You can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep. Proper sleep is essential for daytime wakefulness and healthy function, but it isn’t always easy to come by. Whether you suffer from chronic neck or back pain, acid reflux, or sleep apnea, a wedge pillow could be your ticket to getting a good night’s sleep.
Wedge pillows are triangular in shape which means you can use them to prop yourself up in bed or use them to elevate your knees. However you choose to use your wedge pillow, it’s important to choose your wedge pillow carefully. We’ve done the research to bring you a shortlist of the best wedge pillows on the market to help you narrow down your search.
What is a Wedge Pillow?
When you imagine a pillow, you probably picture the typical sleeping pillow – rectangular in shape and more-or-less evenly stuffed. A wedge pillow is triangular in shape, typically used to elevate the upper or lower body in bed. Propping your back up on a wedge pillow can help relieve acid reflux or just make it more comfortable to sit up in bed while reading or watching TV. Using a wedge pillow under your knees can help relieve pressure on your spine, providing relief from back and joint pain.
A wedge pillow is classified as a type of orthopedic pillow and, while the height varies, they are usually 7 to 12 inches high. Wedge pillows can be made from a variety of different materials, but they are typically more structured than the standard sleeping pillow. Rather than being filled with loose materials like polyfiber filling, wedge pillows are often made with solid polyfoam or memory foam. They come in different angles and heights so you can choose the wedge pillow that best suits your individual needs and preferences.
Wedge Pillow Reviews
While most wedge pillows are similar in shape, they can be made from a variety of different materials, and they come in different levels of firmness and loft. We’ve assembled a list of the best wedge pillows on the market to help you find the one that best suits your needs.
Here are our top 6 picks for the best wedge pillow:
This Cushy Form Bed Wedge Pillow offers elevated incline support for back and shoulder pain, snoring relief, and leg elevation. Made from high-density memory foam, this pillow conforms to the contours of your body to relieve pressure where needed for optimal comfort. The pillow can be used at 30- or 60-degrees according to your preference, making it great for both upper and lower body support.
In addition to offering customizable comfort, this wedge pillow is easy to clean and store. It features a foldable design so you can store it in the closet, on a shelf, or under the bed when not in use. It is firm yet soft, making it ideal for most applications and it weighs just 6 pounds.
This wedge pillow comes with a super-soft cover that is removable and machine-washable for easy cleaning. You can also purchase a replacement cover separately so you have an extra on hand.
If you’re looking for a wedge pillow that offers cooling benefits, consider the Vivalife Gel Memory Foam Wedge Pillow. This 10” wedge pillow is made from cooling gel memory foam, designed to dissipate body heat for a cool and comfortable night of sleep. It measures 10 inches high by 24 inches wide and 25 inches long, with a base layer of high-density memory foam topped with a cooling layer of gel foam.
This wedge pillow is ideal for individuals who suffer from back or neck pain as well as acid reflux. With its 30-degree elevated angle and contouring memory foam materials, this pillow supports the upper body while relieving pressure. It also comes with an ultra-soft cover which is removable and machine-washable for easy cleaning convenience.
Ideal for use as a back wedge or leg pillow, the Bonmedico Wedge Pillow is made from premium memory foam materials to relieve pressure while providing the support you need. The pillow features a smart design that enables you to use it at a variety of angles for different purposes. The low-flat angle is ideal for knee support while the medium-flat angle is ideal for back and side sleeping. Use the steep angle for sitting up in bed to read or watch TV.
Not only is the Bonmedico Wedge Pillow versatile, but it is designed for comfort and durability. This pillow measures 23.5 by 19.5 by 12 inches and can be used as both a leg or back support. The pillow is made from high-quality foam that delivers the optimal balance of comfort and support, plus it comes with a removable machine-washable cover for easy cleaning.
Note: As of time of publication, the Bonmedico Wedge Pillow is sold out, but we hope to see it back in stock soon!
When other wedge pillows create too steep an angle, the Xtreme Comforts Wedge Pillow offers a comfortable alternative. Though this pillow measures 27 inches long and 25 inches wide, it rises just 7 inches tall. This pillow offers a gentle incline perfect for back sleepers who need snore or those seeking relief from acid reflux or nasal congestion.
With its soft bamboo cover, this wedge pillow is cooling and comfortable. Choose from eight different colors, all of which are removable and washable for easy cleaning convenience. Plus, the bamboo materials are allergy-friendly so you can rest easy.
Enjoy a comfortable night of fully supported sleep with this foam wedge pillow from Brentwood Home. This pillow comes in three different heights so you can customize your degree of comfort. The 7-inch height is ideal for elevating the legs or upper body to boost circulation and relieve acid reflux. If you need a sharper angle of incline, try the 10- or 12-inch height. These two are perfect for supporting your upper body while reading or watching TV in bed.
