Wedge Pillow: What Are the Uses and Benefits
A sound sleep at night is vital for an individual’s well being and health. While most people underestimate the power of sleep, getting adequate rest at night relaxes your brain and repairs your heart and blood vessels ensuring you efficiently take on the day’s task. Adequate sleep is essential in preventing health conditions such as increased weight, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and diabetes. In the case of sound sleep, there are numerous factors involved including your pre-sleep habits, bedroom environment and your buddings, including mattress and pillow.
Pillows play an integral role in supporting your body during sleep, in turn ensuring the upper body is aligned to counterbalance the points in the body to relieve pressure and ensure proper blood flow to all body organs. There are different types of pillows with different designs and purposes. In recent times, wedge pillows have come out as unique pillows providing a great deal of comfort and health benefits, especially for people with sleeping conditions such as snoring, sleep apnea, and nighttime asthma. Here are the benefits and uses of bed wedge.
What are Different Types of Pillows?
As mentioned below, there are different types of pillows as below:
Feather Pillows– Feather pillows are soft pillows constructed with small and curled feathers. They provide excellent comfort as well as support to the other body parts.
Memory foam pillows– They are much like the memory foam mattresses and adjust to assume an individual’s shape as they take different positions at night
Neck pillows– As the name implies, neck pillows provide support your neck such that you sleep upright to avoid straining your muscles when sleeping. They are also great for traveling.
Lumbar pillows– Made for individuals suffering from lumbar pains. Lumbar pillows are placed above the lumbar region to help alleviate pressure and allow the nerves to relax.
Down pillows– While they don’t offer an exceptional level of support, down pillows are soft, puffy, and cozy. They can also be used for decorative purposes.
Wedge pillows-Wedge pillows are constructed from foam and polyester fiberfill and assume the shape of a wedge. They can be placed in different positions to achieve unique purposes such as comfort and different health purposes, as will be discussed in this article.
As the name implies, bed wedge are constructed from moderately firm foam plus polyester fill, making a triangular shape with a tapered incline of angle between 20 and 40 degrees. The pillow enables a person to remain in a semi-upright position during sleep, alleviating several sleep symptoms, including acid reflux and GERD. Wedge pillows have a multi-purpose use. Whether you would like to work on your laptop in bed, sit in bed watching TV, read in bed comfortably, rest your legs to relieve pressure in the lower back, or just want to increase head-of-bed elevation(HOBE) to ease back pains, wedge pillows deliver.
There are countless ways you can place wedge pillows against the bed to achieve different purposes. For instance, an upright wedge can be made by placing the longest part of the wedge against the bed and the bed’s short side to support you in a semi-reclined position ideal for reading or watching TV in bed. When placed in a traditional resting manner, the incline is perfect for a good night sleep.
Different Types of Wedge Pillows
Feather Wedge Pillows– Feather wedge pillows are constructed with feathers that are quite similar to carbon fiber. These pillows are fluffy and provide excellent softness, support, and supreme comfort thanks to the curled feathers inside the pillow acting as a natural spring
Latex Wedge Pillows- Latex wedge pillows are hypo- allergic and resistant to dust mite. In addition to offering unmatched neck and shoulder support, these pillows are breathable and cozy, thus ideal for people who sweat excessively at night. Latex wedge pillows are great for reducing arm pain as well as cervical stiffness.
Memory Foam Wedge Pillow– Memory foam bed wedge are great for individuals who assume countless positions at night. The foam material allows you to seamlessly adjust your head, neck, and shoulders position at any time of the night.
Shredded Memory Foam Wedge Pillow- Shredded memory foam pillows are similar to memory foam bed wedge, but the foam has been frayed into smaller pieces to enhance breathability. They are more flexible compared to memory foam pillows and can easily be adjusted to any position.
Polyester Foam Wedge Pillow- Polyester foam wedge pillows are constructed from polyester and provide a more economical option than the rest. While they are durable and easy to maintain, the polyester material contains several chemicals that could be of health concern.
Health Benefits of Wedge Pillow
Relieve Back Pain
Sleeping upwardly flat on your back can cause back pains. Wedge pillows have a unique structure and design to alleviate back pains by supporting your back, neck, and shoulder. The incline ensures the hips and vertebrae are supported in the correct spinal alignment to avert, putting pressure on the cervical spine.
Wedge pillows can relieve both upper back pain and lower back pain originating from an inflamed or compressed nerve, especially during pregnancy. For lower back pain, a wedge pillow is placed between the knees while lying on your side. For upper back pain, two wedges are very effective. One is placed at the head of the bed in such a position to elevate the head and shoulders and the other at the lower end of the bed with the tapered ends facing each other. You should then lay in a position such that the thighs rest against the upward slope of the pillow at the lower end of the bed, with the backs of the knees supported by the wedge’s upper edge.
