How to Sleep With a Body Pillow Properly

December 21, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team

Side sleepers, we need to talk. If you’ve been waking up with a lot of neck aches, hip pain, back pain, and general soreness, it probably has to do with your favorite sleeping position.

Unfortunately, side sleepers tend to doze in ways that twist their hips and back during the night. This leads to knee, hip, and back soreness. But don’t despair at the thought of having to give up your favorite sleep position—there’s a simple fix, and it comes in the form of the body pillow.

Though it’s usually not anyone’s first thought when looking for pillows, a body pillow can often be the best pillow type for your setup because it’s useful and versatile. You sleep with one by putting it on your bed and cuddling your body around it. Then, the bed pillow provides you with proper support and alignment throughout the night.

This comprehensive guide on how to use a body pillow will cover everything you need to know about them, so read on and discover the sleep you deserve.

How Are You Supposed To Sleep With A Body Pillow?

Traditionally, to sleep with a body pillow, you first put it on your bed lengthwise. Then, once you’re on your side, cradle the comfort pillow between your legs, laying your top leg on it such that your legs are stacked parallel to each other. 

This ensures a healthy position for your sacrum, hips, and spinal alignment. You have to be careful with this one though—if you put your top leg too far over, you’ll end up in a twist, throwing off your lower spinal alignment.

So, what do you do with your hands? Don’t worry about putting them in that awkward T-Rex position sleepers hate. Instead, hug the pillow or just place your top hand astride it. This will keep your arms from feeling scrunched or curled up and has the added bonus of keeping you from rolling away from the pillow.

While it’s all fairly intuitive, making minor adjustments to find the right position is important since properly sleeping with your body pillow can provide several potential benefits.

How a Body Pillow Helps

Body pillows are incredibly beneficial and can help you achieve the sleep success you’ve been looking for on your mattress. These are some of the benefits of body pillows:

  • Keep everything aligned properly at night
  • Take the pressure off delicate areas of your body
  • Stabilize your head at the right height
  • Can help relieve conditions like sleep apnea
  • Stop your nighttime tossing and turning
  • Aid your blood circulation and blood flow

And recent studies have also shown that using a body pillow can help you relax better. This extra benefit comes from cuddling with them since hugging releases hormones like oxytocin that lower stress.

Body pillows also provide the benefits you usually get from a great regular pillow, such as proper spinal and neck support, so you don’t pinch anything or wake up with aches and pains.

Ways To Use A Body Pillow

Though we’ve already covered the typical way to sleep with a body pillow, there are a couple of other main ways you can use one at night. They include:

  • Tucking it under your back – Back sleepers, listen up because this one’s for you. It’s also a valid sleeping method to rest the body pillow diagonally behind your back so that your hips, legs, and arms are lying on top of it. This method works to alleviate shoulder and hip pressure.
  • Resting with one leg alongside the pillow – This way is similar to the first method described above since you’re cradling the pillow in both. But the key distinction is that you don’t put the pillow between your legs in this one. Instead, you sleep with the bottom leg straight along the side of the pillow rather than tucking it under.

These sleeping positions can provide some variation if you’re not a side-sleeper or if you just don’t like resting the weight of the pillow on your leg at night.

Of course, your body pillow also comes approved for off-label use. If you’re working or watching Netflix in bed, your extra-large pillow can serve as the perfect prop. Likewise, it’ll come in handy the next time the wee ones in your life are in the mood for building a pillow fort. The possibilities are endless.

But to get the best use out of your body pillow, make sure you make your choice with your sleep goals in mind.

Body Pillow Types and Fills

Which body pillow is right for you?

Body pillows come in many different shapes beyond the default rectangle and have a variety of fill options to suit your needs. Peruse options like the following:

  • The U shaped pillow – One of the best pregnancy body pillows out there. This shape has a gap in the middle that lets you slide into it and hug one of the arms while you sleep. This pregnancy pillow will help support your body and belly and keep you from shifting onto your back at night, which isn’t recommended during pregnancy.
  • The J shaped pillow – This hooked pillow is something you might want to consider if you have chronic back pain. The loop at the top of the J-shape will cradle your head and ear, keeping your head and spine perfectly aligned to help manage your backaches.
  • Casper’s Hug Body Pillow – Rectangular body pillows are a good default for a reason—they offer the benefits of most other body pillow shapes and align themselves to your body so you can hold them how you’re most comfortable. Casper’s Hug Body Pillow innovates the classic design with one tapered end so that you don’t end up face-deep in your body pillow. You can even rest your neck in the triangular groove of this bed pillow.

Fill is also something important to consider when you’re looking for the right pillow since it can impact your sleep. The most popular fill options for pillows are:

  • Down – A popular filling because of how soft and lavish pillows made with it are. A good down pillow will make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud, and at Casper, we make sure all our down is ethically sourced so you can nod off guilt-free.
  • Foam – The most supportive pillow filling. Foam pillows will help keep your head and neck in the same position all night so you can wake up with the same alignment you went to sleep with. You can also find memory foam with cooling technology to keep your nights comfy and cool.
  • Down alternatives – If you have an allergy or just want another option, down-free pillows are the fill for you. You get all the softness of down with none of the sniffling or sneezing. And the best down-free pillows also have a design that lets cool air through and responds to your movements at night to keep you comfortable.

So don’t neglect the body pillow fill when you’re shopping. What’s inside your pillow can be just as important as its external shape.

When Should I Start Using A Body Pillow?

It’s never a bad time to start using a body pillow. If you’re a side-sleeper who’s sick of waking up with aches and pains or someone who just wants to stop tossing and turning, a body pillow can help. But you might be especially interested in using one if:

  • You’re pregnant
  • You have sleep apnea or acid reflux
  • You have poor blood circulation

Body pillows can help relieve all of these conditions, especially sleep apnea. Back sleeping positions can aggravate your condition and make it worse, but using a body pillow can help you stay on your side through the night.

Have the Sleep of Your Dreams with Casper Pillows

Your sleep is important, and you shouldn’t compromise it by waking up with body aches or stiffness. 

And the side-sleepers out there don’t need to give up on your favorite sleep position. Our body pillow can help you improve your moonlight slumber.

At Casper, our priority is to help you sleep well and sleep how you want. That’s why we designed our body pillow ergonomically to promote the best alignment possible, leaving you refreshed and restored when you wake up. So instead of waking up to neck pain and soreness, wake up from a good night’s sleep with Casper’s huggable bed pillow.


  1. Spine-health. Different Types of Pillows.
  2. U.S. News. The Health Benefits of Hugging.
  3. WebMD. Body Pillows.