In addition to being versatile, this wedge pillow is durable and easy to clean. High-quality foam materials support the body while relieving pressure and the removable bamboo cover helps dissipate body heat to keep you cool at night. The cover is also machine washable for easy cleaning convenience.
What to Look for in a Wedge Pillow
Everyone has their own unique preferences when it comes to choosing a pillow but choosing a wedge pillow can be a little tricky. Wedge pillows are designed to provide support for the upper or lower body. What you intend to use the pillow for should determine the height and angle of your wedge pillow. If you’re looking for something to relax against while you read in bed, for example, you might choose something different than if you needed a pillow to elevate your knees to relieve back pain.
When shopping for a wedge pillow, be sure to consider the features of the pillow itself and not just the marketing claims made about it. Wedge pillows can be beneficial for a while variety of concerns, but you may want to talk to your doctor about what type of wedge pillow is best if you have a specific ailment you’re trying to relieve with a wedge pillow.
Here are some features to consider when shopping for a wedge pillow:
- Size – For the most part, wedge pillows measure between 20 and 24 inches in both length and width. When shopping for a wedge pillow, consider first how you’re going to use it and then how wide you need it to be. If you’re using it for your back, consider the width of your shoulders – you may also want to consider the size of your mattress and whether you sleep with a partner.
- Angle – The angle or incline of a wedge pillow is typically measured in degrees or inches. Most wedge pillows range from 6 to 12 inches in height which puts the angle between 30 and 45 degrees. If you’re using the pillow under your knees, you might prefer a lower incline. Moderate inclines are ideal for people with sleep apnea or acid reflux while steeper inclines are best for sleepers who want to use the pillow to prop themselves up in bed.
- Shape – All wedge pillows have a triangular shape – the pillow slopes gradually from a high side down to a low side. While most wedge pillows have this triangular shape, there are differences in size and construction. Pillows designed for pressure relief may have a contoured surface while others are completely flat.
- Weight – The weight of any pillow is determined by the type of materials with which it is made and their density. Wedge pillows are typically made from solid foam rather than fiber filling, so they may be heavier than a standard pillow. If you find yourself changing positions throughout the night, you may prefer a lighter pillow that is easier to move.
- Firmness – Because most wedge pillows are made from some kind of foam, they are medium firm to firm. A medium level of firmness helps the pillow keep its shape which improves the level of support the pillow provides. If you sleep on your back, you might prefer a slightly firmer pillow than someone who sleeps on their side.
- Pressure Relief – Depending how you use a wedge pillow, it can help relieve pressure while you sleep – especially wedge pillows made from memory foam. Placing the pillow under your knees helps reduce pressure on the lower back while using it to prop up your upper body can relieve pressure from the neck and shoulders.
- Materials – Again, most wedge pillows are made from some kind of polyfoam or memory foam. The type of materials determines the firmness and support you can expect from the pillow, as well as its longevity. Higher quality materials tend to last longer – it’s as simple as that.
- Temperature Regulation – If you’re a hot sleeper, you might want to look for a wedge pillow with temperature regulating properties. Pillows made from gel memory foam tend to sleep cooler than pillows made from high-density foam. You should also think about the cover you use on the pillow – a breathable cotton cover may help increase airflow and wick away body heat.
Not only do wedge pillows come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials, but there are wedge pillows for every budget. While you shouldn’t shop by price alone, it’s important to keep your budget in mind. Just know that higher quality materials will offer stronger performance in areas like support and pressure relief – higher quality materials will also last a lot longer.
The Pros and Cons of Wedge Pillows
A wedge pillow is designed to fulfill a specific purpose and it can be very beneficial for people who have certain conditions that keep them from sleeping properly. That being said, sleeping with a wedge pillow comes with some risks if you don’t have one of those conditions.
Here are some of the benefits of sleeping with a wedge pillow:
- Relieves acid reflux – People who suffer from heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) often find that sleeping with their head elevated provides some degree of relief.
- May reduce snoring – Snoring, often a symptom of sleep apnea, can be reduced by elevating the head and neck to keep the airway open while you’re sleeping.
- Drains the sinuses – If you suffer from nighttime congestion due to cold, flu, or allergies, elevating the head and neck may provide some relief by helping the sinuses drain.
- Relieves pain and pressure – People who suffer from headaches, back pain, or shoulder pressure may find it more comfortable to sleep with a wedge pillow.
If you don’t suffer from acid reflux, nighttime congestion, or snoring, a wedge pillow may not be necessary. In fact, using a wedge pillow could be uncomfortable and might even cause you to wake up with pain or stiffness.
