Waking up with stiffness or discomfort in your knees, hips, and lower back may happen due to body misalignment when you sleep on the side. Placing a pillow between your knees might help relieve discomfort and improve your sleep quality. Thus, knee pillows can become the best sleep accessory if you face similar issues.
In this article, discover our top 5 picks for the best knee pillows designed for side sleeper support. Explore their advantages in promoting better body alignment to find the best value knee pillow.
Best knee pillow: a shortlist
- Cushion Lab — best side sleeper knee pillow
- Coop — best orthopedic knee pillow
- Carex — best spinal alignment knee pillow
- Sharper Image — best cooling foam leg pillow
- Ortorex — best pressure relief knee pillow
How we ranked the best knee pillows
Discover how we picked the best knee pillows for your sleep aid. Here are the criteria we used.
|Adequate knee support for spinal alignment
|Durability, quality, and construction
- Knee support. We assessed whether these knee pillows could offer the necessary support.
- Materials. Our focus was on the quality of filling materials, considering factors such as durability, texture, and the pillow's overall longevity.
- Certification. We prioritized products that are certified and have undergone testing for emissions, content, performance, and durability.
- Price. We've included options across various price ranges to cater to every budget, ensuring quality isn't compromised.
Best knee pillow: reviews of top brands
Knee pillows might provide comfort and reduce mild back or hip discomfort. It's important to mention that there is not enough scientific evidence stating its overall effectiveness.
Below you can find our top choices for the best knee pillows, designed to offer optimal comfort, selected based on our criteria.
1. Cushion Lab — best side sleeper knee pillow
The Cushion Lab knee pillow earns the top spot as the best knee pillow for side sleepers on our list due to its great value and standout features. Crafted from dynamic, rebounding viscose elastic memory foam and hypoallergenic, breathable, 100% recycled polyester, it precisely contours legs and knees, which may offer firm support to alleviate lower back pressure for side sleepers.
Cushion Lab states that this knee pillow enhances correct spine alignment and improves blood circulation. The brand also claims it effectively aligns and separates legs, maintaining a neutral hip position relative to the spine. This might minimize lower back tension and may offer significant relief from back discomfort, potentially addressing issues like sciatica and pregnancy-related hip discomfort.
Priced at $39.00, the Cushion Lab high-quality knee pillow is CertiPUR-US® certified and has a 1-year warranty and free shipping.
2. Coop — best orthopedic knee pillow for ultimate comfort
Securing the second spot on our list for the best orthopedic knee pillow for side sleepers is Coop. Unlike other pillows, it has 1” and 2” removable inserts, allowing users to adjust the gaps for personalized comfort.
Made from solid memory foam for added support, the Coop knee pillow has an ergonomic hourglass shape that precisely contours to your body. The brand claims this design relieves pressure on your legs and hips while promoting spinal alignment, ultimately reducing discomfort.
The Coop knee pillow also contains CertiPUR-US® certified hypoallergenic materials free from harmful chemicals and meets the top product safety standards.
Priced at $40.00, the Coop offers a 100-night risk-free trial, signature adjustability, and machine washable cover.
3. Carex — best spinal alignment knee pillow
In our final fit position, we placed the Carex knee pillow. Ergonomically designed, Carex knee pillow conforms to your leg's shape. The positioning of the pillow may also align the spine, reduce lower back and leg tension, and offer excellent comfort during and post-pregnancy.
The Carex knee pillow is made from premium, hypoallergenic memory foam, demonstrating a commitment to providing safer products. The pillow also has a soft, removable cover convenient for machine washing.
Priced at $24.72, the Carex is the most affordable knee pillow option. It is great to consider for restful sleep, catering to pregnant women, side sleepers, and those seeking comfort.
4. Sharper Image — best cooling foam leg pillow
The cooling foam leg support pillow by Sharper Image is a great pillow for side sleepers, offering ultimate alignment. This pillow has a dual-layer inner core design that maintains stability and support while the outer "memory gel" layer remains cool and molds to your legs and knees.
According to the brand, this innovative pillow cushions knees and legs and restores alignment for the back, hips, and pelvis, enhancing the overall sleep experience. The included soft, velour cover is easily removable for machine washing. This product might offer a more restful night's sleep with improvements over traditional and memory foam leg pillows.
Priced at $69.99, Sharper Image offers a 1-year limited replacement warranty. Although it is the priciest option, it is a compelling option to consider.
5. Ortorex — best pressure relief knee pillow
The Ortorex knee pillow is in fourth position in our top 5 list, as it has features to promote comfortable and healthy side sleeping with its unique triangular shape and a comfort strap. Crafted from premium viscoelastic foam with a memory effect, it quickly regains its original condition, never losing orthopedic properties.
The brand claims that the orthopedic pillow helps align your legs, hips, and spine, reduces tension in the hips and back area, enhances knee comfort, and may provide support during pregnancy.
In addition, the Ortorex knee pillow is made with a removable cover, crafted from durable, hypoallergenic materials, and is easily washable. Ideal for side sleepers, it offers adjustable, hypoallergenic, flexible, and breathable features.
Priced at $64.98, the Ortorex is certified by CertiPUR–US, offers orthopedic contours, and a better potential sleep experience.
Comparison of the best knee pillows
|Gel memory foam
What is a knee pillow?
