Search for knee pillows online and you’ll find knee pillows in all shapes, sizes, textures, and prices.

But do knee pillows really help?

For decades, health care providers have recommended that side sleepers put a pillow between their legs for optimum bone health and a good night’s sleep. There are some health benefits to the practice.

  • Placing a pillow between the knees helps people stay in the correct sleeping posture.
  • Pillows keep the knees, hips, and spine aligned, which helps reduce stress on the hips, neck, and back.
  • Sleeping with a pillow between the knees can reduce cramps and morning stiffness.
  • Side sleeping with a pillow between your legs can help keep airways open and can reduce the incidence of sleep apnea.
  • Sleeping with a body or knee pillow can improve circulation in the arms and legs, and even prevent varicose veins.

What kind of knee pillow should you use?

Well, that answer depends on what type of pillow is most comfortable for each person.

  • Many contoured knee pillows are made of memory foam, allowing the pillow to form to the shape of your knees. Some people like the smaller pillow’s portability. Others find the smaller size irritating and hard to keep in place while tossing and turning during the night.
  • Other people appreciate the lower leg support afforded by regular-sized pillows. The larger size also stays in place better. Regular-size or king-size pillows separate both the knees and lower legs. Using a down-filled pillow or a down-alternative version allows the sleeper to adjust the pillow and achieve maximum comfort and support.
  • And many people prefer the full-length support provided by a body pillow. When used correctly, a full-size body pillow provides support for the lower legs, knees, hips, and arms.

No matter what type of pillow a person uses, it should be firm enough to separate the knees and keep the hips aligned.

But what if a person is a back sleeper?

A full-sized pillow placed under the knees can keep the spine aligned and reduce low-back pain.

No matter how you sleep, you can use a pillow to keep your spine aligned. Just choose a size and a fabric that is most comfortable for you. It can help you get a good night of restful sleep.

If you wake up feeling tired with frequent aches and pains in your legs, back, and neck, contact your primary care provider, a physical therapist, or an orthopedic health care provider for treatment.