Sleeping with a pillow between the legs may initially feel awkward and cumbersome, but this posture can enhance your comfort overnight and in the morning.
The purpose of placing a pillow between your legs at night is to reduce weight bearing on the hips and pelvis. If you adjust to sleeping this way, you’ll experience less pain in your lower back and hips because the spine will remain straight while you sleep.
Sleeping with a pillow between the knees can also alleviate muscular and menstrual cramps and improve blood circulation while you rest. Pregnant women will also find this position far more comfortable.
Some attribute sleeping with a pillow between the knees to making them taller or creating a thigh gap, but these are myths. It can assist with posture, improving your appearance and self-confidence.
Slipping a pillow between your legs is easy if you’re a side sleeper. Back sleepers can slide a cushion under their knees, but it has more limited benefits.
Why Is It Comfortable to Sleep with A Pillow Between Your Legs?
Finding a comfy sleep position is the difference between unbroken and disturbed sleep, punctuated by general discomfort and painful back or joints in the morning.
If you’re troubled by pain at night and upon waking in the morning, a simple way to enhance your comfort level is by placing a pillow between your knees when lying down.
Aside from superior comfort, sleeping with a pillow between your legs has other advantages. This position can provide health benefits to men and women of all age groups.
If you bend the spine at night, it’ll impact the pelvis. The body will grow accustomed to carrying itself tilted slightly forward, which can manifest as a minor hunch.
Keeping a pillow between the legs straightens the spine overnight, so you’re likelier to wake up feeling ready to stand tall with an erect back.
Many people who experience back pain find that the problem worsens with time, meaning early intervention can make a significant difference.
A common cause of back pain, primarily upon waking in the morning, is twisting at night. Significant pressure is exerted on the spine if the hips and pelvis face a different direction to the spine.
Placing a pillow between your legs will keep the spine aligned throughout the night. This will minimize strain on the ligaments in the back and reduce the risk of inflammation.
Muscular cramps can be excruciating and may rouse you from sleep prematurely. A common cause of cramps is restricted blood flow and circulation to that body part.
Placing a pillow between your legs in bed will elevate the legs and knees slightly, improving circulation overnight. In addition, as the limbs are evenly positioned, both legs receive equal blood distribution.
Pressure on The Knees
Pressure on the knees overnight can lead to immobilization and pain. If the knees aren’t rubbing against each other, the joints are less likely to send pain messages to the brain.
The more weight we carry, the more pressure is exerted on the knee joints during the day. Providing the knees with a cushion and the opportunity to rest will give the cartilage time to recover.
Drawbacks of Sleeping with a Pillow Between Your Knees
The main issue is adjusting to the position, meaning you may instinctively kick the pillow away.
Finding the ideal level of pillow softness or firmness can also be challenging. A too-light and soft cushion may have limited benefits, but a too-firm pillow can feel uncomfortable against the knees.
The position is only suitable for side sleepers. If you prefer the supine position, consider placing a cushion under your knees to reduce weight bearing on pressure points.
Why Should Men Sleep with a Pillow Between Their Legs?
Men benefit from having a pillow between the knees, especially when taller or heavier than average. Long limbs and extra weight can exert pressure on the body while asleep.
It stops the upper or lower legs from dragging weight against the hips and pelvis, aligning the body. Also, keeping the spine straight reduces the risks of sleep apnea and loud snoring.
Men have a larger oropharynx and lower larynx than women. According to Sleep and Breathing, men under 50 are likelier to snore than women of the same age.
Does Sleeping with a Pillow Between Your Legs Make You Taller?
Social media followers will be familiar with a viral TikTok video claiming that sleeping with a pillow between the legs can accelerate physical growth and make us taller.
Outside of adolescents and teenagers experiencing a hormonal growth spurt, nobody will go to bed measuring 5’9 and wake up standing at over 6′ in height. It’s just a myth.
This sleeping position does correct anterior pelvic tilt – a pelvis that tilts forward, weakening your core muscles. The outcome is a protruding stomach and buttocks where you’re likelier to hunch.
