relieving hip support, but their lower profile makes them excellent choices for pregnant women. The all-around design also makes them likely candidates for people who tend to roll onto their back in the night.
Otherwise, you’ll want to consider the same factors you would with a head pillow. Are you sensitive to off-gassing? How often do you want to wash your pillow? Do you enjoy machine washable pillows?
These questions and their answers will steer you towards the best body pillow for you.
We generally feel like each of these top four body pillows will appeal to certain types of sleepers.
If you know you love the feel of a body pillow and want the strongest option out there, the Snuggle-Pedic is our best all-around pick. Value-seekers and first-time users will want to stick with the Utopia Bedding Ultra Soft.
Side sleepers are best suited for the malleability of the Coop Home Goods body pillow, and only pregnant or especially active in the night should stick with the Snoogle Total body pillow.
As always, do your research and consider the tips we’ve outlined in our guide here. We’re confident you’ll pick the right choice for your next or first body pillow. Once you’ve found the pillow for you, you’ll never go back.
Efrain is a culture and lifestyle writer from Atlanta. He loves indie music, minimalism, and helping people get a better night’s rest.