Your bed should be a hallowed space for comfort and intimacy. When you sink into your bed at the end of a long day, your bed should be there to cradle you into a deep, restful night’s sleep. So why do so many of us wake up clutching aching backs or favoring sore knees when we get up in the morning?
If you sleep on your side, your body may deal with pressure that can cause pain and compromise your mobility. But placing a pillow between your knees can help to alleviate some of these aches and pains. Read on to discover some knee pillow benefits and learn what to look for in your knee pillow.
How Sleeping Position Impacts You
Most of us may not think much about our sleeping position. We find whatever position feels most comfortable to us, and it’s the sleep that matters in the end, right? While getting enough sleep is certainly important, your sleeping position can also have an impact on your health, as anyone who’s ever woken up with a crick in their neck can attest.
The position you sleep in can impact everything from your joint health to how wrinkles form on your face. Your joints and connective tissues may be in more or less stress during the time you’re asleep, depending on what position you sleep in. You may snore more or less in certain positions, and sleeping in certain positions can even impact how your body drains toxins out of your body.
Side Sleeper Struggles
As we get older, many of us shift into sleeping on our sides. Some scientists believe sleeping on the right side may help to protect the heart in older age. There is also some evidence to suggest that sleeping on your side may help your lymphatic system to drain more effectively, protecting you from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Sleeping on your side can put more pressure on your body, however, disrupting your circulation. You may be more likely to shift in your sleep due to this pressure, which can lead to less restful nights. And sleeping on your side leaves your face smooshed into your pillow, which can actually cause more wrinkles.
Pregnancy Sleeping Problems
If you are or ever have been pregnant, you’ll know that sleeping can be a problem when you have a little one on board. For one thing, your hormones are all over the place which can cause you to feel sleepy during the day and restless at night. You may also find yourself getting up to go to the bathroom more often thanks to increased pressure on your bladder.
As your pregnancy progresses, there will also be pressure on your spine and hips that can cause pain and discomfort. Many people experience restless leg syndrome, and about half of pregnant people experience gastroesophageal reflux disease during their pregnancy. Pregnancy can also raise risk of sleep apnea, a disorder that causes you to snore and disrupts your sleep.
Sciatica Sleeping Challenges
Sciatica is a condition in which you have pain that radiates down through your lower back, hips, and legs. This can be caused by a number of issues, including herniated disks or bone spurs on the spine. These compress the sciatic nerves in the spine and cause pain and numbness in the lower part of the body.
You may not be surprised to learn that sciatica can become worse depending which position you sleep in. Side sleeping can pull the spine out of alignment, especially if you’re sleeping on the wrong mattress. This additional pressure on the sciatic nerves may leave you hobbling out of bed, riddled with pain.
Long-Term Impact of Back Pain
Living with constant back pain can be more than just unpleasant. Over time, this omnipresent pain may leave you reluctant to do any normal activities for fear that they may make your pain worse. You may begin to withdraw from those around you and isolate yourself, increasing your risk of depression and anxiety.
Back pain can also impact your work life, especially depending on what sort of industry you work in. It’s going to be hard to go up and down a ladder every day if your back is killing you. And even if you work a desk job, you may find yourself in more pain sitting at your desk day after day.
Balance Your Hips
Sleeping with a pillow between your knees can help relieve many of the problems we’ve discussed with side sleeping. To begin with, it can help to balance your hips and place them in a straighter position. This can help to alleviate pressure on your lower back, as well as pressure on your hips themselves.
When you sleep on your side, the ship that’s not resting on the bed tends to fall down so your hips wind up resting at an angle. Placing a pillow between your knees can help prop your hips back into an aligned position. This can prevent the ligaments in your hips from being strained and relieve pressure on your lower hip.
Align Your Spine
When your hips fall out of position, they also pull on your spine. The lowest part of your spine will get tugged upwards as your upper hip falls backward. But gravity will pull the middle of your spine downwards, creating a sort of S shape in your spine that can aggravate all sorts of problems.
Pulling your hips back into position can help to align your lower spine better. A pillow between your knees will help to remove that last curve in your spine, which will also lessen the curve in the middle of your spine. Keeping your spine in line can help to reduce low back pain and make it easier for you to move in the morning.
Alleviate Knee Stress
Sleeping on your side can also place significant stress on your knees. One of your knees will be supported by the bed. But the lower part of your top leg will be pulled down, yanking on your knee and straining the connective tissues there.
