While there are many reasons someone may develop chronic lower back, hip, or knee pain, numerous studies point to sleeping position as a possible culprit.
Most experts agree that sleeping on your back is best for back health, as this position encourages a neutral spine and neck.
Side sleeping, on the other hand, has been associated with a number of chronic conditions, including low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and hip pain, and knee pain.
So what if, like most American adults, you sleep on your side?
The good news is that you don’t have to change your sleeping position in order to minimize the negative effects associated with side sleeping.
In fact, sleeping on your side with your neck, hips, and knees properly supported can be just as gentle on the spine as sleeping on your back.
According to experts, one of the best ways to ensure proper alignment of the lower body when sleeping on your side is to use a knee pillow.
In this guide, we’ll review the best knee pillows currently being sold.
- ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow
- Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
- Abco Tech Half Moon Pillow Bolster
- Aocome Knee Pillow
- Cush Comfort knee pillow
- Modvel Orthopaedic Knee Pillow
- Half-Moon Bolster by Coop Home Goods
But first, we’ll discuss the benefits of using knee pillows and offer a few tips for the first-time buyer.
Why Use a Knee Pillow?
Knee pillows provide extra cushioning between the knees in order to prevent the knee joints from rubbing together.
They also encourage optimal alignment of the lower back, hips and knees while you sleep.
Knee pillows are particularly beneficial for side sleepers, but they are also recommended for:
Back sleepers – While supine sleep is thought to be the best position for managing lower back pain, many back sleepers can benefit from using knee pillows. A pillow placed under each knee, for example, can help alleviate tension and pressure in the lower back. This position also elevates the lower body, thereby increasing circulation in the legs.
Individuals with hip, knee, or back pain – Sleeping on your side, with one leg stacked on top of the other, throws the lumbar spine out of alignment and increases pressure on the lower back. Over time, this can lead to chronic hip, knee, and lower back pain. Knee pillows keep the knees, hip, and lower back aligned in order to reduce pressure and pain.
Pregnant women – Using a knee pillow can help pregnant women alleviate the extra pressure placed on the pelvis and hips as their bodies change.
Types of Knee Pillows
Knee pillows come in many different shapes, but the most common ones are hourglass, wedge, and half-moon.
There are also body pillows which, while not specifically designed for the knee, can provide whole-body support for side sleepers.
This is the most popular knee pillow shape.
This type of pillow features contouring along the sides that fits against the natural contours of the knees for maximum comfort and stability.
These pillows have a triangular shape.
They are ideal for use under the knees when sleeping on your back, but they can also be used between the knees for extra cushioning when sleeping on your side.
These pillows resemble a cylinder that has been cut in half lengthwise.
Like wedge pillows, half-moon pillows are most suitable for back sleepers, but side sleepers can benefit from using them as well.
This versatile support pillow can be used to support the head, neck, hips knees, and legs while you sleep.
Body pillows are also ideal for pregnant women who need extra support for the abdominal region.
Body pillows come in a variety of shapes, including a “J” shape, which is designed to keep the head in proper alignment with the spine.
What to Look for When Buying a Knee Pillow
Below are a few features to look for when comparing knee pillows for sleeping.
The right shape knee pillow for you depends on your sleep position.
In general, hourglass-shaped pillows are best suited to stomach and side sleepers, while back sleepers may prefer a half-moon or wedge shape.
The thickness of the knee pillow will determine how much cushioning it provides.
There are no set guidelines for choosing a pillow’s thickness, but many experts recommend using your body weight as a benchmark.
Generally speaking, heavier people will benefit from the extra cushioning and support provided by thicker pillows, while lighter people may find a thinner knee pillow to be more comfortable.
Knee pillows are usually filled with a single piece of high-density memory foam, but you’ll find plenty of body pillows on the market that are filled with down, down alternative, shredded foam, and even water.
Another filling that is growing in popularity is buckwheat hull.
While more research needs to be done on the benefits of this natural pillow filling, it is thought that buckwheat helps distribute the body weight more evenly, thereby relieving the lower back pressure that contributes to chronic pain .
Cool vs. Warm
Another important consideration when choosing a knee pillow is whether you’re a “warm” sleeper or a “cool” sleeper.
If you tend to feel cold at night, you may prefer a pillow made from a material that traps body heat.
If, on the other hand, you tend to feel hot at night, you’ll want to consider a knee pillow made with cooling gel and/or covered with a breathable material.
The material used on the outside of the knee pillow will not only determine the pillows comfort, but also its breathability.
Common materials used for knee pillow coverings are cotton, polyester, nylon, and rayon.
There is also a growing number of knee pillows on the market that feature covers made from bamboo fibre, which is naturally antimicrobial.
A decent knee pillow should cost you no more than $30, but there are some “speciality” pillows that carry a much higher price tag.
Do your homework before purchasing a pillow, and remember that the price of a pillow does not necessarily reflect its quality.
The Best Knee Pillows for Sleeping
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of using knee pillows and what you should be looking for when buying one, we’ll review the best knee pillows for sleeping that are currently being sold.
We’ve based our selections on comfort, durability, price, and overall customer satisfaction.
1. ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow
- Made from high-density memory foam
- Lightweight construction
- Breathable, removable cover
- Backed by customer satisfaction guarantee
- May be too small and thin for some
Like many knee pillows, the ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow is filled with 100 per cent high-density memory foam.
Weighing only 12 ounces, however, this hourglass-shaped pillow is much lighter than other memory foam knee pillows on the market.
The ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow features a breathable, removable cover that is machine washable.
This pillow provides firm support, but some customers have complained that it is too small and thin.
Fortunately, the pillow is backed by a 100-per cent customer satisfaction guarantee, allowing you to try it out before buying it.
2. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow
- Carrying case included with purchase
- Comes with two pairs of memory foam ear plugs
- Backed by lifetime replacement warranty
- May be too thin for some
- Tends to flatten over time
The Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow shares the same hourglass-shaped design as the ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow, with the addition of a removable knee strap that can be used to hold the pillow in place as you sleep.
This convenient feature makes the pillow ideal for side sleepers, pregnant women, and others who may have difficulty keeping their knee pillow in place throughout the night.
Reviews for the Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow pillow are overwhelmingly positive, but those with heavier legs may find the pillow too thin.
A few customers have also complained that the pillow tends to lose its shape over time, but this minor fault is covered by a generous lifetime replacement warranty.
3. Abco Tech Half Moon Pillow Bolster
- Breathable, removable cotton cover
- Can be used on other parts of the body
- Durable design
- Backed by a risk-free money-back guarantee
- May be too firm for some
The Abco Tech Half Moon Pillow Bolster is a versatile support pillow that can be used on various parts of the body.
Tuck the pillow between your knees, under your knees, or under your neck while sleeping to reduce strain on the joints and boost circulation.
During the day, the pillow can be used as a lumbar support pillow while you work or watch TV.
The Half Moon Pillow Bolster features a memory-foam core wrapped in two soft cotton covers that are removable and machine washable.
This pillow provides very firm support, which some may find uncomfortable.
The product is backed by a 100-per cent money back satisfaction guarantee, however, so you can try the knee pillow out for a few nights before deciding whether you want to buy it.
4. Aocome Knee Pillow
- Built-in leg strap for added stability
- Soft shearing cover
- Backed by a 45-day money-back guarantee
- Comes with bonus sleep mask
- Covering material traps body heat
The Aocome Knee Pillow’s design is similar in concept to the Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow, but the leg strap on the Aocome pillow is not removable.
The pillow features an hourglass shape, which helps distribute leg pressure more evenly, and is covered with a luxurious shearing cover that is removable and machine washable.
The cover material tends to trap body heat, though, so if you’re a “warm” sleeper, this pillow may not be right for you.
5. Cush Comfort Knee Pillow
- Extended length for better spinal alignment
- Washable cotton cover
- Ideal for side sleepers
- Doesn’t stay in place throughout the night
The Cush Comfort knee pillow features an extended design that provides extra support in the thigh and calf areas.
The pillow is made with 100-per cent pure memory foam and wrapped in a thick cotton cover that is removable and machine washable.
This pillow is ideal for side sleepers, as it encourages optimal alignment of the spine, hips, and legs as you sleep.
Some may find the pillow difficult to keep in place throughout the night, however, as it does not have any leg straps.
6. Modvel Orthopedic Knee Pillow
- Available in packs of 2
- Made with professional-grade memory foam
- Covered with breathable, hypoallergenic material
- Backed by lifetime replacement warranty
- May be too big and thick for some
This hourglass-shaped knee pillow is made with physician-approved memory foam, so you can be sure it will retain its shape with repeated use.
The pillow is covered with a breathable, hypoallergenic cover to ensure maximum comfort throughout the night.
This pillow is a great choice for heavier individuals, as it is quite thick. Lighter and thinner individuals may find the pillow uncomfortable.
7. Half-Moon Bolster Support Pillow
- Bamboo fibre cover
- Adjustable design
- Backed by 30-day money-back guarantee
- Tends to lose its shape
- May not be firm enough for some
The 4 Position Half-Moon Bolster by Coop Home Goods is similar to the Abco Tech Half Moon bolster in that it features a half-cylinder shape and consists of a high-density memory-foam core.
What makes the 4 Position Half-Moon Bolster unique is its removable foam insert, which can be used to adjust the thickness of the pillow for different body parts and sleep positions.
This pillow is only moderately firm, so some may not find it supportive enough.
A few customers have also complained that the pillow tends to lose its shape after a few weeks.
The pillow is backed by a 30 -day money-back guarantee, though, so if you are not satisfied with the product, you can return it for a full refund.
Our Pick: Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow
We’ve chosen the Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow as our top recommendation based on the pillow’s versatility, comfort, ease of maintenance, and budget-friendly price.
We also like that the manufacturer stands behind its product with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
Also nice are the included earbuds, which turn the Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow into a complete sleep “kit.”
It is estimated that we spend a third of our lives sleeping, so supporting the spine at night is crucial.
Consider using a knee pillow to reduce pressure on the lower back and prevent the development or worsening of chronic pain.