Body pillows are designed to give you a more comfortable night's sleep, whether you're pregnant, experience body pain, or just like a little more snuggle. Regular body pillows are the size of an adult person and rectangular in shape and are designed to be hugged like a person. When placed between the knees or thighs, body pillows are fabulous for relieving back, knee, or hip pain. Fancier body pillows come in letter shapes--J, U, C--and offer even more support. Some shapes are better for maternity, others better suited to relieve nasal congestion, acid reflux, or heartburn symptoms.
If you're seeking a better night's sleep, a body pillow may be your secret ingredient. We've taken the guesswork out of finding the right pillow for you by scouring the market for the best available ones. We've also detailed here what you need to consider, including features and answering FAQs, when making a purchase. Our number one choice is pricey but we think it's worth it because of its comfort and durability.
Considerations when choosing body pillows
Body pillow shapes
When shopping for a body pillow, you'll have to decide between various shapes. Here are the common ones.
Basic rectangle body pillows look like an extra-long pillow, four to six feet in length. These are the least expensive models, ranging from $20 to $30 (unless made from pricey memory foam). These are versatile with all body types and great to tuck between your legs while in repose.
U-shaped body pillows are extra-large and extra-supportive. They are designed for your head to rest at the curve with your body nestled between each "leg" of the U. These are excellent for anyone suffering from joint pain or illness that causes muscle aches. Also great for pregnant women and for reading or watching TV in bed.
C-shaped body pillows are ideal for pregnant women who can rest their growing bellies on the bottom of the C while also receiving neck and shoulder support from the upper portion of C.
J-shaped body pillows are actually curved at the top and bottom, but less so than C-shaped ones. These are great for supporting the upper body to relieve headaches, nasal congestion, and heartburn. The support for the legs can also relieve sciatica, back, and and leg pain.
Maternity body pillows may come in the aforementioned letter shapes while also including contouring along the inner edge to conform to a growing belly. These are also great for after the baby's arrival too, to prop up bodies for nursing.
Letter-shaped and maternity body pillows generally run between $40 and $70. Though some top-of-the-line models can run up to $100.
Body Pillow Fills
Like a normal pillow, body pillows vary in what they're filled with. It's important you select one that doesn't have a fill you're allergic to.
Polyester fill is synthetic and most commonly used. It makes for a less expensive pillow on one hand, but a less breathable, hotter one on the other. These fills are hypoallergenic and generally washable.
Memory foam gently molds around your body while adding firm support. The downside is that memory foam is hotter, heavier, and more expensive than other fills.
Shredded memory foam is more lightweight and cooler. Basically, it's memory foam material shredded into small pieces. It is supportive as well.
Microbeads also contour to your body, much like a beanbag does. However, this offers less firm support.
Down is a fluffy fill that's lightweight and breathes well. Some people are allergic to feather down, so choose a synthetic down if that's you. While down feels like sleeping on a cloud, it doesn't offer a ton of support and can be pricey.
Other important details
Because of their unique shape, we recommend selecting a body pill that comes with an extra pillow case. Every body pillow comes with a cover. Choose one with a fabric that works for you. Common fabrics are cotton, polyester, cotton/polyester blend, and bamboo.
Q. How big is a body pillow?
A. The smallest body pillows are the basic, rectangular ones. These'll fit in a twin or full-sized bed, if you're sleeping alone. U-shaped body pillows are the biggest models and are best for king or queen-sized mattresses, especially if you share your bed with a partner. This goes for any curved body pillows.
Q. How heavy are body pillows?
A. Some body pillows are quite heavy, not to mention bulky. Memory foam ones are the heaviest. Keep this in mind if you're apt to move the body pillow from your bed to the couch or other area of your dwelling.
Body pillows we recommend
Best of the best: Moonlight Slumber / Comfort U Full Body
Our take: This synthetic down, U-shaped body pillow is a popular pick for incredible comfort.
What we like: Hypoallergenic down. Off-the-charts comfort and support. Large size fits most body types.
What we dislike: Pricey but a solid, long-term investment.
Best bang for your buck: Leachco / Snoogle Total Body
Our take: Best value for expectant mothers.
What we like: This C-shaped body pillow provides generous support, especially in hips and neck areas. Shape also reduces strain on pregnant bellies and back.
What we dislike: Smaller in size than competing models, but this is a plus for most.
Choice 3: Sleep Innovations Embrace Memory Foam
Our take: A not-so-basic rectangular body pillow that molds to your body.
What we like: This large, memory foam body pillow offers ample support. It's rectangular shape contours to support and comfort you.
What we dislike: Heavy and bulky, which is to be expected from memory foam.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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