Every evening, we all look forward to slumming down the bed to get some well-deserved shut-eye after laboring all day. No matter how bad the day was, your bed is the one place you can unwind and leave all the troubles that followed your day.
But, when you wake up with little aches on your back and neck, sleeping loses the joy and excitement it usually has. Obviously, something is wrong, and your spine is probably not keeping that S-curve to give it balance and stability.
While the problem may lie in your mattress, that’s a subject for another day, you can use pillows to prop up your spine and improve your posture, hence helping you sleep better.
This is especially true if you sleep on your side. Interestingly, 74% of people sleep this way, but you may not know a little secret that would improve your rest. That is, having a pillow between your legs.
Benefits of sleeping with a pillow between your legs
Without proper support, sleeping on your side leaves your spine in a bent or twisted position, which is why you wake up with body aches.
It’s easy to relieve this pain with a pillow between your legs, but that’s not the only benefit you get from sleeping this way.
1. Promotes comfort and will reduce muscle tension and pressure
Think about the moment you go to sleep. Immediately you enter your bed, you pull up the covers and get ready to rest. Your knees, as if attracted by a magnet, automatically come together.
While there is nothing wrong with this, it can cause muscle tension, especially your lower back and hips. You see, your legs tend to pull from your spine, which means your natural s-curve is shifted and twisted.
But, by placing a pillow between your legs, you reduce the tension on your leg muscles since you prevent your legs from pulling together. Granted, this gives you a better night’s sleep, fewer aches, and undue stress on your back.
Remember, you sleep for at least 8 hours a night (hopefully), and you will spend a lot of time in one position, so take every precaution to wake up relaxed.
2. It reduces varicose veins and sciatica
We get it. You hate your varicose veins as much as the next person does. The bulging, twisted veins on your skin may not be the best site, and it may even come with aches around the affected area, swelling feet and ankles, persistent itching, change of skin color, and feeling of heaviness and tiredness.
This makes finding a sleeping position a challenge, and you may even be in agony as you try to find the best position. But, sleeping with a pillow between your legs, especially somewhere around the knees, helps alleviate the pressure on your back and hips.
This reduces the swelling in your lower back, which in turn allows you a good night’s sleep.
3. Improved blood circulation
When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you want to do is stretch and smile at the sun outside, but for some people, morning means pins and needles or numb legs.
Maybe you’ve experienced this as well, or perhaps it was the tingling sensation somewhere around your toes. This is usually a result of poor blood circulation around your body.
You see, circulation works best when you are standing or moving, so the many hours you spend sleeping tend to cause a blood pool in your legs. It also means that lower volumes of blood are pumped into the body, so you only get a little oxygen.
A pillow between your legs means your feet are slightly elevated, which helps blood flow more naturally.
4. Helps with sleep apnea
Ever slept next to someone who snores? It’s probably not your best night, and although you understand it could be a serious sleeping condition, you’d still wish they didn’t snore.
People with sleep apnea snore loudly, stop breathing momentarily during sleep, gasping for air during sleep, awaken with dry mouths, experience morning headaches, and may fall asleep during the day and have difficulty paying attention while awake.
According to doctors, side sleeping is the best position for people with sleep apnea since the airwaves are more stable and are less likely to constrict.
Add a pillow between your legs and your spine becomes aligned, the risk of back and neck pains is reduced, which in turn lowers your chances of sleep apnea. If the condition persists, please consult your doctor.
5. Prevents your hip from moving
When you are walking, your hip naturally rotates, causing your spine to become unaligned. This is fine when you are walking, but when you have to sleep for eight hours, it’s not a good thing.
To rest and wake up pain free, your spine must stay as aligned as possible, which is not the case with most people.
According to research, 45% of people report waking up tired, with back and neck pains, even after sleeping for the proverbial seven or eight hours.
That’s a lot of tired people on the road and work! By laying on your side with a pillow between your legs, you ensure your legs and pelvis are kept at level, which prevents your hips from rotating.
Your spine remains aligned, and there isn’t any pressure on your nerves. This promotes healthier sleep and definitely a less achy body. You can wave waking up tired goodbye.
6. Ideal when pregnant
Pregnancy may last a short nine months, but this could feel like a lifetime when you can’t get any shut-eye.
While in the third trimester, most pregnant women find it hard to sleep, and every position you try will probably be uncomfortable. It can be a real nightmare.
Also, while pregnant, it’s common to see varicose veins in your legs and groin.
A pillow between your legs relieves the pressure from your legs, increases blood circulation, and ensure your veins and joints aren’t under pressure.
Because it also promotes the natural S-curve of your spine, you are likely to have a better night’s sleep when you adopt this sleeping mode. Although comfort may be elusive, especially when you are further along, it’s possible to obtain some comfort and rest when you sleep with a pillow between your legs.
Tips for choosing a knee pillow
Knee pillows are specifically designed to be placed between legs. They have contoured cut-outs and tend to stay in place once put between your knees.
Ensure that your pillow is firm enough, so your knees don’t touch. Remember, however, that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. There are different types of pillows to choose from, the main difference being shape.
Most knee pillows come in half moon, hourglass, or wedge shape. Whatever you choose or prefer, the idea is to ensure you get a good night’s sleep and the benefits we have mentioned above. However, make sure your pillow is:
- Easy to clean and care for. You will regularly use your kneed pillow, which means you need to take care of it and clean it. Get a pillow that’s machine washable to make cleaning and maintaining easy.
- Durable. Your pillow will be in contact with your body, so ensure it can withstand your weight and the wear and tear that comes with night movement and friction. This is one thing your pillow must-have, especially if you are pregnant.
- It should be firm. A firm pillow’s advantage is its ability to handle more weight and give support compared to their thinner and softer counterparts. Still, it’s said that a thin, soft pillow will contour your body better and give you more comfort, so consider what your needs are before you settle for one.
- Test the shape. Just because your friend has an hourglass-shaped knee pillow does not mean it will work for you. Instead, test the hourglass, wedge, body-pillow, and half-moon and find which one works for you. Some stores allow you to take the pillow home for a few days, so take advantage of that.
What if you want to stick your regular pillow between your legs? Will that work? Research suggests that it will, and although we don’t discourage it, we recommend getting the proper pillow for each job.
Knee pillows are specifically designed to help you sleep better, unlike your regular pillows, which are meant for your head and not legs.
Knee pillows are made from dense memory foam, so they don’t go flat in the middle of the night and leave you without support. Their spacing is also ideal to keep your knees away from each other and align your spine.
Sleeping with a pillow between your legs is probably not the first thing you think about when going to bed, but with the knowledge we have shared today, you now know that it’s not a dorky idea but one that could promote better sleep.
Before you go to bed tonight, make sure you get your knee pillow and notice the difference in the morning.