Buying And Using A Knee Pillow: A Comprehensive How-To

how to choose and use a knee pillow

After a long day at work, everyone looks forward to a night of better sleep for optimum rest. However, having quality sleep is just a dream in most cases due to unbearable pains following poor sleeping posture.

Fortunately, you can sleep in a better posture with a knee pillow and benefit from reduced pains and relief from certain medical conditions. However, it’s vital to use a suitable knee pillow and know how to use it for this to happen. But how do you choose and use a knee pillow? Read along to learn more.

What’s A Knee Pillow?

A knee pillow is a pillow with rounded notches to support legs when sleeping. These pillows are made of memory foam to line your body shape to keep the knees apart to enhance blood flow. Some knee pillows come with detachable straps to prevent motion when sleeping. Using one helps you improve the quality of your sleep after an exhausting day at work.

Are Knee Pillows Good For You?

A knee pillow is a good option for anyone looking forward to good sleep and relieving pain. Supporting your knees when sleeping relieves pressure on the spine, improves symptoms of sleep apnea, acid reflux, snoring, herniated disc, and enhances sleep posture.

benefits of using a knee pillow

However, you must purchase the right pillow and know how to use it ideally to benefit. When shopping for a knee pillow, ensure to consider the following:

The Size And Weight Of The Pillow

Knee pillows come in different sizes and weights. While shopping for one, you’ll find out that some are tiny while others are huge, like typical head pillows. Before choosing a specific item, do a thorough check-up for suitable size and weight. If you’re more of a traveler spending most nights away from home, a small, light-weight knee pillow might be ideal for easy transport. However, if you’re purchasing a between the legs pillow for home use, size and weight shouldn’t matter.

Your Weight

When purchasing a knee pillow, it’s essential to consider your weight. Heavyweight individuals might benefit from a thick knee pillow more than a thin one. It might also be a good idea to ask for recommendations from the seller regarding which one is suitable for your weight.


The material of a knee pillow is also an important aspect to consider while shopping for one. Primarily, knee pillows come with memory foam covered with fabric material. However, it’s important to note that memory foam has two qualities; high-density and low density.

That said, ensure you know the material used to make your preferred pillow before paying. You can also go through clients’ reviews for a specific knee pillow to understand more about the product.

The Support It Provides

The main reason for purchasing a knee pillow is to benefit from its support. It’s therefore not worth it buying one that won’t offer the needed support. It defeats the purpose of buying such a product in the first place. So when you buy a knee pillow, consider choosing a firm product for excellent support.

Are You Pregnant?

Most pregnant women experience challenges sleeping on their sides without a perfect pillow to support their backs. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a knee pillow to enhance sleep and rest while pregnant. If you’re purchasing a knee pillow for pregnant women, it’s best to choose a straight or an hourglass-shaped pillow for optimum support. It will allow them to sleep better at night without feeling unease.

Sleeping Position

Mostly, knee pillows are contour-shaped to ensure they fit between the legs without hassle. However, there are different knee pillows for every sleeping position. If you’re a side sleeper, you should settle for one that can absorb the weight between your thighs. So, a cylinder-shaped knee pillow is ideal for back sleepers to fit below the knees with ease.

So when buying a knee pillow, consider its shape depending on your sleeping position.


The product you choose should fit your budget. Knee pillow prices vary from one outlet to another, depending on the material used. Nevertheless, you should also know that a high price doesn’t mean good quality. It’s therefore essential to do some research to ensure the price is reasonable and you aren’t paying more than you should.

It’s also good to compare prices from different outlets for a better deal.

Do You Move Your Legs When Sleeping?

An hourglass-shaped pillow can hold the user’s legs in position when sleeping. However, if you move your legs during sleep, a knee pillow with detachable straps might be ideal for optimum support regardless of the movements.

Can You Use An Ordinary Pillow As A Knee Pillow?

Knee pillows come in density, shape, and texture to help enhance sleep by aligning your spine and reducing pressure. Therefore, an ordinary pillow might not be ideal over a knee pillow. Nevertheless, some traditional pillows, such as memory foam pillows with high density, can be used as knee pillows. But, for better pain relief and comfort, it’s advisable to stick to a knee pillow. Besides, why should you place an ordinary pillow between your knees when knee pillows can provide better comfort for this purpose?

How To Use A Knee Pillow Correctly

Knowing how to use knee pillows correctly means better sleeping positions. Better sleeping positions ensure that the spine is perfectly aligned, whether sleeping on your side, back or stomach. When you learn to use a knee pillow correctly, you’ll notice no difference when sleeping on your back or side. However, a knee pillow might not make a difference for stomach sleepers since there’s no better way to place a knee pillow when sleeping on your stomach.

How To Use A Knee Pillow For Side Sleepers

The first and obvious way to use a knee pillow as a side sleeper is to place it between your legs. A typical knee pillow for side sleepers comes in size and shape perfectly designed to fit between the knees. Side sleepers who use knee pillows support their hips and knees while alleviating their thighs for maximum support.

