How we test products
Our mission is to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect sleep products.
We've dedicated hundreds of hours to testing mattresses and sleep accessories, and rely on a team of testers of differing weights, temperature preferences, and sleeping positions to evaluate each product.
Tested products are granted the Sleep Hero tested stamp of approval, a mark of our review's reliability.
If we haven't personally tested a product, please be assured that we invest significant time and energy into scouring the UK market and researching the best recommendations, and we work with a team of sleep experts who review our articles, ensuring that the insights we provide are not only relatable but also reliable.
What is a knee pillow?
A knee pillow is usually smaller and firmer than a regular pillow.
Most feature an ergonomic design, which fits perfectly between or beneath your knees.
The best knee pillows can help relieve pressure, promote proper spinal alignment, and reduce pain. ⭐
Some options, like body pillows, are longer than typical knee pillows.
These longer pillows are still slim and firm enough to sit comfortably between the legs.
Knee pillows are typically most beneficial for side sleepers (who often use it between their knees) and back sleepers (who put it beneath their knees). 👍
Those who sleep on their stomachs won't need or benefit from a knee pillow.
What are the different types of knee pillows?
Knowing what's available will ensure you can choose the best knee pillow for sleeping. 🤔
Given that people come in all shapes and sizes, it makes sense that knee pillows do as well.
Most knee pillows are ergonomically designed, with carefully chosen fillings and pillowcases to help prevent them from shifting as you sleep. 😴
Unfortunately, adjustable knee pillows aren't widely available currently, but the variety of options is starting to grow.
Let's look at some of the most common knee pillow shapes.
- Hourglass knee pillows are cleverly designed with thicker ends, providing a barrier to prevent your legs from moving during sleep.
- Heart knee pillows tend to be relatively small, with an ergonomic design that fits comfortably between the knees and thighs.
- Half-moon knee pillows essentially look like a cylinder pillow cut in half with one curved and one flat side and are mainly used under the knees by back sleepers who want a less steep leg elevation.
- Wedge knee pillows, suitable for back sleepers, are distinctively shaped to gently elevate your knees, facilitating improved circulation.
- Body pillows are usually quite long and are often favoured by pregnant women, side sleepers, and those looking for something that supports more than just one area of the body.
- Cylindrical knee pillows are versatile, fitting well between or under knees, depending on your sleeping position.
You'll also see some knee or leg pillows with velcro straps to secure your legs.
Unfortunately, knee pillow straps can be uncomfortable and scratchy.
Luckily, most modern leg pillows are made from memory foam and can stay in place without straps because of their ergonomic shapes and designs. ⏳
Memory foam offers the firm, contouring support and pressure relief required from a leg pillow.
Of course, not all knee or body pillows use memory foam.
Some favour materials like hollow fibre (polyester), which is more breathable and machine-washable. 🧼
The Kally Body Pillow is an excellent example of a lightweight pillow that is completely washable.
Who should use a knee pillow?
Knee pillows can offer comfort and additional benefits.
But who really needs a knee pillow? 🤔
Those who benefit most from knee or leg pillows include:
- Side sleepers.
- Back sleepers.
- Pregnant women.
- People with sciatica.
- Those suffering from back or hip pain.
- People who have knee pain.
- Those recovering from injuries or operations.
- People with restless leg syndrome.
- Individuals living with Arthritis.
Let's take a closer look at how knee pillows can help. 🔍
How can knee pillows help?
Side sleepers often find one leg puts pressure on the other.
They also often find their spine twists or feels misaligned during the night, leading to a sore morning wake-up.
A knee pillow between the legs can prevent this spinal misalignment and reduce pressure. 🛌
On the other hand, back sleepers are more likely to experience lower back pressure.
An under-the-knee pillow can alleviate this by supporting the spine's natural curve.
Pregnant women frequently experience aches and pains during the night, and body pillows can offer better support and pressure relief. 👶
Body pillows are also handy for leg support as they can usually be comfortably placed under or between any area of the body, right down to the lower legs.
A pillow between the knees can help relieve sciatica pain by keeping your spine aligned and preventing the upper leg from rolling.
Those suffering from sciatica can also find pain relief by placing a pillow under their legs to elevate them and reduce pressure on the hip flexors.
Leg pillows can also help promote spinal alignment and reduce discomfort for individuals with back or hip pain. 🚨
Of course, we should note that a knee cushion for sleeping can't fix all problems.
If you are a side sleeper with a too-hard mattress, this will worsen spinal misalignment and put pressure on areas like your hips and shoulders. 😞
However, a knee pillow can benefit those with leg pain or knee pain by acting as a buffer to minimise pressure and reduce pain.
It has even been suggested that elevating the legs, which increases blood flow to the heart, can reduce symptoms of sleep problems like restless leg syndrome.
Those recovering from injuries or surgeries may also be advised to keep their legs elevated and a knee pillow can assist with this. 💪
Elevation improves blood circulation and lessens the pressure put on sensitive areas.
So, a knee pillow can sometimes promote a faster and less stressful recovery period. 😀
Ultimately, proper knee support for sleeping helps provide a great night's sleep.
Our favourite knee and leg pillows:
How to use a knee pillow
Getting your knee pillow set up for a good night's sleep is a breeze. 💨
Once you've chosen the perfect pillow for your needs, all you need to do is to place it under your legs, just behind your knees, if you sleep on your back.
Side sleepers simply need to place it between their legs, typically between the thighs and knees.
Ensure it's comfortable and secure, and if your pillow comes with straps, fasten them properly.
Once that's done, you're all set for a night of improved sleep. 🌜
Of course, if you want your knee pillow to stay in good nick, you'll need to look after it.
We'll discuss how you can care for a knee pillow in our next section. 👇
Should you buy a knee pillow?
Deciding if a knee pillow is for you ultimately depends on your personal needs and preferences.
Knee pillows aren't a one-size-fits-all solution, but they can bring considerable relief to those struggling with knee pain, hip pain, lower back pain, joint pain, or sciatica pain. 😌
There are fantastic options, from highly affordable pillows to more versatile picks.
Ultimately, it's about finding what suits you to improve your sleep quality. 🌛