Side Sleepers Can Now Address Pain in their Backs and Knees

Posted by Eileen Pelletier on August 06, 2018. 0 Comments

Posted on June 4, 2018 by sleepyheadcentral in Consumer Sleep Technology (CST), Mattresses, Pillows & Other Bedroom Items, Pain & Sleep, Sleep, Sleep Hygiene 

People have sleep problems for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the recurring problem of pain and discomfort while reclining.


Back pain is a significant cause of poor sleep, especially among those with chronic problems that include arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasticity, nocturnal leg cramps, and joint degeneration.

When your sleeping quarters are a pain

Part of the challenge may also come from a less-than-ideal bedroom situation.

For instance, some people sleep better in a reclining chair but may have pain problems due to sleeping in that posture.

Another source of back pain could be an old mattress. Mattresses need to be replaced, but the cost of a good mattress often outprices one’s need to buy one.

Note from curator: You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to find a good mattress, despite marketing messages to the contrary.

Pillows are another area where solutions can be found that can help reduce neck pain during sleep.

A knee pillow for knee pain

However, many people struggle to be comfortable while sleeping on their sides even when their neck pillow works for them. Learning how to sleep supine (on the back) isn’t easy after a lifetime of favoring side sleep.

And some people must adhere to side sleeping as a solution to mild sleep apnea or snoring (as opposed to back, or supine, sleeping).

Even with a comfortable pillow to support the neck and shoulders, side sleepers may still struggle with pain where the knees rest at night.

Eileen Pelletier of Montreal struggled with the problem of both knee and back pain caused by side sleeping. She developed a strap-on knee pillow called the Sleepy Kneez. It simply attaches to above the knee, providing a soft cushion between the knees while sleeping on one’s side.eileen goldfarb pelletier sleepykneez knee pillow sleep

Previously, she had tried simply placing small pillows between the knees. She found that they would slip out of position while she slept.

The Sleepy Kneez, because it straps to the knee using a soft elastic strap with adjustable Velcro, typically stays put.

By holding the knees in a more comfortable stacked position, the pillow also facilitates alignment of the hips. Aligned hips during sleep means fewer problems with lower back stiffness in the morning.

Pelletier reports that she has approached numerous healthcare professionals (such as chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists, and physical therapists) with her knee pillow and has enjoyed positive reviews. One physiotherapist even asked, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Review: Sleepy Kneez knee pillow

SHC reached out to Pelletier for a sample of the Sleepy Kneez and received the original polyester-filled pillow. We found it lightweight and soft, and it comes with clear instructions. This simple product is, indeed, a stroke of genius. The SHC curator has used the pillow a few times and found the following:

• It’s easy to strap on, and the Velcro closure and strap itself adjust to any leg size.

• This pillow is most beneficial to those who sleep mostly or always on their side. While the pillow stays with you as you turn over, you may notice it and need to adjust it slightly if you change positions often. However, this isn’t likely to happen any more often than when adjusting one’s pillow under their head.

• The Velcro strap is long and elastic enough to fit most legs. However, those with edema (swelling) may still awaken with slight red marks on the legs where the strap made contact. The red marks are temporary and shouldn’t lead to ongoing discomfort. Just be sure to adjust the pillow so it isn’t tightly fixed to the leg.

• Someone with more muscular legs or bony knees may find the newer memory foam versions (priced at $34.99 and $69.99) more appealing.

• The original Sleepy Kneez is priced affordably at $19.99 (unlike many specialty pillows!). However, SHC suggests picking up a soft pillow cover ($17.99) or purchasing the new version with the pillow cover included ($34.99). The original pillow is slightly slippery by itself. It may shift out of position as you sleep for this reason.

• Also, the pillow, without a cover, requires dry cleaning. However, using the washable pillow cover makes cleanup easy; just unzip the pillow cover and wash at home.

• The original polyester filled pillow suits most needs. However, some people really love memory foam. Sleepy Kneez fortunately offers a memory foam version.

• This dense little pillow doesn’t lose its loft while wearing it. It maintains good supportive cushioning between the knees all night.

• It’s small enough to pack in a suitcase for traveling.

• People who struggle with staying cool at night as they sleep (women in menopause, for instance) may find placing an additional pillow between the knees more “warming.” However, Pelletier has developed a customized gel pack ($9.99) that can help keep it cool to the touch which might help alleviate this concern.

• Women in the early to middle stages of pregnancy, and during the postpartum period, would certainly benefit from using this pillow, as many pregnancy-related back problems are caused by physiological changes in the joints of the knees, hips, and pelvis. Keeping them in even alignment at night should help with discomfort.

• This pillow doesn’t promise to solve preexisting posture problems. Please seek the care of a medical professional for longstanding back pain issues.

To learn more about this sleep product, visit the Sleepy Kneez website.

Check out the Sleepy Kneez Facebook page.

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