This position distributes pressure equally along the spine enabling a more relaxing sleep and lowering the chances of waking up with an aching back.
Reduces Pressure on Airways, thus Prevents Snoring and Sleep Apnea.
Sleeping horizontally on a mattress using standard pillows can develop pressure on your airway since gravity works against your respiratory system. Increased pressure on your airway can cause airway collapse, posing a real danger to your health, especially for people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) where breathing stops periodically during sleep. Increased pressure on the airway disrupting the flow of air in the nose and throat causes snoring-a habit that can make your partner uncomfortable.
Bed wedge alleviate snoring and sleep apnea by elevating the head (30° to 45°) and upper chest to keep the airway open allowing circulation of air. Free flow of air prevents sleep apnea, which is the primary cause of snoring.
Prevent Nighttime Asthma
Numerous people experience nighttime asthma due to breathing issues. Wedge pillows prevent night asthma by elevating the upper part of the body above the lower body, thus preventing blood from pooling in the lungs.
Alleviate Pressure on Veins
Bed wedge alleviate your upper part of the body, ensuring that your veins remain relaxed. This way, your veins will collect and channel blood to the heart guaranteeing the functionality of the different organs in your body are well maintained.
Prevents cough and post-nasal drip
Post-nasal drip is a sleeping condition where mucus drips down the back of the throat and into the airways. These conditions can go past sleep to cause continuous chronic cough. Sleeping on a bed wedge prevents post-nasal sleep by providing elevation to the torso, in turn preventing mucus from accumulating at the back of the throat. In the long run, these lowers irritation and inflammation, ensuring you’re in good shape.
Prevents Acid Reflux/GERD
Acid Reflux, also commonly referred to as gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), is a risky condition where digestive acids escape from your stomach to the throat or mouth when sleeping on your back. The situation is caused by increased pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). GERD can cause a heart attack as well as heartburn possibilities. Wedge pillows prevent acid flux by elevating your head and upper body, in turn leveraging gravity to stop the backward flow of stomach acids. People with GERD who sleep on a bed wedge have been found to have decreased GERD episodes, increased rapid acid clearing, decreased heartburn possibilities, and fewer reflux symptoms as well. Doctors all over the globe recommend wedge pillows to treat GERD.
Maintain Blood Circulation when Sleeping
Blood circulation starts from the heart, where oxygenated blood is pumped to the head and the rest of the body. De-oxygenated blood is similarly collected from the body organs and tissue and channeled to the heart. When you assume a bad position when sleeping, blood circulation may be hindered due to pressure on your heart and veins. Sleeping on a wedge pillow maintains blood flow by gently supporting the body to prevent pressure build up on the veins and arteries. This, in turn, maintains blood flow towards the brain and the rest of the body.
Reduces Swelling in Legs
Your legs get swollen a lot of times, especially if you’re pro-active, pregnant, or an athlete. Swell legs can really get uncomfortable, let alone the pain of a sturdy object accidentally pressing upon the swollen limbs. Bed wedge can reduce swelling in legs by providing a surface to elevate your leg while sleeping. This allows excellent blood circulation in the limps, in turn reducing swelling. For best results in reducing swelling in legs, you can use a wedge pillow in combination with socks or specialized stockings or socks especially if you’re suffering from edema treatment or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
If you experience heartburn quite often when sleeping, wedge pillows can come in handy to reduce that annoying, painful feeling. A known remedy for heartburn is sleeping while sitting up. We all know this uncomfortable and almost close to impossible for some people. Bed wedge enable you to sleep comfortably in an elevated position that would limit heartburn. This allows you to attain a comfortable and sound sleep all night.
Best for People with Hiatal hernia
Individuals with Hiatal hernia may find it challenging to sleep flat on their tummies on a firm heavy-duty mattress. Wedge pillows are great for them by providing an essential way of relieving irritating and itching pains when sleeping.
Recommended for Post-Operative Care
Patients who have recently undergone surgery are recommended to use wedge pillows. Doctors state that these pillows can reduce swelling and pain in sensitive body parts such as joints.
Helps with Nighttime Congestion
Extensive research has suggested that bed wedge can help with nighttime congestion as a result of cold, allergies, chronic sinusitis, or pregnancy rhinitis. This is because an elevated posture achieved by the use of wedge pillow assists in draining your sinuses, preventing mucus from pooling. This is turn prevents chest congestion, which is common at night, helping you to breathe comfortably.