A knee pillow is a specially designed memory foam pillow that fits between the knees when sleeping or resting. Its primary purpose is to provide support and alignment for the legs, hips, and spine.
Placing the knee pillow between the knees, it helps maintain a more natural and comfortable position, potentially reducing strain on the lower back and promoting proper spinal alignment. This might be beneficial for individuals who suffer from back pain, hip discomfort, or sciatica.
Knee pillows come in various shapes and materials, such as memory foam or ergonomic designs, catering to different preferences and sleeping positions. Overall, the key function of a knee pillow is to enhance sleep quality by alleviating pressure points and supporting the body's natural posture during rest.
Knee pillow vs regular pillow
A knee pillow differs from a regular pillow in its purpose and design. While a standard pillow primarily supports the head and neck, a knee pillow is designed to fit between the knees to potentially promote spinal alignment and reduce strain on the lower back.
The essential advantage lies in its distinct features — the knee pillow might be thicker, higher, firmer, and made in different shapes to conform to knees. This may target specific pressure points and support your hips, which may lead to enhanced overall sleep quality.
The ergonomic design and specialized functionality make knee pillows a valuable addition to sleep accessories, addressing sleep posture and comfort in a way that standard pillows cannot replicate.
Knee pillow types
There are various knee pillow types tailored to different needs and preferences. Find a few examples below.
The hourglass-shaped knee pillow features a contoured design that perfectly fits between the legs, providing optimal support for side sleepers. Its unique shape aligns the hips and spine, which may reduce discomfort and promote better sleep.
Although there isn't sufficient scientific evidence directly supporting the effectiveness of hourglass knee pillows, we can draw insights from some studies on body pillows. Park et al. (2021) study shows that body pillows, sharing similarities with hourglass knee pillows, significantly decreased the need to switch positions throughout the night and improved body pressure distribution.
Wedge pillows feature a triangular design, offering a subtle elevation for the legs. Particularly favored by back sleepers, these pillows are commonly positioned beneath the knees, providing a gentle incline. This design promotes comfort by alleviating pressure on the lower back and enhancing overall relaxation during sleep.
Body pillows, extending their full length, are favored by sleepers seeking elevation and support not only for the knees but also for other body parts like the neck, stomach, back, or hip.
This versatile option is well-suited for pregnant women, side sleepers, and individuals seeking consistent support during their entire sleep duration.
Benefits of using a pillow for in between legs
Here are some advantages of using a pillow for in between legs. Discover ways it provides comfort, alignment, and relief from discomfort.
Ensuring proper hip alignment can be beneficial for overall comfort during sleep. The right knee pillow can help maintain a neutral hip position, potentially reducing stress on the hips and alleviating discomfort associated with misalignment. This may be a viable option for individuals experiencing hip discomfort.
Spinal alignment and correct posture
A knee pillow may play a role in maintaining spinal alignment, which is beneficial for back health. Placing the knee pillow between the knees helps keep the spine in a more neutral position, preventing unnecessary twisting or curvature. This correct posture can contribute to reducing back pain and promoting a healthier spine over time.
Potentially enhanced sleep quality
By addressing hip and spinal alignment issues, a knee pillow has the potential to enhance sleep quality. When the body is properly aligned, it reduces the likelihood of discomfort and promotes a more restful sleep experience. This might be relevant for individuals who struggle with conditions such as sciatica, arthritis, or general discomfort that may impact sleep.
Other ways to improve your sleep
- Create a consistent sleep schedule. Establish a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Consistency reinforces your body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally. Establishing healthy sleep habits contributes to proper metabolism, reducing the risk of chronic diseases. In today's world, many adults have the flexibility to choose their schedules and adjust social commitments to suit their preferred circadian rhythm.
- Create a relaxing bedtime ritual. Develop calming pre-sleep rituals toto signal to your body that it's time to go to bed. This could include activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing. Listening to calming sounds and music can also enhance sleep quality by influencing the regulation of hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol. Creating a peaceful bedtime routine helps transition from the busyness of the day to a more relaxed state conducive to sleep.
Best knee pillow — conclusion
While there is not enough scientific evidence to demonstrate that a knee pillow has effective outcomes, we can use scientific studies on body pillows' effectiveness in comparison, as they have a lot of traits and functionalities similar to a knee pillow.
Knee pillows are a sleep accessory that provides an easy way to improve sleep quality if you deal with knee and hip discomfort or want a more restful night's sleep. Using a knee high-quality knee pillow is a small change that can make a noticeable difference in your comfort.
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Do knee pillows really work?
Yes, knee pillows can be effective in promoting optimal sleep posture by supporting spinal alignment and reducing lower back strain. Their design targets specific pressure points, enhancing comfort and potentially improving sleep quality for many individuals.
Should I compress my knee overnight?
Compressing your knee overnight may provide support and reduce swelling, but it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional. They can assess your specific condition and recommend appropriate measures to ensure the compression is safe and beneficial for your knee health.
How can I stabilize my knees while sleeping?
To stabilize your knees while sleeping, consider using a knee pillow. Placing it between your knees helps maintain proper alignment and reduces strain. Additionally, sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees may also provide stability and comfort.
- Sleep Medicine Research. Effects of Body Pillow Use on Sleeping Posture and Sleep Architecture in Healthy Young Adults.
- Nature Communications. Importance of circadian timing for aging and longevity.
- University of Rochester Medical Centre. Good Sleeping Posture Helps Your Back