Placing a pillow between your knees will help to support your upper leg, placing less strain on your knees. If you have had knee problems or injuries, this can help you to recover more quickly. It may also help you to avoid knee replacements and help you keep mobility as you age.
Promote Blood Circulation
Sleeping on your side places pressure on one side of your body. Your entire weight is pressing your hip and leg into the bed, which can compress the blood vessels on that side of your body. This can slow down your circulation, which can cause everything from tingling or pain in your limbs to erectile dysfunction.
When you place a pillow between your knees, you relieve some of the weight pressing your body into the bed. That weight is transferred to the pillow, where it is better redistributed. This can help to improve your circulation and resolve the tingling you may sometimes feel in part of your body.
Lessen Tension on Sciatic Nerves
Your sciatic nerves run through the lower part of your spinal cord, and you may not be surprised to learn that when your spine curves, it can cause problems for those nerves. Your hips falling out of alignment can place tension on those nerves, straining them. Over time, this can make your sciatica worse, especially in the mornings.
When you place a pillow between your knees, you shift your hips back into place. This can help to relieve some of the tension pulling on your sciatic nerves, alleviating sciatica symptoms.
Reduce Pressure on Sciatic Nerves
Another major cause of sciatic pain is pressure on those sciatic nerves. When your spine curves into that S shape we mentioned before, it squashes all those nerves in the base of your spine. Combined with an existing narrowing of the spine, this is one of the primary causes of sciatica.
As we’ve discussed, placing a pillow between your knees can help to flatten out those curves in your spine. This allows for more room for your sciatic nerves, reducing the pressure on them. After just a few nights with a knee pillow, you may notice that you have less pain in the mornings.
Improve Sleep for Pregnant People
When you’re growing a baby, you need all the rest you can get. And while a knee pillow won’t stop your baby from bouncing on top of your bladder, it can help alleviate some of the pressure on your spine. Give how much extra stress will be on your back, you need to give it all the help you can.
Placing a pillow between your knees can help to realign your spine and relieve some of the pressure on your hips. It can gently redistribute your weight to make sure you’re maintaining good circulation. All of this can make you more comfortable and help you stay asleep longer throughout the night.
Using a Knee Pillow with Other Pillows
Many pregnant people like to use a knee pillow in conjunction with a pregnancy wedge pillow. The wedge pillow is designed to support your stomach, helping to keep you in a more comfortable and aligned sleeping position. In combination with a knee pillow, this can take a lot of the pressure on your spine and restore it to a normal alignment.
You may also want to combine a knee pillow with a memory foam head pillow. Memory foam pillows help to keep your upper spine in alignment, too, rather than forcing your neck up and curving the top of your spine. Keeping your spine aligned from top to bottom will help prevent a variety of aches and pains.
What to Look for in a Knee Pillow
When you’re shopping for a knee pillow, there are a few things you want to look for. First and foremost, you want a pillow that is firm, with very little give. If your knees touch when you place the pillow between your legs, it’s too soft, and you should look for something with more structure.
Many knee pillows also have a unique wedge shape that helps to support your legs a little better on either side. It also helps keep the pillow snug in place between your knees during the whole night. If you can find one, a pillow with these specialized cutouts is preferable.
Why Memory Foam Is Best
If you can find one, you may want to get a knee pillow made of memory foam. Memory foam has a variety of benefits, for both head pillows and other body pillows. The material molds to your shape when exposed to your body heat, providing give in the spots that you need it and support in the other areas.
A memory foam knee pillow can provide you with the right combination of support and give. You don’t want something that will place more pressure on your knees or sink down into a complete pancake. Memory foam will also contour to your body, providing the perfect fit and support you need.
Discover the Knee Pillow Benefits
It may not seem like having a pillow between your knees while you sleep would provide that many benefits. But knee pillow benefits can range from better spine alignment and more comfort during pregnancy to improved sciatica and better knee health. If you’re a side sleeper, give a knee pillow a try and discover for yourself how much better you feel in the morning.
If you’d like to discover more tools for crafting a comfortable life, check out the rest of our site at Everlasting Comfort. We have everything from memory foam pillows and footrests to oil diffusers and humidifiers. Shop our collections today and start making your home the haven of comfort you deserve.