Body Pillows: A Buying Guide
Don’t already have a body pillow? Now is a great time to invest in one
Body pillows have a number of benefits to help you get a comfortable sleep. Aside from being helpful for sleepers that experience back or neck pain, are pregnant, or those with recent surgery, having a body pillow can be great for maintaining a healthy sleep posture or just for having something to give an extra squeeze during the night.
Body pillows are becoming increasingly more popular, but did you know that not all body pillows are the same? We’ve compiled a quick guide to help you understand the diverse world of body pillows, from common uses to different shapes, sizes, and filling, as well as some ideas for choosing the best body pillow for you.
Reasons to use a body pillow
There are many great uses for a body pillow. While some of us reach for a plain old bed pillow when we need extra support, are pregnant, or have just come out of surgery, longer body pillows are usually made with these things in mind. Let’s take a look at a variety of wonderful uses for a body pillow.
Pregnant women often find body pillows incredibly useful for added comfort while sleeping. Extra pillows, or pregnancy pillows, are often recommended to pregnant women especially during the third trimester when a growing belly can cause discomfort during sleep. A body pillow case is perfect for slipping between the legs to provide full body support. For pregnant women that are typically stomach sleepers or back sleepers, body pillows are also great for assisting in the transition to side sleeping.
For those who experience chronic or mild back pain, getting a full night’s sleep can be difficult. Body pillows can help by providing full body support. Using a body pillow can help alleviate some of the extra weight caused by arms and legs when sleeping on the side. With arms, shoulders, and knees propped up by a body pillow, it’s easier to sleep with a properly aligned spine. This can help relieve back pain and lead to a better night’s sleep.
After knee or hip surgery, doctors will often recommend using extra pillows or a body pillow to prop up the knees to ease the tension caused by the force of the body in a side sleeping position. This can help to obtain a great post-surgery sleep, which can promote healing and recovery. Be sure to follow specific instructions from your doctor if using a body pillow after surgery.
Sleeping with proper alignment is a great way to take preventive action against back, shoulder, and neck pain. Back sleeping is one way to obtain good spine alignment during sleep, but for those that have sleep apnea, pregnant women, or are avid side sleepers, this may not be an option. Using a body pillow to disperse some of the natural weight of the body while side sleeping is a great way to obtain good sleeping posture. Good sleeping posture can help protect the spine and reduce pain.
Arthritis or fibromyalgia
For those suffering from arthritis or fibromyalgia, a body pillow is a great option for reducing strain on the joints due to the work of gravity while sleeping. Using a body pillow during sleep can help with pressure relief on arthritis pressure points such as the knees and ankles.
Types of Body Pillows
Just as there are a variety of options available for bed pillows, mattresses, sheets, and comforters, there are a variety of options available for body pillows. Let’s look at a few different types of body pillows you may see on the market.
C shaped body pillows wrap around the entire body. They are shaped like a C and can be slept in with the opening facing the front (belly-side out) or the back (spine-side out). C shaped body pillows are a popular choice for a pregnancy pillow and can support the neck, shoulders, pelvis, and knees. C shaped pillows tend to be a more bulky option and take up the most space, so may not be suitable for those with smaller beds.
U shaped body pillows are shaped like a U. Similar to C shaped pillows, U shaped pillows wrap around the entire body. U shaped pillows are generally used with the opening at the feet. They can provide support for the neck, shoulders, pelvis, and knees. Like a C shaped pillow, the U shape tends to take up more space and can be a very heavy option.
Unlike the U shaped pillow, the L shaped pillow does not wrap around the entire body. It does, however, have an extra “tail” to add additional support for the neck. L shaped body pillows tend to be slightly lighter in weight than the C or U shape, but also tend to take up more space on the bed.
Rectangular & Cylinder
Rectangular body pillows are probably one of the most common types of body pillows. This is due to their versatility, lightness, and size. Rectangular body pillows can provide great neck, shoulder, pelvis, and knee support. While they do not wrap around the entire body, they tend to be lighter in weight and size.