Additionally, a knee pillow keeps your spine straight, relieving pressure on the ankles. If you pull your knees slightly towards the chest, your upper leg is less likely to twist your back. Also, you’re less likely to have pain in the hips or lower back. To use a knee pillow correctly as a side sleeper, all you need is to:

→ Lay on your side with your knees bent slightly towards the chest

→ Place the knee pillow between your knees and elevate the upper thigh to keep the hips neutral

→ Adjust the pillow or change sleep position until comfortable

How To Use A Knee Pillow For Back Sleepers

Back sleepers also benefit from knee pillows. You can use a knee pillow behind the legs and improve blood circulation. Elevated legs reduce pressure on the foot when sleeping while aligning the whole body.

A knee pillow under the knees also helps maintain posture and prevent discomfort. Additionally, good circulation resulting from using knee pillows can reduce pain and swelling. To ideally use a knee pillow as a side sleeper, you need to:

→ Place the knee pillow under your knees or feet, depending on the part you need to elevate

→ Lay on your back with the knee pillow in place

→ Adjust the pillow until you’re comfortable

benefits of using a knee pillow

Benefits Of Using A Knee Pillow

Knee pillows come with many benefits. It can help align your spine and hips if you’re a side sleeper. Besides enhancing sleeping posture, there are additional benefits to using a knee pillow. They include:

Pain Relief

While sleep should be relaxing and a good source of rest, it can increase pressure on the body, leading to pain. If you have health conditions or preexisting injuries, the pain that comes with lying down can even be worse. Fortunately, knee pillows support the legs and reduce the pressure that can cause pain. Knee pillows separate your legs, reducing pressure on your lower legs when sleeping on your side. Among the pains relieved by knee pillows include:

Knee Pain: Like other pains, knee pain requires pressure relief to improve. A knee pillow takes the pressure off the knees by separating them. Knee pillows made of foam enhance blood flow in the knees while preventing pooling. It reduces the pain and discomfort experienced when sleeping.

Hip Pain: Knee pillows stabilize hips and prevent them from rotating while sleeping, ensuring that the spine is aligned and relieving pressure on sensitive points. 

Back Pain: If you experience pain like sciatica, a pain radiating along the sciatic nerve from the lower back towards the leg, you should consider using a knee pillow. Such pillows open up the legs and hips, reducing pressing on the sciatic nerves.

Promotes Blood Circulation

Sleeping with a knee pillow between the legs helps elevate the legs slightly, enhancing blood flow via the vena cava, a vein responsible for carrying blood to the heart. In short, a knee pillow improves blood circulation in your lower body.

Improves Sleep Posture

Good sleep posture equals a good night’s rest without pain. Laying down for up to eight hours with poor sleeping posture can be painful and disruptive. Since your hips and knees dip when sleeping on your side, side sleeping might not be an ideal sleep posture, especially if you lack support. Fortunately, you’re guaranteed a better sleep posture with a knee pillow since the pillow separates your knees and aligns your spine.

Helps With Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when the body’s airways are interfered with, causing one to wake up. It happens since body muscles relax when sleeping, increasing pressure on the airwaves. A knee pillow helps prevent sleep apnea since it reduces pressure on the muscle, keeping the airwaves open.

Improves Symptoms Of Acid Reflux

Acid reflux occurs when the stomach acid goes up through the esophagus towards the mouth. This condition mainly occurs when sleeping since gravity and lying down allow the acid to move upwards. You’ll experience reduced acid reflux and better sleep with a knee pillow and a head pillow.

Reduces Snoring

Open airways are essential in snore prevention. Though side sleeping can also reduce snoring, a knee pillow can reduce it even better. Snoring occurs due to blocked airways, and side sleeping together with a knee pillow ensures that your airways stay open while sleeping.

Improves Symptoms Of Herniated Disc

When one disc cushioning the vertebrae slips or is pushed out of location, you’re more likely to have a herniated disc. This condition causes pain or increases pressure on the nerves. Sleeping on your side with a knee pillow prevents stressing the slipped disc. If this doesn’t work, try sleeping on your back with the pillow between your legs.

Increases Comfort During Pregnancy

Side sleeping during pregnancy might be comfortable, but the posture can increase pressure on the spine. Fortunately, the knee pillow slightly opens up the hips and aligns the spine, reducing tension. Placing a knee pillow between the knees can reduce back, hip, and knee pain during pregnancy.

How Soon Should You Reap The Benefits Of Using A Knee Pillow?

How soon you feel the effects of using a knee pillow depends on the severity and causes of your discomfort. However, after a week of consistently using a knee pillow, you should start experiencing change.

Using a knee pillow for a prolonged period can alleviate the pain completely. Nevertheless, you should avoid causes of pain for better results. For instance, if your working posture leads to back pain, change to a better office chair and watch your sitting posture.


Good sleep leads to a healthy and fulfilling life. It helps you stay mentally, physically, and emotionally fit. However, sometimes pain deprives us of good quality sleep. But with a knee pillow, you can go back to sleeping better and get rid of the pain. To ensure that you enjoy the benefits of a knee pillow, you should ensure that you choose the best. You also must know how to use it while sleeping in different positions. We hope that the above guide provides you with enough knowledge of what to look out for when purchasing a knee pillow and how to use it to reap the benefits.


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