Body Pillow Dimensions
If you’re looking for extra support at night, we recommend getting a body pillow. Body pillows are large, uniquely-shaped pillows great for improving comfort, promoting proper alignment of the body, and reducing snoring.
The simplest body pillows are rectangular, but you can find larger body pillows with different shapes to offer different types of support, including L-shaped, C-shaped, and U-shaped pillows.
The various shapes are named exactly as they sound, but their length and width dimensions can vary slightly based on the manufacturer. With this in mind, all types of body pillows usually have a loft of 5 to 7 inches to keep your head high and aligned with your spine.
Rectangular Body Pillow
Dimensions: 20 by 54 inches
Rectangular body pillows are easily the most common type of body pillow you’ll come across. Since rectangular body pillows are small and simple, they work on smaller beds and can even function as a long pillow for your head when turned horizontally.
Many people also enjoy using a rectangular body pillow as a knee pillow or as something to hold as they fall asleep.
Cylindrical Body Pillow
Dimensions: 15 by 60 inches
Cylindrical body pillows are similar to rectangular ones as they’re both straight and narrow. However, cylindrical body pillows are a bit longer and narrower than rectangular body pillows. Also, cylindrical body pillows tend to have a very high loft. The extra high loft is great if you have broad shoulders and prefer sleeping on your side.
With a sham, you can use cylindrical body pillows decoratively.
L-Shaped Body Pillow
Dimensions: 28 by 28-54 inches
L-shaped body pillows look like rectangular body pillows, only they have an extra arm. Some L-shaped body pillows have two identical arms, while others have one short arm and one long arm.
Based on how you place the pillow, you can use the extra arm under your head or between your knees for knee support. When it’s under your head, L-shaped pillows eliminate the need for a second pillow. Using an L-shaped pillow between your knees is great when side sleeping as it can promote a more neutral spine and reduce pain.
J-Shaped Body Pillow
Dimensions: 27 by 64 by 43 inches
J-shaped body pillows are a curved variation of an L-shaped pillow. Rather than being boxy, J-shaped pillows have a smooth shape reminiscent of the letter “J”. J-shaped body pillows are long and have a hook for added support.
J-shaped pillows offer support in various ways. If you place the pillow with the hook at your feet, the hook can support your knees and hips. If you rotate the pillow with the hook at your head, the hook acts like a pillow and gives you somewhere to place your arms.
Similarly, based on whether you face the long arm or turn away from it, you can either receive back support or have an object to hug.
C-Shaped Body Pillow
Dimensions: 24-30 by 55-62 inches
C-shaped pillows feature two hooks to provide head and leg support when sleeping. They’re cozy and provide full-body support without taking up too much space on your bed
A C-shaped pillow is also quite adjustable, meaning you can move the pillow’s hooks where you need. Breastfeeding mothers can hook the pillow around their waist and use it to hoist up their child when feeding.
U-Shaped Body Pillow
Dimensions: 25-30 by 55-60 inches
U-shaped body pillows are the largest body pillows, but they also provide the best full-body support. They have two long arms which you lay between and a curve at the top to support your head.
The downside to U-shaped body pillows is that they take up a lot of space. If you share a bed, it can act as a barrier between you and your partner. With that in mind, you need at least a queen or king bed to fit a U-shaped body pillow, especially if you share your bed.
Similarly, since U-shaped pillows wrap around you, it can feel a bit claustrophobic to be held in so closely by a pillow.
Benefits of Body Pillows
Body pillows aren’t only comfortable, but they can benefit your physical health and sleep quality. Some benefits to using body pillows include better posture, reduced snoring, less restlessness, and pregnancy pain relief.
Improves Spinal Alignment
Although side sleeping is quite popular, your hips can fall out of alignment and lead to pain in the long-term. Using a body pillow between your knees shifts your hips back in line with your spine, ensuring you won’t wake up stiff or sore. It also supports your body when side sleeping, making it easier for your muscles to relax.
Minimizes Snoring and Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Snoring and sleep apnea are both loud and disruptive to your sleep. Lying flat—particularly when on your back—can worsen snoring and sleep apnea as it blocks your airways.
Body pillows have a high loft—keeping your head up high—and are best for side sleepers, so when sleeping on your side with a thick pillow, your airways stay open and reduce snoring and sleep apnea.
Eases Pregnancy Pains
When pregnant, it’s common to struggle with lower back pain, edema, acid reflux, and more. In the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, your pregnant belly is large and can be painful to carry. As a pregnant woman, it’s safest both for yourself and your child to sleep on your side, while body pillows are primarily designed to support side sleeping.
The best body pillows for pregnancy can relieve back pain, improve circulation, and reduce acid reflux symptoms.
C and U-shaped pillows encompass your entire body, limiting your ability to move as much. For sleepers who struggle with getting comfortable or who tend to be restless, being held in place with a large body pillow may help you relax and get to sleep. If your restlessness is rooted in stress or anxiety, hugging a body pillow is shown to release oxytocin and reduce cortisol.
Is it bad to have a body pillow?
No, body pillows are more beneficial than they are harmful. Although they are occasionally geared towards pregnant women, all sleepers can use a body pillow. The shapes help with a variety of issues and offer different types of support.
One issue with these types of pillows is that they take up a lot of space, but that isn’t necessarily a big problem.
Are all body pillows the same size?
No, body pillows come in different shapes and sizes. Body pillows of the same shape come in various sizes depending on the brand you shop from. Pillow sizes can vary only an inch or 2 to a 10 or 25-inch difference. Always double-check the exact dimensions of the pillow you’re interested in to ensure it meets your needs.
Why are body pillows so expensive?
Compared to standard size pillows, body pillows are almost always pricier. They can cost somewhere between $50 to $200 depending on the shape and size Large pillows require more materials to produce them, thus the higher cost.
Are body pillows washable?
Yes, body pillows are washable. As with standard pillows, a body pillow’s care guidelines will depend on what the pillow is made out of. Most body pillows are machine-washable and dryer-safe, but others need to be hand-washed or spot cleaned.
We recommend that you wash your body pillow every 6 months. Be sure to always use a pillowcase with your body pillow to keep it clean. Wash the pillowcase every 1 to 2 weeks.
How long do body pillows last?
Most pillows last 1 to 2 years depending on the pillow’s fill. You can help extend your body pillow’s lifespan by always using a body pillow cover over it. Be sure to wash the pillow twice yearly and the case every 1 to 2 weeks.
While choosing the best body pillow can come down to personal preferences, consider what type of support you want and how big your bed is as it affects the pillow you can fit. You don’t have to struggle with bodily pain or any health conditions to enjoy the benefits of a long body pillow.
At the end of the day, body pillows can help you relax and promote better sleep.