Just as with bed pillows, the fill material of a body pillow can vary. Let’s look at some of the different fillings used for body pillows.
Down is a popular filling for bed pillows, comforters, and body pillows. Down is the soft, small underlayer of feathers found in ducks, geese, and other water birds. Down pillows are often some of the softest and finest on the market. That said, down tends to be one of the more expensive fillings. Allergies stemming from down products are also extremely common and can disrupt sleep.
Down alternative fillings generally mimic the softness and comfort of natural down, but are made with more animal-friendly synthetic fibers such as polyester. Down alternative can feel equally luxurious to down and are often more affordable and easier to care for. Down alternative is also a great option for those that are allergic to down but want to have a body pillow with the same lush and soft consistency.
Solid Memory Foam
Memory foam body pillows are created using polyurethane. Solid memory foam pillows are made by carving a block of memory foam into the shape of the body pillow, which is then covered with a pillow cover. When memory foam is warmed due to our body heat, the material begins to contour to the shape of our body -- hence the name. Solid memory foam usually creates an incredibly firm pillow, however, the material is not very breathable. Memory foam is a highly processed material, treated with harsh chemicals, and can give off an unpleasant smell. It also tends to have a shorter shelf-life and therefore does not last as long as other pillows.
Shredded Memory Foam
Shredded memory foam, sometimes referred to as cross cut memory foam, is made from the same material as solid memory foam -- polyurethane. Instead of being carved, shredded memory foam fill is shredded into smaller pieces and stuffed into a body pillow cover. Shredded memory foam pillows tend to be more breathable than solid memory foam, however, they are still treated with harsh chemicals and can give off the same unpleasant smell. Shredded memory foam pillows also do not have the same longevity as some other body pillows.
Latex is a natural material made from rubber tree sap. Latex filling makes for a soft and bouncy body pillow case that is more breathable than their memory foam counterparts. That said, latex is not the most hypoallergenic body pillow option, as latex allergies can be serious and life-threatening. Even when covered with a pillow cover, latex body pillows should be avoided by those with latex allergies.
Microbead fillings are made with little beads of polystyrene, a type of plastic. Microbead body pillows tend to be very squishy and are a popular option for pregnant women or those that have had surgery. The downside to microbeads is that a tear in the pillow could make a huge mess. The little beads can get everywhere and are quite the headache to clean up.
Which type of body pillow is the best body pillow?
With so many different types of shapes, fillings, and brands available, it can be difficult to know which are the best options.
Some of the body pillows that are currently considered the best, such as the coop home goods body pillow, the zoma pillow, or the snuggle pedic body pillow are great body pillows…but might not be the best for each individual.
Many of these top body pillows are made from memory foam, which for hot sleepers is not the best cooling body pillow option. Down and down alternative would be a much better option.
The coop home goods body pillow is made from cross cut memory foam, a type of shredded memory foam, which makes it much more breathable than traditional solid memory foam, however is still not a great option for those with sensitive smell.
At the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference and about determining which is the right body pillow for you. It’s important to think about individual factors that influence our lives when deciding on the best body pillow. Here are a few other factors to look out for.
Body Pillow Sizes
Most body pillows measure a little shorter than the average person, but exact measurements tend to vary. Some body pillows take up a lot of space! It’s also good to keep in mind that a large pillow will likely be much heavier and can be significantly more difficult to maneuver. Additionally, larger pillows will occupy more real estate on the bed so if you have a small sleep surface, it’s worth seriously considering your body pillow dimensions.
A typical rectangular body pillow measures 54 inches long by 20 inches wide. Rectangular body pillows also come in extra-long, which comes in at 76 by 20 inches. You may also find a king-size rectangular body pillow, which is usually the same length and width as an extra-long body pillow, but much “higher” at 8 inches.
