Best Body Pillow Guide for Buyers (and Checklist)

You may be wondering:
“Can anyone use a body pillow?”
Yes, anyone can. My experiences with these types of pillows led to the creation of this post.

The post includes a guide and checklist of things that every long pillow buyer should know.

So, here’s my story:

I bought my first long pillow some years ago after struggling with sleep discomforts.

Placing pillows between the thighs and behind my back to ease back pains was part of my night routine.

I would do the same with the beddings in case for some reason the pillows fell off the bed in the night.

These episodes didn’t sit well with me. The discomfort continued, and it took me quite a while to figure out that my beddings were part of the problem. As a result, my doctor prescribed some pain relievers and told me to change the pillows.


My friend who was pregnant at the time advised me to try the body pillow. I figured she meant the long pillow that stood out on her favorite sofa. That pillow had seen better days, yet she wasn’t comfortable without it.

She recommended one from a brand she loved. And I bought that pillow even though I was a little skeptical about the size thing.

body pillow by Jelene
CC image courtesy of Jelene on Flickr

To summarize, I was impressed! It was long, firm and fluffy!

And although it occupied quite a portion of my bed, it grew on me. The pillow was stationary, huggable and comfortable. It stayed in between my legs throughout the nights.

After a week or so the pain in my back and the midnight interruptions reduced.

Bottom line:

Anyone can use a body pillow because they come in different designs to suit different needs.

After all, I got rid of my old pillows and never looked back. I stayed with that pillow for two years and disposed of after I found another one that had an arm (Don’t ask why).


confused about shopping for body pillowI know the difficulties of window shopping, especially for any bedroom related product. I was lucky to have taken the advice from a pillow-enthusiast before purchasing one.

Combing through the net at the time for the ideal body pillow to buy was a daunting task.

But that shouldn’t be the case anymore.

In this post, I answer the questions that most people have about long pillows. These will help would-be buyers make the right decisions.

This body pillow guide includes the types of long pillow, uses, and benefits.

Let’s get started:

7 Frequently Asked Body Pillow Questions and Answers

body pillow by RLEVANS
CC image courtesy of RLEVANS on Flickr

What is a body pillow? Body pillow definition

A body pillow is a long pillow that you can comfortably hug and sometimes place between your thighs or knees.

You can buy a full body pillow whose length is around 50 inches (127 cm) and above. Or get one slightly larger than the bed pillow. The length varies depending on your preference.

Long pillows for children, petite adults, and for sitting are usually on the shorter side. Check out this body pillow reviews post if you’re interested in buying one.

What are the uses and benefits of a body pillow?

The body pillow is used for comfort and support while sleeping or sitting on a sofa. It helps you calm down and drives away insomnia, uneasiness and other anxiety symptoms.

A good long pillow placed on your favorite sleep position can reduce back and shoulder pains. You can also use the pillow as a support after a major surgery.

The pregnancy body pillow can do the above and also help reduce hip pain. The pain occurs due to poor posture, weak bones, and the extra weight that exerts pressure on joints and nerves.

And hugging a soft, manipulable pillow helps you sleep like a baby.

Where can you buy a body pillow?

You can buy this type of pillow in most bedding stores, and those that stock anime (Japanese animation) products. Most anime stores sell them in dimensions that fit their anime covers.

You can also get these pillows in most e-commerce stores that include beddings if you want to buy online.

What type of filling can you find in a body pillow?

You can find the following:

Latex, memory foam, poly fiber filling, and down plucked under the feathers of ducks or geese.

Some pillow brands use the word hypoallergenic filling that is poly fiber filling in most cases. This type of filling is without allergens that cause allergic reactions.

memory foam body pillow filling
CC image courtesy of The Sleep Judge on Flickr

Memory foam filling is made of polyurethane and other chemicals.

The filling can be in shredded form or microbeads, which are tiny foam particles.

The latex filling comes from milky sap extracted from rubber trees.

The milky sap is then processed to create the foam, which is either shredded or packed in a design that identifies with the pillow brand.


Are body pillows designed for pregnant women only?


As mentioned in my story, body pillows come in a variety of designs. These accommodate different people including pregnant women. You can find unisex body pillows (pillows that all adults can use) and even shorter ones for children.

