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Here's How To Use A Knee Pillow Correctly

image of our writer Filip Maric

Written by Filip

Sleep Advisor

Featured image of how to use knee pillow.

2 November 2023 6 min read

The knee pillow is designed to support your body while you sleep. How to use it depends on the position you sleep in, but it is important to adjust the pillow well so that your hips are in neutral position.

Specially designed to fit your body well and provide all the support you need. They can be used for sleeping on the side as well as for sleeping on the back. Most models have only one thickness and firmness, but there are also adjustable models. It is best to try several positions when sleeping with a pillow until you find perfect one.

For example, if it's the fetal position, lie on your side and bend your knees slightly toward your chest. Place the pillow between your knees while your upper thigh is raised. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees or feet. Adjust it until you find a comfortable position.

What is a knee pillow?

An image of a man resting knee on a knee pillow.

The main feature of this pillow is the ergonomic design that allows you to have the perfect sleeping position. It differs from other pillows in its rectangular shape.

They provide better support for the legs. Pillows are most often made of memory foam because of its properties. This allows it to easily adapt to the body and relieve you of leg, back and hip pain. A knee pad encourages better blood flow, and many models come with a built-in strap that stays in place during use.

Why should you use a knee pillow?

Knee pillow is ideal for sleepers who often turn during sleep. It is recommended mostly for side sleepers, as such position can misalign the back, put pressure on the hips and create pain. Its design makes it ideal for pregnant women and those recovering from injuries. It will equally benefit people who have symptoms of apnea, snoring, and other sleep-related health conditions.

Pain relief

Pain in the back and other parts of the body is usually the result of reduced blood flow during sleep. Persistent pain can also be caused by medical conditions, but the position you sleep in has a big impact on your condition. Pressure on your spine can cause back tension and uncomfortable pressure on your joints. Consider changing your sleeping position. It is best to sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs.

Less knee pain

An image of a woman on couch with a pillow under her knee.

By sleeping with your knees together, you put your body in an unenviable position. One of the consequences is pain in the knees.

Fortunately, there is a solution. If you sleep on your side with a pillow placed in a “strategic” place, it will relieve pressure on your lower body. You can achieve the same effect while sleeping on your back, just move the pillow under your knees.

Hip & spine alignment

Asymmetrical sleep has a negative effect on the structure of the spine. The symptoms are not immediately visible, but they will not go away. These are mainly pains in the back, shoulders, joints, but also many other health problems that will be difficult to deal with without professional help. You can prevent spinal curvature by taking corrective measures. For example, if you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees and naturally align your body.

Related reading:

Healthy sleep posture

a young woman sleeping on Aeyla Dual pillow.

Side sleepers are in an awkward position all night because it puts pressure on the sensitive points on the hips and shoulders. Therefore, they need additional support in the form of knee pads between the legs.

The knees are separated and the spine is better aligned. Otherwise, you will constantly feel pressure on your shoulders or hips.

Improved blood circulation

Knee pillow helps promote blood circulation in the lower body, because in this position you raise your leg slightly while you sleep. The position of raised leg opens the way for blood to pass through the cava-the vein and go straight to the heart. This includes circulation throughout the lower body.

Reduce sleep apnea

Thanks to its design, you can breathe much easier. Placing something between your legs will straighten your spine and open your airways. A pillow is equally useful for sleeping on your back, just place it properly under your knees. That is why it is recommended for people who have problems with sleep apnea.

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Less acid reflux

An image of a young woman suffering from acid reflux.

If you have a problem with acid reflux at night, you should sleep on your side. Doctors recommend choosing the left side and a knee pillow to make you more comfortable.

The oesophagus is below the level of the stomach opening, which facilitates the passage of acid into the oesophagus. Poses that twist the spine or hips should be avoided.

Less sciatica

Such a medical condition makes it difficult to sleep, and an awkward body position can put additional strain on the sciatic nerve and worsen symptoms. The doctor's advice is for patients to find a sleeping position that maintains the natural alignment of the spine. Thanks to the special design of the pillow, you will reduce the pressure on your back, hips, knees and ankles. Although your symptoms won't go away completely, they will ease significantly and you'll get back to normal sleep over time.

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Problem with herniated disc

This degeneration usually occurs as a natural result of aging and wear and tear on the spinal column over time. It can cause intense pain and discomfort, which can be especially pronounced in the morning. Symptoms can be alleviated by providing your spine with sufficient support. The pillow prevents the hips from rotating and helps the pelvis and lower back to rest.

