Hospitals have used adjustable beds for quite some time now to assist patients achieve a more restful and less traumatic sleep posture. Snoring, sleep apnea, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), acid reflux, poor circulation, and lower back discomfort are just some of the ailments that can be alleviated by elevating the head and legs during sleep.
It’s true that hospital beds with head and leg articulation are convenient, but you can get the same benefits at home. It is possible to get the same result with a wedge pillow. In this post, we’ll go over some of the ways in which a wedge pillow can enhance your slumber.
What is a Wedge Pillow?
Wedge pillows are orthopedic pillows in the shape of a triangular pyramid that tapers at one end. The name is a nod to the design’s resemblance to a wedge of cheese.
It is possible to elevate the upper body or the legs by an angle of 30 to 45 degrees, or by 6 to 12 inches, using these cushions. Most wedge pillows are 20 to 25 inches wide and 20 to 25 inches long, though the incline height might vary.
Sleeping at a slight angle can help with breathing problems, spinal alignment, and reducing pain. When sleeping on your back or side, tuck the thinner edge of the wedge cushion beneath your shoulders, and the thicker corner under your head.
A wedge pillow placed behind you when sitting in bed or on a couch is great for supporting your back and spine. Place the flat side of the wedge pillow against the bed’s headboard, and the thinner edge toward the ceiling.
Under the Knees
If you sleep on your back, put the taller corner of a wedge cushion between your knees. Elevation helps blood flow, which decreases swelling and pain in the feet and legs and reduces the likelihood of developing varicose veins. Reduced pressure on the lumbar spine can help alleviate lower back discomfort as you sleep when your upper body is elevated.
A wedge pillow can be used as a makeshift tabletop when seated, making it comfortable to read, write in a diary, or use a laptop. Place your book or laptop on the slant of the wedge pillow and prop up your legs while you read.
Under the Belly
Sleeping on one’s side is the safest posture for pregnant women, but many women, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, may find the downward pressure of gravity on their tummies to be uncomfortable. It is recommended that pregnant women sleep on their side with the smallest corner of a wedge pillow tucked under their developing bellies to provide support for their stomachs and reduce the pain associated with resting on their sides. When sleeping on your side, use the more vertical corner to prop up your upper arm.
Benefits of Using a Wedge Pillow
Wedge pillows for the bed are a great addition to any bedroom, but they also have medical benefits.
Sleeping on an incline facilitates sinus drainage and makes it simpler to breathe through the night for those suffering from a cold, allergies, postnasal drip, or cough.
Prevents Acid Reflux and GERD
Heartburn, nausea, and difficulty falling or staying asleep are all symptoms of acid reflux and its related disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When you lie down in a reclining position, stomach acid doesn’t have a chance to go up the esophagus, making it much easier to get some shut-eye.
Reduces Nighttime Asthma Effects
It is common for blood to pool in the lungs when a person is resting supine, which can make it difficult to breathe and aggravate conditions like asthma, especially when sleeping. Blood pooling in the lungs is avoided and airways are opened when one sleeps on an incline.
Alleviates Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring Problems
Periodically stopping breathing during sleep characterizes obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder. When a person is in a supine (laying on their back) position, their jaw and tongue naturally relax and collapse backward, obstructing their airways and worsening their sleep apnea. Using a wedge cushion to elevate your head allows your airways to relax, allowing you to breathe more easily and experience fewer interruptions as you sleep. See a doctor if you think you could have sleep apnea if you experience any of the symptoms listed above.
After an operation or surgery, a doctor may suggest using a wedge pillow to help with your recovery. It is simpler to transition from a reclined hospital bed to a regular bed with the use of a wedge pillow, and it can also assist you sit up in bed. However, before using a wedge pillow after surgery, make sure you discuss it with your doctor.
Minimized Back, Shoulder, and Neck Pain
Using a wedge pillow can help alleviate chronic pain in the back, shoulders, and neck. In order to alleviate pressure on the lower back and cervical spine, a wedge pillow can be placed under the upper torso.
Ear Pain Relief
When you sleep on a wedge cushion, gravity helps drain fluid from your ears, decreasing pressure and pain.
Lower Risk of Glaucoma
Intraocular pressure (IOP) rises in glaucoma because of the buildup of fluid within the eyes. High intraocular pressure causes lifelong impairment of vision by damaging the optic nerve. However, persons with glaucoma may benefit from sleeping at a 20-degree angle, which has been shown to lower intraocular pressure.
More Comfortable Pregnancy
Pregnant women often experience back pain, acid reflux, and edema, all of which can be alleviated with the proper use of a wedge pillow. Women in their third trimester of pregnancy can benefit from using a wedge cushion in a variety of ways to alleviate the discomforts of pregnancy, including elevating their knees to aid in fluid retention and decreasing ankle edema by placing the pillow between their knees.
