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Why Sleeping With Pillow Between The Knees Is Good For You?

image of our writer Filip Maric

Written by Filip

Sleep Advisor

Featured image of sleeping with pillow between the knees.

24 October 2023 9 min read

Have you ever slept with a pillow between your knees or under some other part of your body? Apparently there are many benefits of sleeping with a pillow between knees. Let's find out together if those claims are true or not.

We are constantly trying to find a way to be perfectly comfortable in bed. A suitable mattress and pillow are certainly the first prerequisites. But sometimes we will notice that we are no longer as comfortable in bed as we were a few months ago. The reason may be the deterioration of the mattress or pillow, which leads to poorer performance.

But there can also be other causes. For example, causes may be injury, lack of physical activity, digestive problems and much more. If you are a side sleeper, then you can consider putting a pillow between your knees.

This simple solution has helped many. In case you are not a side sleeper, an additional pillow can also be helpful, if you place it under the lumbar spine. In the rest of the article by The Sleep Advisors, you can find out why sleeping with a pillow between the knees is good for side sleepers.

The benefits of a pillow between the knees

You can surely see the main benefit of pillow between the knees when you sleep, which is a comfortable night's sleep. However, you may fail to conclude what the other benefits are, because sometimes it is hard to believe that such a banal solution as a pillow between the knees can be so effective.

Less back/hip pain

Back pain is so common. It is one of the most common medical problems, because almost 90% of adults experience back pain at least once in their lives. About a quarter of adults live with chronic back pain. Hip pain is also very common. The causes can be various and most of the things we do during the day are not beneficial for the back and hips. An uncomfortable mattress and improper sleeping position are also frequent culprits. When you place a pillow between your knees, it will keep spine aligned and this will significantly reduce the strain on the entire posterior chain.

An image of a woman suffering from back pain due to improper sleep posture.

Better sleep posture

When we say better posture, we don't just mean better sleeping posture, as we mentioned in the previous paragraph. There are clinical trials that have shown that a pillow between the knees, so-called leg pillow, can influence better posture during the day, which is also very important for health. How does that happen? Because structural changes of the spine and ligaments are prevented.

Less disc pain

Whether you suffer from a herniated disc or a bulging disc, it definitely means that you have structural problems with your spine. Sometimes it can be solved with anti-inflammatory drugs, and then with appropriate exercises to strengthen the muscles. But in many cases surgery is necessary. In order to reduce the rotation of the spine during sleep, use a pillow because then you will move less in your sleep. Knee pillow helps in this situation very much.

Less lower back pain

Lower back pain is the most common type of back pain. Improper posture while sitting and sleeping, uncomfortable footwear, too little or too much physical activity are the reasons why back pain is that common and annoying. You should not immediately suspect the spine, because the bigger problem in the lower back are muscles. If you feel the pain deeper, then maybe the problem is with the hip flexors or quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle, a small muscle that is under great stress.

an image of a woman suffering from a lower back pain

Less muscle cramps

Muscle cramps may occur because you don't eat healthy, you don't get enough vitamins and minerals. Magnesium supplementation is recommended in case you have frequent cramps, especially during the night. Sleep position may lead to cramps as well, so try to put a pillow between your legs and see if the frequency of nocturnal cramps will decrease.

More support during the pregnancy

In the early stages of pregnancy, women usually have no problems with night's sleep. But as the belly grows, it becomes more and more difficult to find a sleep position in which you can fall asleep at all. Side sleeping is recommended for pregnant women, while back sleeping is not very healthy, and front sleeping is impossible. A pillow can help women feel more comfortable and also reduce leg swelling.

an image of AngQi 65 inch Pregnancy pillow

Rolling over prevention

Your partner will be very happy that you will prevent roll over with the help of pillow, especially if you are a restless sleeper and come to the other half of the bed all night. This is also important for you, even if you are not a restless sleeper, because you will probably maintain the ideal sleep position all night.

How to sleep with a pillow between the knees?

Maybe it will be a bit strange for you when you try to sleep with a pillow between the knees or you even find it uncomfortable. But don't give up right away. Be patient and give your body time to get used to that position.

