Side-sleeping is the most popular sleeping position for the majority, and this isn’t just an opinion – we’ve got the numbers to prove it. An estimated 41% individuals prefer curling up into a fetal position to sleep, while another 15% need to be on their sides, log-style, to nod off. For the most part, this is a good thing – side sleeping can help alleviate sleep apnea complications and snoring by keeping your air passages open and unrestricted, while also helping maintain the proper alignment of your hips, spine and neck so you don’t wake up with a sore back and joints.
That is, as long as your legs are properly supported. If not, the weight of the upper leg may pull on the spine, shifting it out of alignment and putting strain on your lower back and hips. Side-sleeping can also be difficult for anyone experiencing back or hip pains, sciatica, scoliosis and so on. With a knee pillow, though, you get to keep your knees the appropriate distance apart to keep your spine, hips and neck in neutral alignment, both helping avoid waking up to sore backs and aching shoulders as well as letting you sleep on your side without aggravating conditions like back pain, osteoarthritis or sciatica. But which knee pillows are the right pick for the job? Take a look at our top picks.
Cushy Foam Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief Knee Pillow
This hourglass knee pillow can be tucked anywhere between your legs and is a brilliant and inexpensive solution to your side-sleeping woes. The contoured sides of the pillow curve over and hold the shape of your legs, be it your thighs or calves, making it less likely to slide out while you’re sleeping, while the 100% visco-elastic memory foam of the cushion makes it firm enough to support your legs and maintain an appropriate gap between your knees, holding up your upper leg and keeping your body in neutral alignment.
The pillow automatically promotes a healthier posture, great not just for keeping your spine, hips and joints properly aligned, but also for letting you relax and drift off without exacerbating existing back or hip pains, pinched nerves or slipped disks. These are also a great option for pregnant women, as the extra, non-invasive support encourages healthy blood circulation, crucial for both mother and baby. The one size fits all pillow comes with a breathable and soft pillow cover, which can be removed and tossed into the washing machine when it’s time for a clean, with a handy travel case great for storage as well as travelling, so you can catch a good night’s sleep wherever you are.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
Everlasting Comfort 100% Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow
A pretty inexpensive investment to make in return for uninterrupted and peaceful nights of sleep, this hourglass knee pillow features not just the contoured sides to hold up the curves of your legs without shifting out from between them at night, but also a removable and adjustable strap system that lets you secure it around your leg as an extra precaution and all-night support. The strap is also a blessing for those of us who find it hard to stay put throughout the night, and have to switch from one side to the other – rather than having to wake ourselves up enough to readjust the pillow when we move, the strap holding the pillow on for us just lets us flip over, hassle-free.
The 100% visco-elastic memory foam pillow is both soft and comfortable enough to be great snuggling down to sleep with, but also firm enough to give your legs the right amount of support to keep your hips and spine in neutral position, preventing strains and pains occurring as you snooze. The soft, breathable cover is removeable and machine-washable, two pairs of memory foam ear plugs included as a bonus with this knee pillow for that perfect night’s undisturbed rest.
ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow
Another ergonomically contoured knee pillow, this one size fits all option is structured out of high density memory foam to give you the cushy softness ideal for something you’re going to be using when sleeping, but also the appropriate degree of firmness to hold up your upper leg and maintain the right gap to keep your spine and hips properly aligned.
With just this pillow, you get to sleep on your side without experiencing flare-ups of sciatica or arthritic pain, encouraging healthy circulation as you sleep. The pillow is designed to be usable in multiple positions, extremely useful for those of us who don’t stick to the same sleeping position through the night. You can support just your upper leg on the pillow while sleeping on your side, use it to keep your knees aligned when sleeping on your back, or wedge anywhere between your legs, be it your thighs or calves, to suit your comfort.
Get Safe Contoured Memory Foam Knee Pillow
Recommended for post-injury rehabilitation, this pillow is a potential must-have for known side-sleepers, since prevention, after all, is better than cure, and having a good knee pillow can prevent a lifetime’s worth of sore back and joint problems from occurring in the first place. A brilliant alternative to huge, space-eating and potentially stifling body pillows, the dense, premium memory foam and contoured hourglass structure of the pillow hugs the natural curves between your thighs, knees or calves depending on what’s comfortable for you.
The pillow is just firm enough not to collapse from the compression, returning to its original shape once you’re done using it, keeping your leg elevated just the right distance to keep your hips and spine aligned and giving your body the chance it needs to completely relax and let you doze off. Two breathable and plushy covers can be slipped off and tossed into the wash on laundry day, the cotton-polyester blend of the material making it soft and cool to the touch, and wear- and tear-resistant.