When you are pregnant…

an image of a pregnant woman sleeping on her side

Experts recommend that pregnant women sleep exclusively on their sides for their own health, as well as the health of the child. It is best to sleep on your right side, because then you will not put too much pressure on the liver. You also encourage better posture, and the cushion between the legs provides comfort and prevents you from rolling onto your back or forwards.

Related reading:

  • Top reviewed pregnancy pillows

How to use a knee pillow and make sleeping better?

When you use a pillow to support your knees while sleeping on side or between your knees while sleeping on your back, you provide proper support for your entire body. Your spine stays straight and all parts of your body are relaxed. This is a great option for anyone who cannot give up their favourite sleeping position or is prevented for health reasons. It is very easy to use.

If you are a side sleeper…

If you sleep on your side, it is best to choose a knee pillow with an adjustable strap and place it between your knees. That way, you can be sure throughout the night that it will stay with you, and you will easily adjust it to your body. Make sure to choose the appropriate thickness of the product. The choice will have a big impact on your experience.

If you are a back sleeper

Back sleepers should also consider a knee pillow with a strap. Lie on your back and place a pillow under your knees. Do not forget to check its thickness. For example, if you choose a pillow that is too thin, you will not get enough support and your purchase is wasted. It's the same with a large pillow that will misalign the spine instead of straightening it.

If you are a stomach sleeper

Knee pillow is not suitable for this sleep position, so if you are sleeping on your stomach for most of the night, avoid it. Body pillow is better option for stomach sleepers to keep spine aligned.

So why does putting a pillow between knees feel so good?

An image of a woman sleeping on side with knee pillow.

Sleeping in this position benefits you in multiple ways. Thanks to the features of the ergonomic design, the spine will remain in a straight position throughout the night. This means that you will not put pressure on your knees and other parts of your body. The result is quality sleep and the absence of pain.

It can also help you during the post-operative period, during pregnancy or after childbirth. If you often wake up during the night due to an uncomfortable position, suffer from a herniated disc and other health problems, you will need additional support during sleep. The knee pillow will suit you equally if you sleep on your side or on your back, as it can be used in several ways.

Do I need a knee pillow with a strap?

A banded knee pillow is recommended for anyone who plans to use it while sleeping. People have different habits during this condition. Some are less active than others, but if you want to be sure that the pillow will not move, choose a model with a strap. We are sure that you will turn at least once during sleep, and then the pillow can easily be moved from the desired position. It is enough to move the pillow just a few centimeters, and it will lose its function. Choose an adjustable strap to use on different parts of the leg.

How thick should a knee pillow be?

An image of a knee pillow.

When choosing the thickness of the pillow, look for models that have a thick and firm core. They will be approximately 3-5 inches deep. Anything below that will be super soft, and such models can't provide optimal volume to your knees. It will start to sink, which means that the hips will be in an incorrect position. Such a pillow will not be of any use to you.

A model that is too wide is also not an option, as it will not be able to adapt to your body but will spread your legs too far. The main reference for pillow thickness should be your body weight. Thicker models are recommended for people with a higher body weight, while thinner pillows are more suitable for lighter people.

How long do knee pillows last on average?

Quality materials will last up to two years with proper maintenance. Other factors, such as body weight and usage, affect its appearance and performance. When you notice some changes, take a test. Try folding memory foam knee pillow to see if it will return to its original shape. If it doesn't come back, you need to replace it. It is recommended that you change your knee or leg pillow every 18 months.


With so many different types of knee pillows, it's often not easy to choose the perfect one. You'll narrow down your choices by focusing on the most important features. The pillow must be firm and supportive at the same time. Equally important is the material from which it is made. Experts recommend exclusively memory foam. Choose a shape that will suit your body and pay attention to fabrics. Your perfect knee pillow should come with a removable, washable cover that includes an adjustable strap. Also check CertiPur certification.

After you have made the right decision, adjust the pillow to the appropriate position so that it does not move during the night. Just one use is enough to see the first knee pillow benefits. Longevity depends on the quality, as well as on the way of maintenance. So take care of it as well as the pillow you put under your head. Don't forget to change it when the time comes. With good maintenance, you will have peace of mind for approximately 2 years.

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