Good in Glaucoma
Wedge pillows are ideal for individuals suffering from Glaucoma- an eye condition where excess fluid in the eyes increases intraocular pressure (IOP). Increased IOP can impair vision by damaging the optic nerve. Sleeping on a bed wedge elevates the head by up to 20 degrees, in turn lowering IOP.
Other Non-Health Benefits of Wedge Pillows
Bed wedge also have non-health benefits as below.
Improved Comfort when Lounging
Wedge pillows can help you lounge comfortably whether you’re lounging in bed, on the floor, on the couch, or just about anywhere in the house. The best thing about these pillows is that they can be used in countless ways, including reading in bed, acting as a laptop holder, offering a comfortable sitting posture or sitting in bed, and watching TV; it all depends on how you place it.
Best for Intimacy
Bed wedges are great for intimacy by supporting your bodies while engaging in romance. In fact, most pillows designed for intimacy purposes are quite similar to wedge pillows. Research a little bit to find great intimate positions with your partner when using wedge pillows.
Creative Ways of Using Wedge Pillows
As mentioned earlier, there are countless ways you can use a bed wedges to achieve various purposes. Wedge pillows have a versatile property thanks to their gentle slopes, which makes them assume different shapes. Here are the best ways you can set-up your wedge pillow.
The upright recline is achieved by placing the wedge pillow vertically against your headboard or wall. The thinnest edge of the wedge should be at the top and the widest at the bottom for support. Upright recline provides sufficient support plus an ergonomically correct posture for the spine. It’s therefore perfect for watching TV in bed or reading your favorite book or magazine in the warmth of your bed. Instead of leaning against a hard-uncomfortable hardboard or a cold wall, get a wedge pillow, place on your back, and attain a comfortable, cozy posture to watch your favorite TV shows or read an interesting novel in bed.
Gentle slope is easily achieved by placing your wedge pillow horizontally on the mattress to provide a gentle slope that will elevate the upper part of the body. As discussed earlier, sleeping at an incline (between 30 and 45 degrees) takes pressure off your airway, which alleviates sleep conditions such as snoring, GERD, and sleep apnea, among others.
The gentle incline provided by wedge pillow is also perfect for side sleepers by offering great support for the neck and shoulder region. It’s possible to adjust between a full incline or a subtle incline depending on where your head falls on the pillow.
On the Lower Back
You can place the wedge pillow on your lower back, preferably under your knees, to ensure pressure is distributed accordingly. Simply place the tallest edge of the wedge pillow under the knees with the pillow sloping away from your body towards the end of the bed. This set-up is great for improving circulation in the legs to help with tired muscles as well as swollen feet. Improved circulation in the limps is excellent for preventing severe health conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), especially in the elderly.
A wedge pillow can as well transform your cozy bedroom into a bit of an office space. Simply place your wedge pillow on your lap and use it to hold your slim, light laptop or tablet and send out/ or replay emails before bed. This set-up goes at greater lengths to ensure you’re economically comfortable, plus you can even work for long hours as your wrist would be relaxed on the pillow.
Best Wedge Pillows-2020
As people start realizing the benefits of wedge pillows, the market has become flooded with different kinds of wedge pillows as manufacturers are rushing to claim a substantial percentage of market share. For consumers, it may be challenging to pick the best wedge pillow to complement their sleeping needs. Nonetheless, there are several things to look for in a wedge pillow when shopping for one.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Bed Wedge
Length and size
Just like a bed, wedge pillows come in different sizes i.e., small, medium, large, or extra-large. To buy the best wedge pillow, it’s imperative to check the dimensions of your bed to ensure the pillow fits your bed just right. The standard size of a bed wedge is 25-30 inches. Smaller sizes may not be perfect for achieving the intended purpose
In addition to the size of your bed, you would want to factor in the size of your size in terms of height. Bed wedges are placed under three categories regarding height, i.e., low wedge pillows measuring between 6 to 8 inches, mid-height pillows measuring between 10 to12 inches and tall wedge pillows measuring up to 15 inches high. Low wedge pillows are great for preventing several health conditions, including snoring, acid reflux, and sleep apnea. Tall wedge pillows are perfect for lounging comfort, while mid-height pillows are perfect for managing back pains as well as other body aches. Therefore, get to know your intended purpose before heading out to shop
Two commonly used materials used in constructing bed wedges are: polyurethane foam and memory foam. These materials have different properties that make usable in constructing wedge pillows. Polyurethane foam is quite sturdy, making it perfect for individuals who prefer to sleep on their backs. Memory foam, on the other hand, are flexible and can assume different shapes. They, therefore, are perfect for side sleepers. Another common material used to construct bed wedges is polyfoams. While they’re a cheaper alternative to memory foam, they’re less durable plus contain chemicals that can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Still on material, if you are looking for something breathable, maybe because you have some temperature condition, don’t go for bed wedges constructed from foam as they’re less breathable and tend to trap heat. Instead, go for breathable materials such as bamboo, polyester, poly-based synthetic fabrics, among others.
