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How to Use a Wedge Pillow for Sleeping – Health Benefits and More

Wedge pillows are becoming increasingly popular among pillow lovers for their numerous health and sleep benefits. These triangular shaped pillows, mostly made of memory foam, are uniquely constructed to make sleeping, sitting, reading, and resting on your bed very comfortable.

If you’re considering joining the bandwagon of wedge pillow owners and need convincing reasons to do so, it is important to learn about the wedge pillow benefit and the various ways you can use it. Let’s find out why wedge pillows might be for you.

​Wedge Pillow Uses

Wedge pillows are not bedding accessories or fancy pillows to be added to your bedding collection. They are shaped for maximum comfort and designed to support different sleeping and sitting positions. Sleeping on a wedge pillow also helps improve sleep quality and offer many health benefits.

However, make sure to use your wedge pillow the right way to enjoy its benefits. Here are key wedge pillow uses that you should know whether you’re thinking of buying one or you own one already.

1. Sitting Upright in Bed

If you find it difficult to sit upright while reading a book or watching TV in bed, you’re going to love owning a wedge pillow. Experts have reported that most people slouch while sitting.  Yet, sitting upright is recommended to prevent back pain and spinal issues.

The easiest way to get your posture right while sitting is to use some sort of lumbar support. This way, your lower back is fully supported, and you’ll be able to maintain good posture while sitting upright on a bed.

By placing the flat side of your wedge pillow against your wall or headboard, you can create a well-angled lumbar support to help you comfortably sit upright in bed.

sitting upright in bed

2. Gentle Slope for Side and Back Sleepers

Sleeping elevated has many benefits for back and side sleepers. It curbs shortness of breath, helps with sleep apnea, reduces nasal drop, and is recommended for people suffering from nervous and spinal disorders.

Wedge pillows provide the gentle slope that you need to sleep elevated. You’ll find this very helpful if you’re a back or side sleeper.

For back sleepers, it helps minimize acid reflux issues and gives you maximum comfort. If you’re a side sleeper, these pillows can support your neck and shoulder, release tension in your neck and shoulders, and make sleeping in this position more comfortable.

3. Under Knee

If you suffer from any illness that makes sleeping on your back compulsory and still need to reduce the pressure on your spine, you can always place a wedge pillow under your knees.

Placing your wedge pillow under your knees is also a great way to reduce swelling in your feet and knees. Piling regular pillows under your knees does not cut it because piled pillows do not create the right slope. Instead, they keep your feet elevated but suspended in mid-air, which is not ideal for reducing pressure or swelling. It’s best to get a wedge shaped pillow for this purpose.

​Wedge Pillow Benefits

Now that you know the different wedge pillow uses, knowing some wedge pillow benefits is also essential to help you make the most of these awesome pillows.

Besides helping you sleep comfortably in different sleeping positions, wedge pillows offer certain significant health benefits that you should know. They are more than a bedding accessory as they are often recommended for their numerous health benefits by physicians and doctors. Here are some key benefits of sleeping on a bed wedge pillow:

1. ​Acid Reflux/GERD Relief

sleeping position for acid reflux

Acid Reflux or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease(GERD) is a common digestive disorder affecting many people across the world. It’s characterized by a reverse flow of gastric acid to your esophagus, and causes great discomfort at night. You may find yourself waking up several times at night because of this.

Back sleepers get the worst hit as lying in a horizontal position triggers its symptoms. There is no known cure for acid reflux and experts often recommend using a bed wedge pillow for acid reflux relief. You can reduce its symptoms by sleeping on a wedge pillow, which keeps your body slightly elevated and stops acid from reaching the throat to cause discomfort. It is, in fact, a quick fix for acid reflux.

2. ​Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea and snoring have also been associated with one’s sleeping position. Sleeping on your back triggers compression and blockage of the airways, which can cause sleep apnea. A clinical study revealed that sleeping while slightly inclined reduces sleep apnea significantly.

Experts have also revealed that your sleeping position may be the reason you snore. Sleeping on your back may obstruct your nasal airways and cause loud vibrations when breathing.

Thus, sleeping with a wedge pillow is an alternative treatment for sleep apnea and snoring. Wedge pillows keep you inclined in any sleeping position, which prevents airways blockage and helps you sleep comfortably.

​3. Neck and Back Pain

woman waking up with a sore neck

Neck and back pain are common problems that make sleeping difficult for many people. Beyond sleeping difficulty, you may find it challenging to get through the day as the lack of sleep can significantly affect your mood, and the pain makes sitting and working difficult.

Side and back sleepers tend to suffer from these more. If you’d like to avoid sleeping with neck pain, you can make slight adjustments to your sleeping position with wedge pillows. A wedge pillow keeps your neck and back slightly elevated,  relieves stress on your back and neck,  reduces pain, and makes sleeping on your back or sides comfortable.

