Benefits of Sleeping with a Pillow Between Your Legs
Do you wake up each morning with a sore back?
Does your chronic pain feel more acute when and immediately after you sleep?
Chances are, your sleeping position is to blame.
One of the best ways to alleviate this pain and minimize symptoms is to put a pillow between your legs when you sleep. With this simple adjustment, you’ll be well on your way to continuous nights of restful, pain-free sleep.
Read on to get the scoop on how this technique will help you maintain optimal sleep posture:
Benefits of Sleeping With a Pillow Between Your Legs
Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees is, according to experts, one of the best ways to sleep.
Making this minor change in your sleeping habit (as many of us are already side sleepers) keeps your hips and pelvis aligned and your knees stacked on top of each other. This can significantly reduce pressure on the problematic tissues in your back and hips, allowing you to sleep better.
It Reduces Back Pain
According to a 2019 study, back pain affects nearly 2 out of 5 American adults - a shocking figure!
When we lay sideways in bed, our knees often fall into each other. This can cause tension in the lower back. As the hours pass in this position, this tension is likely to extend to our hips as well.
Back and hip pain can lead to restless nights. Fortunately, sleeping with a pillow between your legs can provide a quick and easy fix to this problem.
The pillow provides cushioning between your legs and maintains an optimal gap so that your spine remains in comfortable alignment with your pelvis and your hips. You won’t have to worry about inflamed muscles, because your lower body will be well-supported throughout the night. You’ll sleep comfortably and, most importantly, wake up well-rested the next day!
It Improves Posture
Maintaining proper posture should not be limited to sitting and standing with a straight back and rounded shoulders; it also extends to sleeping at night. Sleep posture is especially important because the muscles and ligaments in our back loosen up while we sleep.
Your sleep posture directly determines how you will feel in the morning. If you tend to feel stiff or sore upon waking up, there’s a good chance that you have incorrect sleep posture. Misalignment as you sleep can place unnecessary stress on your joints, tighten muscles and ligaments, and negatively affect overall spine health.
Sleeping with a pillow between your legs promotes a “straight” sleeping posture, preventing your top leg from putting pressure on your bottom leg and maintaining proper spine alignment. This is key to a good night’s sleep.
It Boosts Blood Circulation
Do you often wake up with a tingling or numb sensation in your hands and feet? If so, you might have poor blood circulation.
This can occur for many reasons, but when you’re sleeping, it’s likely because of the pressure placed on the vena cava—the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood to your heart. Sleeping with a pillow between your knees can help improve blood flow in your lower body, which can do away with that unpleasant pins and needles sensation.
Keeping your feet elevated above heart level can similarly boost blood flow. This ensures that your body can carry out its repair functions with ease, reduces inflammation to minimize your chances of edema, relieves pressure on your veins to reduce swelling, and prevents deep vein thrombosis, all while improving your sleep quality.
It Relieves Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps are painful contractions that can affect your sleep and general quality of life. They can be caused by dehydration, periods, varicose veins, or other factors, and can last between seconds and minutes. Cramps tend to occur more often at night, which can make trying to sleep a challenge for those particularly susceptible.
Sleeping with a pillow between your legs can alleviate pressure and reduce the swelling on your lower back and hips, which can lead to improved comfort and reduced cramps.
Sleeping With a Pillow Between Your Legs May Provide Relief From Certain Medical Conditions
Living with chronic medical conditions is hard enough on its own, so when this causes problems sleeping at night, it can be downright unbearable.
Some chronic pain conditions are exacerbated by certain sleep positions, due to hip rotation which can cause misalignment of the spine.
Lying down sideways with a pillow between your knees can ensure that your spine remains aligned in its natural S-curve and that your hips and legs are on the same level. This improves mobility and stability and takes the pressure off your nerves, which may offer some much-needed relief at night.
Adopting this sleeping position can:
Reduce Pain Caused by Herniated Disc
Sleeping when you have a slipped or herniated disc can be near impossible, especially since the optimal sleeping position can feel quite unnatural, depending on the severity of your condition.
Most online sources recommend sleeping on your back to keep your spine in a neutral position, this reducing pressure on your spinal nerves. However, that’s not to say that other sleep positions won’t help.
Sleeping with a pillow between your legs can also reduce pain. It will minimize rotation of your spine, which may help alleviate pressure and relieve your discomfort. Talk to your primary physician or physical therapist to get their professional advice for the best results.
Reduce Pain Caused by Sciatica
Sciatica causes pain in the buttocks or gluteal area and down the legs. Sleeping in positions that cause your lower back and hips to twist can increase pain by further compressing the sciatic nerve.
Sleeping with a pillow between the knees can minimize rotation of the spine and ensure proper alignment. This may reduce compression on your spinal nerves, allowing you to sleep more peacefully at night.
Did You Know Sleeping With a Pillow Between Your Legs is Beneficial for Pregnant Women Too?
For many, trying to get comfortable in bed while pregnant is nothing short of a Herculean task. Most sleep positions that you found comfortable in your pre-pregnancy days will not work as well for you, as your body continues to change. The extra weight of your bump puts pressure on the rest of your body as you get closer and closer to your due date.
But don’t let that overwhelm you - not when you have a fail-safe, doctor recommended sleeping position you can default to: side sleeping.
According to experts, pregnant women should sleep on their side, as this takes a lot of pressure off the inferior vena cava which is associated with impeding blood flow and increasing the risk of stillbirth.
Placing a pillow between your legs can support the muscles in your body. It adds extra cushioning and support to your joints, giving you a better night’s rest.
How to Sleep With A Pillow Between your Legs - A Guide
There are right ways (and plenty of wrong ways!) you can sleep with a pillow between your legs. Here’s how you can optimally set up your pillow to enjoy a comfortable, pain-free sleep at night:
- Lie down on your side, with your knees slightly bent towards your chest.
- Put a pillow between your knees. This will elevate your upper thigh, keeping your hip in a neutral position.
That’ll do it!
If there is some space between your waist and the mattress, we recommend that you put another pillow (or towel) between your stomach and pelvis area. This extra cushioning will keep your spine from bending, which reduces the chances of poor sleep posture and helps you avoid pain.
Choosing the Right Pillow
Choosing the right pillow to keep between your legs is key to benefiting from this sleep position. Your body type and personal preference are relevant factors, and you may also want to look for the following:
- A pillow that is specifically designed to be kept between your legs as you sleep - this will be structured in a way that helps it stay in place no matter how much you move around. A one-size-fits-all contoured pillow will do the job.
- A firm pillow. This will ensure your knees don’t gradually come together and touch as you sleep, which will prevent spine misalignment and poor posture.
- A pillow with refillable filling. You can arrange the shape of a high-quality down or down alternative pillow to alter its loft and firmness per your preference. This way, you can enjoy pain-free sleep.
- A pillow that provides full-body support, to ensure your head, neck, and spine are correctly aligned for hours.
Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs is the best position for relieving pain and muscle cramps, improving posture, and boosting blood circulation.
However, keep in mind that you can only avail yourself of its many benefits if you maintain this posture throughout the night, and use the right pillow! Be sure to use this guide as inspiration, and you’ll be all set to enjoy a good night’s sleep—pain and discomfort-free!