Wedge pillows also come in either flat or contoured surfaces. Flat-faced bed wedges are great for the neck, shoulder, and head, while contoured pillows are particularly useful for aligning body parts, especially during aches. Contoured pillow wedges are also perfect for side sleepers.
As a tip for choosing bed wedges, go for ones with easily removable and washable covers as you would want your pillow to stay clean and odorless.
Price of the Bed Wedge
As an obvious factor, you want to buy a high-quality bed wedge without breaking the bank. Check up the price and compare it with the rest of the other brands before you order your wedge pillow. The price should be synonymous with quality.
3 Best Wedge Pillows-2020
Relax The Back PureFit Adjustable Bed Wedge Pillow System
|Relax The Back PureFit Adjustable Bed Wedge Pillow System - Zero Gravity,...||113 Reviews||Check Price on Amazon|
Our top pick is the incredible Relax The Back wedge pillow. This wedge bed features an amazing innovative design that offers out of the world comfort. It comes in a whole set consisting of 4 wedge pillows meant for leg support, back support, neck support, and incline base. The pillow is constructed from memory foam and offers unmatched flexibility perfect for side sleepers. The support system provides relief to lower back pain, varicose vein, muscle spasms, knee pain, and vertigo. Relax The Back also comes with a removable lavish cotton cover that can easily be washed.
All in one 4-pillow system
Easy and fast to set-up and disassemble
Very flexible yet sturdy
Can be placed in an upright incline position for reading and watching in bed
It can easily be adjusted.
Xtra-Comfort Bed Wedge Pillow
|Xtra-Comfort Bed Wedge Pillow - Folding Memory Foam Incline Cushion System...||2,490 Reviews||Check Price on Amazon|
Xtra-Comfort bed wedge pillow features an attractive and new design with an easily adjustable incline. Simply flip the attached triangle piece to attain the desired incline. This pillow features a decent size and beautiful support for extra comfort. For the construction, the pillow is made from breathable polyester foam. The outside cover is not only incredibly soft but also can be removed and washed. The pillow is super sturdy and can be used after surgery to help relieve neck and backaches. X-tra Comfort bed wedge pillow has a multi-position feature enabling you to fix in different positions to achieve various purposes.
Removable, machine wash cover
Soft, comfy surface
Flexible and sturdy for great overall body support
Enhanced lower back support
Medium-firm be too sturdy for others.
Helix Wedge Pillow
Helix Wedge is a great pillow constructed from several layers of gel-infused memory foam with high-density polyfoam. The pillow is high enough (10 inches), making it perfect for individuals with sleep conditions, including snoring, sleep apnea, and acid reflux. The pillow is breathable thanks to the gel-infused top layer integrated with breathable rayon and polyester cover.
Helix Wedge pillow is excellent for managing lower back pains by relieving pressure when placed beneath the knees. For hygienic purposes, the cover can be removed, and machine washed. Helix provides free shipping to customers in the U.S as well as Canada. The pillows come with a one-year warranty as well as a 100-night sleep trial.
Ideal for people who snore or experience acid reflux
Improved lower back support
Comfortable thanks to excellent construction
May be too expensive for some
It can be a bit bulky.
Wedge pillows, also commonly referred to as bed wedges, are excellent types of pillow with enormous health benefits. These pillows assist in alleviating sleep disorders, including snoring, sleep apnea, and acid reflux, among others, plus are useful in managing back pains. Depending on the intended purpose, there are plenty of wedge pillows in the market today. If your intended purpose id to lounge with a wedge pillow, go for ones that are 10″ or higher. And if you’re looking to enhance your sleeping experience, pillows below 10″ are perfect.
However, if you’re suffering from a medical condition that warrants the use of a bed wedge, there is need to consult your doctor for recommendations regarding the height or the incline angle. Bed wedges enhance comfort, ensuring you get a sound sleep to wake up fresh and healthy to tackle the day’s task. There is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t get a pillow wedge and start sleeping comfortably, get over sleep disorders or watch and read while in bed.