Lie down with knees slightly bent

If you straighten your legs completely, you will reduce the role of the pillow. It is better if you bend your legs slightly. Then the pillow will be able to provide more support and you will be significantly more comfortable sleeping.

Get a firm pillow and place the pillow between the knees

It is quite possible that one extra pillow will not be enough for you. Back and stomach sleepers almost always need several pillows, and side sleepers usually choose one for the knees and one for the waist. This will give you extra support and reduce pressure on your hip which is main pressure point.

Add an additional pillow for waist if needed

Meat and veggies – it's not that hard. You don't have to be a professional dietician to know that a balanced diet is important for both your physical and mental health. And when it comes to sleep – what you eat (or don't eat) can make a big difference.

For instance, eating large meals before bed can lead to indigestion and heartburn – both of which can disrupt your sleep. So, it's best to eat your dinner a few hours before you go to bed.
It's also important to avoid foods that can make you feel jittery or wired – such as sugary snacks and spicy dishes.

And, last but not least, make sure you're getting enough of the right nutrients – such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D.

What to consider when choosing a pillow between the legs?

Most choose a pillow they never use for the one they will put between the legs. That is just fine. This will probably help you to see if it is more comfortable for you to sleep in such a way. But if you want to continue sleeping with the pillow between the legs, our advice is to buy a pillow specifically for that purpose that will completely fit your body.


There are more and more knee pillows on the UK sleep market, similar to body pillow. Manufacturers have decided to place such products on the market, more precisely pillows of a specific shape that follow the contour of your body. You will comfortably fit such a pillow between your thighs, knees and calves. However, it is not necessary to choose that particular shape. If you are comfortable with an ordinary pillow, continue to use it, in that case there is no need to use a knee pillow or wedge.

An image of a woman holding a pillow between knees.

Level of firmness & thickness

We already told you that the knee pillow should be firm. Having said that pillows usually do not have a firmness rating like mattresses. But all the information you will find will be based on the subjective impression of the one who tested it. So be sure to try them before you buy if that option is available. If not, find as many different reviews as possible in order to gain better understanding. Thickness is no less important. If the pillow is too thick, you will not be comfortable and your posture will be bad. It can even lead to sleep apnea. If it is too thin, your knees will hurt because they will be leaning on each other.


When choosing a pillow to sleep on, the material is of utmost importance. We are not implying that it is now irrelevant, but perhaps not so crucial. However, you should pay attention to durability. That's why high density memory foam is the best choice. It is firm and long lasting, and at the same time provides fine pressure relief and bounce. Check whether the pillow is fully washable and whether it has a removable cover. We tend to sweat a lot in that region and that's why you should wash it often.

An image of Octaspring True Evolution Anatomic pillow structure illustration.

Cooling technology

If the pillow between your legs turns into something that retains heat and makes you sleep very uncomfortable, then you will stop using it even though it is good for spinal alignment and hip pain. So check if the pillow you are going to use is cooling. Latex is known as a breathable and cooling material, but memory foam is not what it used to be. Today, memory foam is pleasant for hot sleepers too. Hot sleepers could not use it a few decades ago due to heat retention. You can find memory foam, open-cell memory foam and other types that are cool.

Tips for sleeping with a pillow between the knees

We hope that we have covered this topic with as much detail as possible and that you have found answers to all the questions you were interested in. To end this article, we will give you some general tips that can make sleeping with a pillow between the knees even more pleasant.

Add a pillow under lower back for more comfort

If you are a combination sleeper and not just a side sleeper, one more pillow for lower back when you turn on your back can be a good addition and great for pain relief.

Make sure you get a firm pillow

We know we've already talked about this, but it's really important to mention it one more time. Choose a firm pillow because only firm pillows are functional for this purpose. Exactly how firm it is going to be depends on you. It can be medium to firm or firm.

Consult a doctor if any problems

If you already suffer from some health problems, whether they are related to the musculoskeletal system or some other organs, consult your doctor before introducing any novelty into your life. There are not many conditions that are contraindicated with a pillow between the knees or leg posture pillow, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Go to your physician and consult with him or her.

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