Sleeping With a Pillow Between Your Knees

Finding a comfortable sleep position is key to getting enough restful sleep. But if you can’t ever seem to find that comfortable position, there could be a simple solution. Sleeping with a pillow between your knees can be beneficial for side sleepers and anyone looking to improve their sleep posture and overall sleep quality. 

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of sleeping with a pillow between your knees and how to choose a pillow to sleep comfortably in this position. 

Benefits of Sleeping With a Pillow Between Your Knees

Sleeping with a pillow between your knees can be helpful for some people. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this sleep position. 

Maintain Sleep Posture

Sleeping with a pillow between your knees can help improve your sleep posture, which can help prevent back and hip pain. Side sleepers can improve their sleep posture by filling the gap between their legs with a supportive pillow to keep the hips and pelvis symmetrically aligned with the spine. 

Help Alleviate Muscle and Joint Pain

If you deal with muscle or joint pain in your hips or legs, try placing a pillow between your knees.  This can help support the weight of your legs and take the pressure off of your lower back and hips, which could help relieve aches and stiffness. If you have knee pain, you may benefit from the additional comfort of a pillow to prevent your knees from touching. 

Prevent Tossing and Turning

If you’re feeling restless and unable to find a comfortable sleeping position, a pillow between your knees can help keep you from tossing and turning. Depending on the size and shape, a pillow can help keep you in one comfortable position all night long. 

Help Modify Your Sleep Position

Side sleeping is a commonly recommended sleep position to help relieve muscle or joint pain and reduce snoring. If you want to give side sleeping a try but don’t know how to start, a pillow between your knees can help. A pillow in this position keeps you from shifting to your back or stomach and can help form the habit of side sleeping. 

A man sleeps on his side, resting his head on the FluffCo down & feather pillow.

Improve Blood Circulation

One of the benefits of side sleeping is that it increases blood circulation throughout your body. 

You might have poor circulation in your legs if you experience a numbing sensation or swollen limbs when you wake up. Elevating your leg with a pillow can promote blood flow and help prevent varicose veins from developing. 

Who Should Sleep With a Pillow Between Their Knees?

Here’s a closer look at who might want to consider sleeping with a pillow between their knees.

People with Back Pain

An estimated 75-85% of adults experience back pain at some point in their life, and a 2019 survey found around 8% of Americans deal with chronic severe back pain. Back pain can be caused by a medical condition, strained muscles, or poor spinal alignment. 

Side sleepers with back pain can place a pillow between their knees to help align their spine, hips, and pelvis and help prevent strain on their back muscles. This position also takes pressure off the lower back by supporting the legs and keeping the pelvis from rotating during the night.

RELATED: How to Sleep with Back Pain 

People with Hip Pain

Like back pain, hip pain can be caused by misalignment or poor sleep posture. Placing a pillow between your knees can improve your sleep posture by preventing your hips from twisting in your sleep. The pillow helps keep your legs comfortably stacked on top of each other, which can  help reduce hip strain and aching joints. Keep in mind that side sleeping may not be a comfortable position for all people with hip pain.  

RELATED: How to Sleep with Hip Pain 

People with Scoliosis

For those with scoliosis, it’s especially important to keep the shoulders, spine, and hips neutrally aligned as you sleep. A knee pillow can lift your upper leg into neutral alignment when you’re lying on your side, and it can help prevent your body from twisting in your sleep. 

People with Sciatica

Those with sciatica may struggle to sleep comfortably due to lower back, hip, and leg pain. Sciatic pain is usually felt on one side of the body, and side sleeping can help reduce strain on the sciatic nerve. A knee pillow can help take pressure off your sciatic nerve and help keep your spine, hips, and pelvis aligned. 

People with Sleep Apnea

Those with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can utilize positional therapy as an intervention approach to reduce snoring. Doctors recommend that those with sleep apnea sleep on their side to take pressure off their airways. Body pillows or knee pillows can help train people with OSA to stay positioned on their side throughout the night.

Pregnant People

Side sleeping is also the recommended sleep position for pregnant people. With a growing baby bump, pregnant people will likely experience lower back pain and discomfort while trying to fall asleep. To relieve lower back pain and increase blood circulation, the American Pregnancy Association recommends sleeping with your legs slightly bent with a pillow between your knees. Using a pregnancy pillow is another way to sleep comfortably on your side and find full body support while you are pregnant. 

