Body Pillow Dimensions

Body pillows are oversized pillows generally made with side sleepers in mind. They provide proper cushioning and promote healthy spinal alignment while in bed. Pregnant women may also be particularly interested in body pillows for belly and back support.

Due to the unique shapes of body pillows, dimensions often vary from brand-to-brand, though the most standard, rectangular body pillow is 20 by 54 inches. The average body pillow’s loft (or height) is between 5 to 8 inches to accommodate side sleepers.

Our article discusses different body pillows options as well as their dimensions to give you a better idea of what pillow may be best for you.

Pillow ShapeDimensions (inches)Dimensions (cm)
Rectangular20 x 5451 x 137
Cylindrical15 x 6038 x 152
U-Shaped25 – 30 x 55 – 6064 – 76 x 140 – 152
C-Shaped24 – 30 x 55 – 6061 – 76 x 140 – 152
J-Shaped27 x 64 x 4369 x 163 x 109
L-Shaped28 x 5471 x 137

Rectangular

Rectangular pillows are likely what you think of when you hear “body pillow.” They’re 20 by 54 inches and straight with no curves. Some rectangular pillows can be as long as 72 inches, so tall sleepers can use them too. While rectangular pillows are simple compared to other body pillow models, they still provide great head and leg support and keep your spine aligned.

Cylindrical

Cylindrical pillows measure 15 by 60 inches. They’re functionally similar to a rectangular body pillow as they’re both long and straight, however, cylindrical pillows are round and have a high loft as opposed to being wide and a bit shorter. Cylindrical pillows can also be used decoratively with a pillowcase or sham.

U-Shaped

The U-shaped pillow is arguably one of the most supportive body pillows as it provides head, neck, back, and leg support. It measures at 25-30 by 55-60 inches, depending on the manufacturer, and has two long arms connected by a curved top to cradle your body.

While the pillows are quite comfortable, they do take up lots of space on your bed. You could potentially squeeze a U-shaped pillow onto a twin or full bed, but they’re better suited for a queen or king bed.

C-Shaped

C-shaped pillows are round pillows and measure from 24-30 by 55-60 inches, as manufacturer’s measurements vary. It’s a long pillow with two hooks on either end for head and leg support, with cushioning for your back as well. It’s not as enclosed as a U-shaped pillow, and you can adjust the arms of the pillow to suit your body as needed.

J-Shaped

J-shaped pillows are curved body pillows with different arm lengths. A J-shaped pillow measures at 27 by 63 (long arm) by 43 inches (short arm). They’re similar to U-shaped pillows as they support the legs, hips, and back. However, J-shaped pillows give your feet a solid place to rest so your ankles aren’t rubbing against each other.

L-Shaped

L-shaped pillows measure 28 by 54 inches and support your head, neck, and legs. You can either face the pillow’s long arm to support your back, or turn away from it for leg and arm support. You might try facing away from it, or switch between the two positions when using an L-shaped pillow.

Why Use a Body Pillow?

Body pillows are a useful sleep aid, especially when you’re recovering from an injury or struggling with pain or discomfort. However, even when you have no pre-existing pain or health conditions, using body pillows can foster better sleep and keep your body aligned throughout the night.

Relieves Pregnancy Pains

Body pillows are frequently marketed for pregnant women because the pillows can sometimes relieve discomfort associated with pregnancy. Lower back and pelvic pain is a common symptom when pregnant, and body pillows support a growing belly and keep the spine aligned to minimize discomfort. You can also reduce acid reflux symptoms by keeping your head slightly elevated on the pillow.

Promotes Deeper Sleep

Hugging a body pillow can calm you down and decrease stress and anxiety, a common cause of insomnia. Also, larger body pillows, such as U or C-shaped pillows, hold you in place to limit restlessness and help you relax.

For individuals with sleep apnea, sleeping restfully can be difficult as the inability to breathe properly can wake you up. Side sleeping on a body pillow, as well as the slight elevation from the pillow, may relieve your symptoms and make it easier to breathe at night.

Improves Joint and Muscle Pain

Body pillows can improve back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as provide full-body support. Using a body pillow may improve blood circulation and reduce the pressure on achy joints. If you have any physical health conditions or are recovering from an injury, resting against a body pillow can be relaxing and prevent further pain.

Multifunctional

Not only are body pillows great to sleep on, but they can be comfortable to lean against and provide lumbar spine support when reading or watching TV. Also, mothers of infants can use body pillows when nursing—C-shaped pillows, in particular, are helpful as you can wrap them around your midsection to prop up both yourself and your child.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store a body pillow?

When storing a body pillow, choose a space where you can keep the pillow off the ground and away from condensation as this can cause mold and dust buildup.

Vacuum-sealing a pillow is great for saving space and protecting your pillows from dust, though only polyester and cotton pillows are okay to vacuum-seal. Pillow fills such as memory foam, latex, or down, need air, and vacuum-sealing these materials can ruin their shape and fluffiness. Use storage containers or plastic bags to store more delicate pillows.

How long do body pillows last?

As with standard pillows, you should replace your body pillow every 1 to 2 years. Over time, your pillow absorbs bodily fluids, dead skin cells, and dust. Old pillows can attract dust mites and trigger allergies, such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, or irritated eyes and skin.

If you’re unsure how old your pillow is, complete the fold test—fold your pillow in half and hold for thirty seconds before releasing. A new pillow should spring back quickly, but if your pillow stays folded, it’s likely worn down and in need of a replacement.

Is it healthy to sleep without pillows?

The only situation where you might sleep without a pillow is if you stomach sleep; however, we don’t recommend stomach sleeping as it can aggravate your lower back pain and cause neck stiffness. Always use a pillow suited for your sleeping position.

What is a bolster pillow?

Bolster pillows are long, narrow pillows and are available in cylinder or half-moon shapes. You place them under your knees when back sleeping, under your neck and head for any sleep position, or against your lower back when seated. Bolster pillows support the lower back, head, and neck, depending on their placement.

What is a boudoir pillow?

Boudoir pillows are small, rectangular pillows. They are decorative and not meant to be slept on, though you might use them as cushions for your lower back when sitting upright.

Conclusion

Body pillows are available in many different shapes and sizes to fit various needs, and great for reducing pain and discomfort. If you’re struggling to get comfortable in bed, you might consider a body pillow for extra cushioning and support. While certain body pillows can take up a bit of space, the benefits you reap may just be worth it for better sleep.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

Michelle Zhang, Wellness Writer Michelle Zhang

Michelle Zhang is a regular contributor to our Zoma blog and is our go-to sleep researcher. In her time with Zoma, Michelle has researched and published many articles on widespread sleeping habits and troubles. In her time outside of Zoma, Michelle is an occupational therapist and long-distance runner. She believes leading a healthy lifestyle is the key to getting better sleep at night.

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