Placing a pillow between the legs while asleep will tone up weak muscles and retain a more neutral, upright posture during the day. This can create the impression of looking slightly taller.
Why Should Women Sleep with a Pillow Between Their Legs?
Sleeping in a cool room and lowering your body temperature promotes sleep, but many women struggle with feeling cold air more than men.
According to the Journal of Applied Physiology, women have a lower resting metabolic rate than men.
One way to combat this is to improve circulation, which can be achieved by placing a pillow between the legs, aiding the movement of blood flow.
Monthly cramps are a concern for many women, and the discomfort of sleeping the night before a menstrual cycle can be partially relieved by placing a pillow between the legs.
Adopting the fetal position, with a pillow between the legs, reduces pressure on the abdominal muscles. While this won’t stop all hormonal cramping, it can reduce the severity.
Should Pregnant Women Sleep with a Pillow Between Their Legs?
Finding a comfy sleeping position can be challenging during a pregnancy’s second and third trimesters.
The supine position is usually considered the most logical option, but The Lancet warns that this position can be harmful to the unborn child.
A pregnancy pillow encourages women to lie on the side, protecting the baby bump while separating the knees with a full-body pillow. This is the best sleeping posture for late-stage pregnant women.
Even if you create a DIY alternative to a formal pregnancy pillow by laying a section of cushions around the bed, the benefits are similar.
Applying a pillow between the legs improves circulation, reduces cramping, and prevents strain caused by the excess weight associated with pregnancy.
Does Sleeping with a Pillow Between Your Legs Give You a Thigh Gap?
The “thigh gap” – a space between the upper thighs when standing upright – is widely considered a beauty feature in Western women.
While questing for a thigh gap is controversial, many women strive to achieve this goal.
Positioning a pillow between the legs won’t burn fat on the thighs or tone them up while you rest. If this were the case, sleeping on the belly would lead to a flat, toned stomach.
It can improve your posture. By standing with a straight back and separating the feet by around an inch, the aesthetic appearance of a thigh gap becomes more achievable.
Can Sleeping with a Pillow Between Your Legs Cause Hip Pain?
Placing a pillow between the legs while you sleep shouldn’t cause hip pain. It’s among the best sleeping positions for reducing pre-existing hip pain, especially for side sleepers.
When lying in bed without a pillow between the legs, gravity will pull the weight of your top leg downward. This pressures the hip muscles, leading to strain and aggravated injury.
Placing a pillow between the legs means both legs will remain level with the pelvis and spine, preventing undue pressure on the joints.
Will Sleeping with a Pillow Between Your Legs Cure Sciatica?
Sciatica can be a debilitating condition caused by compression, inflammation, or irritation in the sciatic nerve. This can lead to limited mobility and significant back, hip, and leg pain.
Sleeping with a pillow between the legs won’t resolve sciatica symptoms quickly. It can take months of rehabilitative efforts to overcome sciatic pain entirely.
Placing a pillow between your legs improves spinal alignment and ensures you keep the back and hips straight in bed, so you’ll exert less pressure on the sciatic nerve.
The more your body twists and contorts, the more discomfort you’ll experience upon waking.
How Do I Sleep with A Pillow Between My Legs?
If you believe you’d benefit from sleeping with a pillow between your legs, start by instinctively sleeping on your side. Sleeping on the left is preferable for your overall health.
Once you’re comfy on your side, raise your knees. You needn’t adopt the fetal position and pull your knees up, but some people find this comfortable. Again, this pose can improve spinal alignment.
Locate a comfy pillow and slide it between the knees. The pillow shouldn’t be so thin that you feel your knees through it but not so firm that it causes pain. Stack your knees so they’re level.
This position shouldn’t cause difficulty falling asleep. If you notice a space between your hips and the mattress, slide another pillow under the torso to retain comfort and avoid pressure.
The benefits of sleeping with a pillow between the knees apply to men and women. While this posture won’t change your body shape overnight, it can be the first step to a healthier, pain-free lifestyle.