4. Swelling

Swelling in your feet can be very unsettling and cause significant pain. Experts recommend elevating your feet to reduce the swelling, pain, and tension.

Raising your legs higher than your heart pulls the fluid towards your heart and away from your feet. However, you cannot comfortably keep your feet raised without supporting your legs. This is why a wedge pillow is essential. It’s inclined enough to keep your feet in a good position.

Thus, owning a wedge pillow would be great if you constantly experience swelling in your feet. You can always count on it to reduce the symptoms.

5. ​Glaucoma

Glaucoma is often triggered by increased intraocular pressure, and treatment options are usually exerted towards lowering the intraocular pressure.

A study conducted with different patients revealed that sleeping positions affect intraocular pressure. Also, experts believe that lying down or staying in other supine positions for hours may increase the risk of glaucoma in many people.

Conversely, maintaining an upright or slightly elevated position lowers intraocular pressure. And a wedge pillow is a great way to stay inclined when sleeping at night.

6. Ear Pain Relief

lady with severe ear pain at night

It’s difficult to sleep through an ear pain episode. You may find it hard to get your mind off the pain and even stay up all night due to the pain. Ear infections are common causes of ear pain, but the associated pressure is an aggravating factor that can take the pain up several degrees.

A wedge pillow has the ability to offer ear pain relief as it encourages fluid drain, which relieves the pressure you may feel in your ears and also eliminates the pain. Thus, if you frequently suffer from ear pain, you should consider sleeping on a wedge pillow. You can also consider investing in specialized ear pain pillows with a hole in the middle that are designed to take all pressure off your ears while you sleep at night.

7. ​Pressure Relief by Placing Under Knees

Knee pain causes problems such as arthritis, and other joint issues which can be very unsettling when sitting or sleeping. Also, sleeping on your back can increase spinal pressure and cause lower backache.

If you want to reduce the pain in your knee, leg, and lower back, try placing a wedge pillow under your knees to keep your knees elevated. This can also reduce spinal pressure and improve your posture.

The relief you get from placing a wedge pillow under your knees is not permanent, but it will make you feel better while you sleep at night. Thus, a wedge pillow will be an asset if you suffer from any of these chronic ailments.

8. ​Post-operative Care

A wedge pillow will definitely come in handy after an operation or repair surgery like meniscus repair surgery. It makes the switch from a recliner bed to a regular bed a lot easier and less painful. A wedge pillow is inclined and can gradually ease you into sleeping comfortably without a recliner bed. You can hardly tell the difference.

If your post-operative care mandates keeping any part of your body inclined, you can use a wedge pillow to keep it raised. However, you should seek your surgeon’s approval before using a wedge pillow post-op. Doing so without your surgeon’s approval may have an adverse effect and increase your recovery period.

bed wedge pillow uses

Frequently Asked Questions

​Is it good to sleep on a wedge pillow?

Sleeping on a wedge pillow is good when done correctly. It helps back sleepers and side sleepers sleep more comfortably. It’s also recommended for people suffering from sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea. Pregnant women can also use wedge pillow during pregnancy by sliding it under their belly to support the growing bump in order to avoid strain on their back. However, you can only enjoy sleeping with a wedge pillow if it’s used the right way.

​​Do you use a regular pillow with a wedge pillow?

You may be tempted to use a regular pillow with a wedge pillow because a wedge pillow is firm and not fluffy like most pillows. However, you can use a wedge pillow without a regular pillow.

If you must use it with a regular pillow, ensure that the regular pillow is not too firm or high. You can use flat, fluffy, and adjustable pillows that will not add much height to your already elevated bed.

​Is it OK to sleep sitting up every night?

Some people find this position comfortable, especially passengers on a long trip who have no other option than to sleep sitting up. However, is it OK to do this every night?

Sleeping while sitting up every night may result in some health issues such as deep vein thrombosis, usually because your limbs would be immobile for a long time. However, you can improve your position by using a wedge pillow to sleep in an inclined position rather than sitting upright all night.

Does sleeping with head elevated help sleep apnea?

People suffering from sleep apnea often find it difficult to find a sleeping position that will help them sleep better with this condition. Back sleepers especially have to battle with this issue because sleeping on your back can worsen the condition.

However, sleeping with your head elevated can help you sleep better even with sleep apnea. It keeps the airways free and can reduce the symptoms significantly. Luckily, a wedge pillow can keep your head elevated, and you should get one if you suffer from sleep apnea.

​How do you sleep comfortably on a wedge pillow?

To sleep comfortably on a wedge pillow, you need to get rid of other prop pillows and ensure your bed is flat. Then, make sure the flat end of the pillow is on your bed, and the elevated head is pressed against your headboard.

Lay on your bed and place your upper body on the wedge pillow. This will keep your upper body slightly inclined and help you sleep comfortably on your side or your back. It’s not advisable to sleep on your stomach with a wedge pillow as it’s often uncomfortable for most sleepers.

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