Here are some of the risks of sleeping with a wedge pillow:
- Suffocation in children – Children under 2 should not sleep with pillows or any other bedding in the crib because it increases the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Using a wedge pillow could cause a baby or child to fall into a position that makes it difficult to breathe.
- Discomfort or pain – Sleeping with a wedge pillow elevates part of your body which, if you don’t do it right, could become uncomfortable. Sleeping in an upright position may be difficult for you and using a wedge pillow incorrectly could actually increase pressure on the neck, hips, or back.
- Takes up space – Wedge pillows can be fairly large and they may take up a significant amount of space on your mattress. If you sleep alone, this may not be a concern, but it could create some challenges if you share your bed with a partner.
- Limits sleeping positions – When using a wedge pillow, you may be limited in terms of what sleeping positions are viable. Wedge pillows tend to work best for back sleepers – if you sleep on your side, look for a contoured wedge pillow designed for side sleepers.
Keep in mind that there are different types of wedge pillows out there, so you may want to talk to your doctor before using one to make sure you choose the right kind. Flat-bottomed wedge pillows are typically used to support the back or legs for back sleepers while contoured wedge pillows may be more comfortable for side sleepers because they can help relieve shoulder pressure.
Who Should Use a Wedge Pillow?
Many people can benefit from sleeping with a wedge pillow, though it’s important to choose the right one and to know how to use it properly. If you suffer from chronic pain, acid reflux, poor circulation, or sleep apnea, a wedge pillow might be beneficial.
Here’s an overview of people who might benefit from using a wedge pillow:
People with back, neck, or shoulder pain.
Sleeping with a wedge pillow can help keep your spine in proper alignment while you sleep which may relieve pressure on the back, neck, and shoulders. If you have chronic pain in these areas, a memory foam wedge pillow that helps relieve pressure by conforming to the shape of your body could be beneficial. Sleeping with a wedge pillow that has a low incline placed under the knees can relieve pressure on your lumbar region which may help with chronic lower back pain.
People with poor circulation.
If you have poor circulation, placing a wedge pillow under your legs and feet could help by improving blood flow to the heart. Sleeping with your legs elevated prevents blood from pooling in your legs and reduces pressure on the veins which could help with pain and swelling. A wedge pillow under the legs could be beneficial for individuals with varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
People with acid reflux.
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. Sleeping with your head slightly elevated allows gravity to help keep the stomach acid from flowing backward. The best option is generally a wedge pillow that is long enough to support your full upper body from your head to your hips, keeping the whole upper body elevated.
People who snore.
Whether you suffer from sleep apnea or just nighttime congestion, keeping your head and shoulders elevated during sleep might help. A wedge pillow supports your upper body, allowing your sinuses to drain. It can also help keep your airway open to prevent snoring by preventing the throat muscles and tongue from relaxing into the airway.
Women who are pregnant.
Many pregnant women struggle with acid reflux which can be alleviated by sleeping with your upper body elevated. It is also recommended that you sleep on your side versus your back when you’re pregnant and sleeping with a wedge pillow can help prevent you from rolling onto your back.
People who sleep on their back.
If you sleep on your back but still find that you wake with pain or stiffness, sleeping with a wedge pillow on a low incline might help. A wedge pillow can help support the upper body and may promote optimal spinal alignment – especially a contoured wedge pillow.
People who read or watch TV in bed.
Sitting up in bed is ideal for reading or watching TV, but regular pillows may not give you the support you need. A wedge pillow with a high incline is ideal for these applications.
Frequently Asked Questions
How thick should a wedge pillow be?
Wedge pillows are generally 6 to 12 inches thick but ideally at least 7 inches. This thickness allows for a gradual but effective incline to keep the upper body elevated while relieving pressure on the neck, shoulders, and back.
How do I choose a wedge pillow?
Consider the intended use for your wedge pillow to determine how thick it needs to be (as well as the incline). Higher inclines are ideal for keeping the upper body elevated while lower inclines are recommended for knee and leg support.
What is better, memory foam or gel memory foam?
Both memory foams provide support and pressure relief, but gel memory foam may be a cooler option, helping dissipate body heat for improved temperature regulation.
Is gel memory foam toxic?
Some memory foam contains toxic chemicals that can lead to respiratory issues or skin problems. Look for memory foam that is CertiPUR-US Certified to ensure that it is nontoxic.
How often should I replace my wedge pillow?
The longevity of a wedge pillow is largely determined by its firmness and the quality of the materials. For the most part, you should expect to replace your wedge pillow every 1 to 3 years. Firmer pillows and pillows made from higher quality materials tend to last longest.
How long does it take a wedge pillow to expand?
If you’re purchasing a wedge pillow online, it will likely be vacuum-sealed for shipping. Your pillow may look fully expanded within a few hours but may take up to 24 hours to completely expand.