Pregnancy pillows come in shapes and designs that support the growing bodies of women during that phase of their lives.

But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be of use afterward. Some women completely switch to body pillows after using them during pregnancy.

body pillow by Elisaself
CC image courtesy of Elisaself on Flickr

And men aren’t left behind either. They enjoy the comfort and support that these types of pillows give.

The good thing is…..

Body pillows are versatile. You can manipulate the right one to suit your needs.

For example:

A man who side sleeps can use a good pregnancy pillow that conforms to his body for comfort.


What are these different types of body pillows?

These pillows include:

  • Long pillows that most adults can use and pets too (if you have any). These come in different designs. The most common one looks like a long bed pillow.
  • Pregnancy pillows that come in different shapes to accommodate the body changes that occur in pregnant women. You can find the U shaped and C shaped body pillows here.
  • Children body pillows 
    body pillow by SecondPrint
    CC image courtesy of SecondPrintProductions on Flickr

    These pillows are shorter than the long pillows and come in different child-friendly shapes and designs.

  • Boyfriend pillows that are also called the snuggle pillows. These come in the shape of a man’s chest and include an arm for cuddling, perfect for those lonely nights.
  • Husband pillows
    Husband pillows are sitting pillows that include headrests, armrests, and lumbar sections. These pillows support your back and neck, and they’re good for reading in bed. They feature synthetic or down fillings for comfort.
  • Dakimakura
    These are the Japanese body pillows known as love or anime pillows. The pillows come in two sizes of 160 cm and 150 cm, the latter being the most popular. Fans of anime (Japanese animation) culture use covers/cases that feature large anime characters to personalize these pillows and also as gifts for friends.


Is a body pillow weird?

No, it isn’t weird. The weird bit may come about because of some covers that buyers use. People who aren’t familiar with the full-size images on some of the covers may find their presence unsettling.

The product is just an elongated pillow that provides you with extra comfort.

Now you know the variety of pillows that are available in the market. And you probably want to try one.

Before you make that decision take a look at this comprehensive checklist.

Body pillow checklist: 9 factors to consider

These things will help you decide if the body pillow you desire is the right one for your needs.

The nine factors are:

1. Sleep issues

Shoulder pain photo by Musespeak
CC image courtesy of Musespeak on Flickr

If you have persistent back pains or other sleep issues, then see your doctor first.

The doctor will help you identify the source of your discomfort and give you treatment.

The doctor may advise you to change your bedding including your pillows. Now, body pillows address a variety of issues so the doctor would ask you to try one out.

Furthermore, he may also provide suggestions on the filling that would work for your condition.

2. The body pillow size

You want to get a pillow that fits your needs perfectly. If you already have the type you want in mind find out about its dimensions.

Understand that measurements like length, thickness, and height may be in centimeters, inches or feet. These measurements should give you the exact dimensions of the pillow.

Find out if you can get a customized pillow from the seller in case you don’t find your preferred size.

3. Bed and mattress size

body pillow by Elisaself
CC image courtesy of Elisaself on Flickr

The size of the bed matters if you are sharing because the body pillow occupies a large space.

Your mattress should be large enough to accommodate you, the pillow, and your partner.

You can find out from the seller if you aren’t sure about the pillow size and how it would interfere with space on your bed.

Remember that space is crucial in this case. A huge pillow may interfere with your comfort if it takes up most of the space on your bed.

4. Filling and sleeping position

You should consider buying a hypoallergenic pillow that is pollen and dust resistant if you are prone to allergies. Otherwise, you can choose from the different pillow fillings that are on the market.

You should consider the degree of firmness you desire in a pillow because no one size fits all. Your sleep position and medical condition (if any) should determine the thickness of the pillow.

If you are a side sleeper, you may need a firm body pillow that contours to your body for good alignment. A thin fill pillow will be your best choice if you are a stomach sleeper.

Most of all, medical conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia require special attention so find out from your doctor about the right filling and pillow fabric.

One more thing:

Find out if that particular filling or fabric is noisy. You don’t need another reason to stay awake at night.

5. Comfortable body pillowcases

Find out if body pillow cases are included in your purchase. Some brands include removable pillow cases that save the time and money you could have used to shop for pillowcases.

pillowcase by Mbaylor
CC image courtesy of Mbaylor on Flickr

Don’t fret if they aren’t. You can buy from different online stores. You just have to get the correct measurements of your pillow and then shop around.