RELATED: How To Get The Best Sleep During Your Pregnancy (And After)

Drawbacks of Sleeping With a Pillow Between Your Knees

While sleeping with a pillow between the knees can be beneficial for many people, it may not be helpful for everyone. Here are a few reasons why this configuration might not work for you. 

May Cause More Discomfort

Some people may feel pressure around their hips and knees in this position, especially if they have pre-existing pain in those areas. If sleeping with a pillow between your knees worsens your hip or knee pain, then we don’t recommend continuing to sleep in this position. 

May Impair Pelvic Alignment

Placing the wrong pillow between your knees can bring your hips out of neutral alignment. For example, a tall, dense pillow could lift your leg too high and create discomfort. You may want to consider placing an adjustable pillow between your knees, such as the COOP Original. By adding or removing the filling, you can easily get the pillow to the best height for you. 

Traps Body Heat

Just like some mattresses, pillows can also trap body heat. A pillow made from dense, non-breathable materials, such as memory foam, can absorb the heat between your legs and make you feel uncomfortable. Take a look at our list of the best cooling pillows for some breathable options. 

Takes Up Space

Whether the pillow between your knees is a standard size or a body pillow, an additional pillow will occupy space in your bed. This is something to keep in mind if you sleep with a partner. Although keeping a pillow between your knees is meant to keep you in a stable sleep position, it might also restrict your partner’s movements. 

How to Choose a Knee Pillow

When it comes to knee pillows, some are better than others. You will want to choose a pillow that has the proper amount of support and the right loft, or height, depending on your frame. Knee pillows come in a few shapes and sizes, and some are contoured to the gap between your legs. Hot sleepers may want to consider getting a pillow with cooling features so that their legs don’t overheat during the night.

The Best Knee Pillows

Here are a few pillows on the market designed to provide full-body support and help you achieve neutral spine alignment. 

COOP Sleep Goods Body Pillow

The COOP Sleep Goods body pillow has a shredded memory foam filling and is a good fit for all three sleep positions. It has an adjustable loft, so sleepers can customize it to their needs. 

Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

Boppy Side Sleeper Pregnancy Pillow

The Boppy is a versatile pregnancy pillow that can be used in several ways, including between the knees while side sleeping. It consists of two pillows that are connected by a removable outer cover. This is a great pregnancy pillow for people looking for lower back pain relief or belly support. 


The Snoogle is a C-shaped pregnancy pillow that wraps around your entire body. Side sleepers can wrap the Snoogle around their shoulders and between their legs to help achieve neutral spine alignment and keep from tossing and turning. It also replaces the need for pregnant people to sleep with multiple pillows at once to support their bodies.

A woman rests on her side while she cuddles the Leachco Snoogle body pillow.


Does sleeping with a pillow between your legs help knock knees?

Sleeping with a pillow between your legs may help alleviate joint pain caused by knock knees. A pillow can also prevent knock knees from stacking on top of each other, which may be painful. However, knock knees cannot be treated or corrected by sleeping with a pillow between your legs.

Does sleeping with a pillow between your legs fix posture?

One benefit of sleeping with a pillow between your knees is that it may improve sleep posture while side sleeping. A pillow can fill in the gap between your knees and help keep your hips and pelvis in neutral alignment with your spine.

Does sleeping with a pillow between your legs help circulation?

Yes, sleeping with a pillow between your legs while lying on your side can help blood circulation. Side sleeping promotes blood flow to your limbs while keeping your internal organs protected. Elevating your legs with a pillow also improves circulation by using gravity to assist blood flow back to the heart.

Can sleeping with a pillow between your legs help you grow?

It’s a common misconception that sleeping with a pillow between your legs can help you grow taller, but this is untrue. Sleeping with a pillow between your legs can improve your spinal alignment as you sleep, which may indirectly affect your posture. Improved posture might give the appearance of growing taller, but it’s not directly caused by a knee pillow.

Celeste Parler

Celeste is an editorial intern for Mattress Clarity and a current senior at Texas State University studying digital media innovation. After graduating in December 2023, she hopes to work in the realm of content marketing and SEO and become a content creator. In her spare time, she enjoys supporting local musicians and watching reality TV.