Is it good to stack pillows?
Quality pillows will help maintain proper spinal alignment as you sleep. However, you shouldn’t try to stack them. You could potentially harm your posture by piling pillows on top of each other. Pillow stacking is not recommended since it causes an inward curvature of the neck, which can lead to pain and stiffness in the morning.
It’s definitely best to just get new pillows if you find yourself having to stack them to get enough support. Try a wedge pillow for a milder incline than stacking pillows, if you sleep on your back and need to support your upper body.
Dr. Jennifer Miller, an outpatient physiotherapist and primary care physician who specializes in the treatment of neurological problems, had this to say: “When my patients come in with neck or back pain, one of the first questions I ask is, ‘How do you sleep?’ I’m curious in their preferred sleeping posture, the number of pillows they use, and whether or not they have ever tried a body pillow. Since twisting the back during a shift from supine to sitting position might exacerbate pain, I additionally monitor the patient’s body mechanics. Since sleep accounts for at least one-third of our daily lives, it stands to reason that our sleeping habits can have significant physiological consequences. Finding the perfect pillow may make a world of difference.
Is a wedge pillow or adjustable bed base better?
Wedge pillows and adjustable bed bases provide similar purposes and are convenient at night.
An adjustable bed foundation allows you to elevate your head, shoulders, and legs to relieve stress on your back and legs. Contrary to what many may believe, pregnant women cannot use an adjustable base to prop up their bellies like they would with a wedge pillow. Despite their usefulness, adjustable bases can be fairly pricey, ranging from $400 to $3500 or more.
Unlike other pillows, wedge pillows can be used in a variety of positions. Although you can’t change the angle of a wedge pillow as you can with an adjustable bed base, they are much cheaper.
What is the best height for a wedge pillow?
Wedge pillows have thicker, flatter ends that are typically between 6 and 12 inches, or 30 and 45 degrees. How you want to utilize your wedge pillow will determine the height you select.
Using your knees and legs is best accomplished with a lower incline (6 inches) wedge pillow. For those who sleep on their backs or sides, as well as those who suffer from conditions like sleep apnea and heartburn, a wedge pillow with a moderate slope (between 7 and 9 inches) can be helpful. When sitting up straight, a wedge pillow with a steeper angle of support (ten inches or more) is most comfortable.
Do you use a regular pillow with a wedge pillow?
Wedge pillows are best utilized on their own and placed on top of the mattress. It’s not recommended to use a regular pillow on top of or underneath a wedge pillow because doing so can cause spinal misalignment and pain. In addition, if the pillows are stacked improperly, your head may fall off.
Is it okay to sleep sitting upright?
Although sleeping upright increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and varicose veins, doing so is not highly detrimental. Both illnesses are common among passengers on long-distance flights and automobile trips. For reduced discomfort and more ease, try reclining.
How high should you raise your bed for GERD?
A wedge pillow or an adjustable bed set at an angle of 35 to 45 degrees may help those with GERD. As a result of the elevation, stomach acid is prevented from rising back into the esophagus. It’s possible that a wedge cushion with a shallower angle of incline won’t be as comfortable as one with a moderate or steeper angle.
Does sleeping on an incline stop snoring?
By elevating the head of the bed, the tongue is prevented from slipping back and blocking breathing passages. When a person is sound asleep, the air they breathe in and out does not have to squeeze through a small opening made of pliable tissue. This reduces air resistance, which in turn eliminates snoring.
Do you use a regular pillow with a wedge pillow?
Do not use a wedge pillow in addition to your regular pillow; it is designed to be used alone. Adding a pillow on top of or under the wedge pillow can make it unsteady and lead to tumbling off while sleeping. The use of two pillows in this manner might cause the sleeper’s head and neck to be pushed forward, which can be uncomfortable.
Are thick pillows bad for your neck?
When the head is supported by a pillow that is overly thick, it can cause the neck to curve. When you assume this posture, you tighten the muscles in your neck and back, which can be very uncomfortable.
The most comfortable pillows have a medium loft and are filled with a soft, conforming material such as memory foam. Using these cushions properly can help keep your head and neck in line with your shoulders and your spine in a neutral position.
Is sleeping on your stomach bad?
When lying on one’s stomach, the spine naturally curves upward, creating strain on the back and neck. The result is persistent pain in such regions over time.
Consequently, it is recommended that you avoid sleeping on your stomach. If you have trouble sleeping in any other position, it’s important to relax on a flat, even surface. Mattresses that are medium-firm to firm are optimal for stomach sleepers.
Sleep Peacefully With a Wedge Pillow
Wedge pillows are a cheap and easy solution to alleviate pain and improve your quality of sleep. Whether or whether you’re dealing with a medical issue, you can still benefit from these pillows’ low price and versatility.