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Why Use a Bolster Pillow? Here Are 8 Great Benefits


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Pillows come in different sizes and designs to serve various functions. From ensuring a comfortable night’s sleep to serving as decorative pieces that add vibrancy to a room, they are definitely a functional piece to have in your home.

A Bolster pillow is a long, narrow cushion filled with cotton, down, or fiber. It derives its origins in the South and Southeast Asia countries, where you are likely to find them in every home.

Bolster pillows help you get a good night’s sleep when you cuddle them or throw them between your leg if you’re a side sleeper, but this is not the only upside of having one.

Here are a few more reasons why you should consider using a bolster pillow:

  1. They serve orthopedic functions
  2. Bolster pillows aid in correcting posture
  3. Provide increased comfort
  4. Offer babies’ protection
  5. Ideal for tummy time
  6. Used as a workout prop
  7. Relieve an upset stomach
  8. Used to spruce up living spaces
  9. Used for physiotherapy

The bolster pillow has various uses that range from medical to functional day-to-day utility. We will discuss how they are used in each application, including the best positions to place them to enjoy their maximum benefits.

Physiological Benefits of a Sleeping With a Bolster Pillow

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People who suffer from back problems, have sleep apnea, or need to straighten their posture will find the bolster pillow an ideal item to have in the home.

1. Orthopedic function

Bolster pillows are stiffer than the typical bed pillow. This means that it offers firm support to the body. Placing a bolster under your knees while sleeping on the back will help your hips curve your back, which relieves pressure and tight muscles. This sleeping posture helps soothe an aching back. They are also beneficial to people with shoulder and hip problems.

A bolster pillow can also be used as a chair to alleviate back pain. Placing a bolster on the floor and sitting on it will help align your spine better than a sofa. This sitting posture can also give you a healthier spine and back muscles.

2. Aid in correcting body posture

Proper posture reduces undue pressure on muscles and ligaments in the body. A bolster pillow comes in handy, especially with people who have a hunchback.

A hunchback is a common problem popularized by the technological age where everyone is hunched over working on laptops, mobile phones, and other tech devices either for work or play.

These conditions cause one to acquire a bad posture because of the constant stretching forward of the neck and having your shoulders tight to your ears. Therefore, sleeping while hugging a bolster pillow will significantly help straighten your back.

3. Relieve an upset stomach

Unbelievable as it is, a bolster pillow can come in handy when you are experiencing an upset stomach, specifically caused by gas.

Placing the pillow on the floor and laying on top of it as you roll from side to side will gradually provide relief to your stomach. The pain starts to dissipate slowly in a few minutes.

4. Physiotherapy

Therapists use bolster pillows for a variety of applications on their patients. For instance, they use them for spinal remodeling, reverse posture adjustment, improve body alignment, and abduction.

Depending on a patient’s unique needs, they are positioned under various parts of the body such as under the neck, or knees to help relieve muscle strain and pressure.

Sleep & Wellness Benefits of a Sleeping With a Bolster Pillow

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There is no denying the incredible benefits a proper pillow can do for your sleep. Considering that you spend 6-9 hours a day sleeping, you must have the right pillow.

The Bolster pillow is an ideal choice for those who suffer from sleeping problems. In fact, they are considered the side sleeper’s best friend.

1. Increased comfort

Studies have indicated that snuggling up to something while you sleep can ultimately lead to a calm and restful night.

Bolsters are perfect pillows to snuggle, thanks to their design and stiff nature, especially for pregnant women who find it difficult to find the perfect sleeping position.

2. Provide protection and comfort to babies

We all know how important it is for a baby to enjoy their sleep time. Soft and cuddly bolsters can stimulate a soothing and calming environment to comfort your baby while they sleep.

They are also are a great alternative to cot bumpers. They protect your little one from rolling over and hurting themselves against the crib. In addition to preventing potential injuries, bolsters are a great item that can act as a barrier to guard the baby against falling over.

3. Ideal for tummy time

Babies benefit immensely from tummy time. It aids in their growth and development while strengthening their neck, shoulders, arms, and trunk. A bolster pillow placed under the chest helps provide comfort and extra support for the baby.

4. Workout prop

Bolster pillows have been popularized into the workout arena by people who practice Yoga. Used as an alternative to yoga mats, they can allow for numerous yoga poses if appropriately used.

They have been known to give workout sessions a massive boost while producing significant results. Well-known routine exercises like leg raises and sit-ups can be done using a bolster pillow. You can also use them to help maintain your balance while having a work out session.

Spruce Up Your Living Space

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Bolster pillows covers come in vibrant colors, patterns, and shapes that add some pop to a living space. Adding these pillows will break the monotony of traditional sofa cushions.

You can use an assortment of pillows on large furniture pieces to make them look more inviting and comfortable. Using bolster pillows as throw pillows can add a decorative accent to your living room, baby room, or bedroom to bring out some style and elegance.

Versatile Functionality

Not only is the bolster ideal for sleep and posture, but it can also be incorporated into our day-to-day activities like:

  • Using it as an armrest while enjoying a book or your favorite TV show
  • Prop a bolster pillow against your head while relaxing on the floor or couch as you wind down from a long, laborious day.
  • It also acts as the perfect footrest to help your leg muscles relax.

Throw some bolster pillows on the floor and watch how your kids will transform them into toys. This will keep them occupied and entertained for a while as you perform your chores. A word of caution, though, due to its weight and firmness, it may cause injury. You may need to supervise younger children.

Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Bolster Pillow

It should be easily foldable: Bolster should easily fold into a “V” shape to provide adequate support to your back while sleeping.

Should fit into your home’s theme and style: Using bolsters for decorative purposes can accentuate your living room space. Therefore, you need to take into account the color, patterns, and even size of the bolster that will blend into your decor to enhance the aesthetic appeal.

Easy to clean and maintain: While maintaining their functionality, bolster pillows need to be easy to launder. There are numerous options in the market when purchasing bolster pillows. They come in multiple materials, interiors, and colors, which should help you choose your best fit. However, most bolsters come with covers with zippers or buttons, which are easy to peel off when you need to clean them. Conversely, some decorative bolsters do not come with casing. They, therefore, need the utmost care while handling them.

Durability: Bolster pillows are filled with a range of materials. The materials range from cotton, foam, synthetic blends, and down. Some also come in the more plush soft feathers. These bolsters are pretty pricey but offer convenience, comfort, and guaranteed durability compared to the cotton and synthetic blends. Cotton and synthetic blends tend to wear off more quickly. Foam bolsters tend to be ideal for decoration since they are stiffer.

Functionality: When purchasing bolsters, you need to know what function you want them to serve in your home. Some can fit across the board, but some will be well suited for a specific purpose since they come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. If you want to complement a piece of large furniture, go for a large bolster.

FUN FACT: Bolster pillows are also referred to as “Dutch Wife.” This term was coined during the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 17th Century. Britain and Holland were rival nations that were fighting to colonize Southeast Asia. The British used to term anything fake or false as, “Dutch” hence the name.

Other traditions suggest that it was given the tag “Dutch Wife” or “Bamboo Wife” because wives would fashion traditional bolsters out of bamboo for their husbands not to get lonely at night when they traveled away from home.

There are so many surprising uses of bolster pillows. Most people use them for decorative purposes, not knowing the numerous ways they can use them. Bolster pillows are also easy to make.

DIY enthusiasts can easily recreate these pillows as the materials needed are readily available at the local store. Apply some of the ideas we have presented here and incorporate them into your routine and experience the immense health and recreational benefits they produce.

Here’s a great video of a DIY project you could try!

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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