A fitting pillowcase with a zipper gives your bed the neat look and keeps your pillow dirt-free.

If you can’t find the right pillowcase look for one that is close to your pillow size. I personally prefer a pillowcase that is a few inches longer rather than shorter. And I also like to shop from a brand that has a variety of case colors.

A longer cover keeps your pillow clean, and you can easily tuck in the extra length.

Remember to choose pillowcases made of fabrics that are:

      1. Breathable
      2. Comfortable
      3. Durable
      4. Stain resistant
      5. Hypoallergenic
      6. Easy to use and maintain

Some of these fabrics include bamboo (blend), good quality cotton, and soft polyester (microsuede).

6. Price that fits your wallet

It all boils down to the amount you are willing to spend on your body pillow purchase. Factors such as size, filling, casing, and design affect the price range, which starts at around $15 to even more than $500. body pillow price

Remember to buy a pillow that will serve your need regardless of the price. Not to mention, as College of William & Mary put it the amount you invest in beddings is worth the benefits.

7. Care and maintenance of a body pillow

Like many stuffed items, some body pillows may require a bit of fluffing up to get them into shape.

In most cases the shipped pillows that arrive in a somewhat compressed state (flat). laundromat for body pillow You may be forced to place your pillow in a dryer (air-only cycle) or air it for a few days to puff it up.

When it comes to cleaning, some may be machine washable while others may only need spot cleaning.

For your peace of mind:

Find out from the seller or read reviews on the pillow’s maintenance requirements. Remember to read the care instructions when you get the pillow.

8. The body pillow weight

Some long pillows such as the memory foam pillows are usually weighty. Some can be bulky and difficult to move from one point to the next.

A long, firm pillow will in most cases be heavier than a shorter squishier pillow. So understand that length, thickness, and the filling you want will determine the heaviness of the pillow.

9. Expiry date

Yes, pillows have expiry dates.

According to, experts believe you should get rid of the pillows after 2 years of use.

Dust, drool, and oils get soaked in the pillows, and the fillings and casings also wear out after some time. These create breeding areas for dust mites and disease-causing bacteria.

It is important to find out about the shelf life of your choice of pillow. You can look for the expiry date details from the seller’s website, or read the reviews in blogs and online stores.

So, how would you use a body pillow?

These are some of the ways you would use a body pillow.

How to use a body pillow for side sleeping position:

body pillow by Wicker Paradise
CC image courtesy of Wicker Paradise on Flickr

Get a firm but flexible pillow that goes back into shape when not in use. It should be of a good length. Place the pillow next to you, with your knees bent shove the lower part in between your legs.

Your arm should be on the upper side that is close to your chest.

The right pillow should give you the comfort and support you need to break the turning over episodes.

How to use a body pillow for back support:

A thin, adjustable pillow would do here. You will have to make the filling around where you place your knees a little fuller. You could place an extra pillow on the same spot for more support.

Your raised knees will have support, which will result in a good spine alignment.

Using a long pillow for stomach sleeping position:

Not the best of sleeping positions, this one needs a thinner pillow than for back sleeping position. Try to concentrate a bit of the filling where your lower abdomen lies to relieve the pressure on your spine.

Using a body pillow for back and side support:

For these positions get a fluffy yet firm pillow (medium firm). Confused?

You shouldn’t be. Follow the mentioned ways, and you will be fine. The pillow should thin out when on your back, but feel firm when you’re on your side.


Last but not least, consider changing your mattress and mattress topper too. Check this mattress guide for more information. Your comfort will be short lived if you have a worn out mattress that sinks in the middle when you sleep.

A body pillow requires a firm and comfortable mattress to serve you well.

So, what other things do you think a body pillow buyer should consider?

CC Featured image courtesy of Thrifty Look on Flickr.

Author: Brenda

Brenda Nadi is a proud mama, entrepreneur, and sleep blogger. She creates guides, tips, and reviews of sleep products that make comfortable environments for new buyers.

2 Replies to “Best Body Pillow Guide for Buyers (and Checklist)”

  1. I have had a problem with my lower back and it took a while for me to find a product the helped . The pillows have really helped me relieve the pain and sleep better.

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