Here are the typical dimensions for other types of body pillows:
U shaped pillows measure 55 inches long x 27 inches wide x 6 inches high
L shaped pillows generally measure 54 x 14 x 5 inches
C shaped body pillows are typically 57 x 28 x 7 inches
J shaped pillows are 68 x 28 x 7 inches
While the filling used in a body pillow usually doesn’t affect its size, it will affect how much it weighs. Memory foam, for example, tends to produce a heavier body pillow. Down and down alternative pillows, on the other hand, tend to be much lighter and easier to move around.
Support & Firmness
The level of support offered by your body pillow is generally based on the filling material. Firm materials, such as memory foam, generally offer a higher level of support. Soft materials, such as down and down alternative, are very light, fluffy, and soft. They tend to offer a lower level of support.
Extra-stuffed pillows made with lightweight materials may provide a good compromise. They tend to have a higher level of support but are still soft and make for a lightweight body pillow.
Most of us have a preferred sleeping position. Different sleeping positions may benefit from different types of body pillows.
For example, side sleepers may want a medium to firm body pillow in order to help relieve pressure from stacked-up joints and help align the spine. For those that are typically back sleepers or stomach sleepers, a softer body pillow is generally plenty of support.
Different body pillow shapes may also have different benefits depending on preferred sleeping positions. That said, a traditional rectangle shape can usually do the trick and is a perfectly supportive body pillow shape.
The shape, filling, and quality of materials have the biggest impact on a body pillow’s cost. U shape and C shape body pillows are some of the most expensive on the market. Down body pillows may also come with a higher price tag, especially if the down is very high quality.
When looking at different body pillow prices, it’s important to consider the quality of the materials. Some cheaper options may be enticing, but probably won’t be the best body pillow in terms of comfort and longevity.
Speaking of longevity, some materials simply do not last as long as others. Both solid and shredded memory foam pillows, for example, tend to need replacing much quicker than pillows made from down, down alternative, or latex. Microbead pillows, if ripped, will lose their filling quickly and require replacement.
When deciding which is the best pillow for you, it’s worth considering how long your new pillow may last. The type and quality of the materials are usually good indicators of body pillow longevity.
Skin and sweat build-up in our pillows can lead to dust mites, even when we use a pillowcase. Anyone with an allergy to dust mites knows how much this can affect sleep. Body pillows, just like conventional pillows, require consistent cleaning. Paying close attention to the care instructions of your body pillow will pay off and understanding pillow maintenance means we can keep our pillows properly cleaned.
Mellanni’s Body Pillow
Here at Mellanni, we are always finding ways to help our customers get a better night’s sleep. Our body pillow is no exception! Let’s take a look at some of the factors that make us confident that it’s the best body pillow on the market.
Total Body Support
Our versatile body pillow offers perfect full-body support. It works for every type of sleeper - front, back, and side – whether they are pregnant, looking for better sleep posture, and/or experiencing back pain. Easy to maneuver, it’s also great for non-sleeping activities such as reading and watching television.
Fluffy Yet Firm
Our new body pillow is stuffed with 100% virgin-grade polyester staple fiber. It feels as soft and luxurious as down, with the benefit of being hypoallergenic and easy to care for. The generous filling means that you get great support with a breathable and lightweight material.
Made with extreme care and extra-high quality materials, our body pillow is built to last. We use a special no-shift construction to ensure your body pillow won’t lose its shape and will offer the perfect support for years to come.
Easy to Care For
Our body pillow can be machine washed in cold water using mild detergent, using the gentle cycle. It can be air fluffed or thrown in the dryer on low heat with some tennis balls or wool dryer balls.
Comes with our famous Mellanni Lifetime Promise. If it’s not 100% what you were looking for, our body pillow can be returned with the highest level of customer service and care.
Whether you’re pregnant, suffering from back pain, recovering from surgery, or managing pain due to arthritis or fibromyalgia, there are many reasons to invest in a body pillow – including simply loving the comfort that a full-length pillow can provide.
The Mellanni Body Pillow offers the following benefits:
Total body support
Fluffy yet firm filling
Mellanni Lifetime Promise
Invest in our premium pillow today and treat yourself to the gift of ultimate comfort!