Such a simple concept that has changed everything for some people’s lives, the wedge pillow offers an alternative to typical sleeping arrangements with a standard mattress and a ‘normal’ fluffy down or fiberfill pillow. While most people lie flat on a bed and use a pillow to prop up their heads, for a variety of reasons, there are a lot of people for whom this sleeping posture creates a myriad of health and sleeping problems.
Although the basic concept of the pillow has been around for many thousands of years, wedge pillows are a fairly new idea that changes the posture of the way people sleep. Foam wedge pillows offer support to help for with better sleep and better health in a natural manner. Reducing pain, combatting health problems, and providing a better and more comfortable night of sleep. For some people, this changes everything!
In this article we’ll take a look at everything you ever wanted or needed to know about the way that foam wedge pillows work, what they’re made of, what they can be used for, and how they might be able to affect your life in a positive manner. We’ll pose all of the questions you have been thinking about—and then we’ll give you the answers!
What Are Wedge Pillows Used For?
Wedge pillows usually have a core made from a hard foam, and then may be covered with a softer (memory foam) material on the outside for comfort. Wedge pillows are made with a high incline on one end and then they taper down slowly to the other end. The idea is for the wedge pillow to provide support to certain parts of the body that need it either while sleeping, lying down for therapy, or even sitting up.
Wedge pillows may be made to be placed on the top of the mattress. If a wedge pillow is extra firm, it may be placed underneath a mattress, but the user should be careful that it doesn’t get crushed by the weight of the mattress. A wedge pillow can have a short rise and just lift the head and shoulders off the mattress, or it can have a longer rise that begins at the waist and goes all the way up to the top of the mattress.
Wedge pillows can vary in height from fairly short to rather tall. The shortest foam wedge pillow usually stands at around 6 or 7 inches at the tallest point. Larger wedge pillows are normally around 12 inches in height. Any more than 12 inches and the incline is usually too steep for a person to comfortably sleep using it. Even at 12 inches, there may be tendency to slide down the wedge while sleeping on it, depending on the person using it.
Are Wedge Pillows Good for You?
Although it’s not quite like eating your vegetables (which is good for everyone!), a wedge pillow can be very good for you. It is true that they might not be ideal for everyone, but more and more people are discovering the benefits of using a wedge pillow in order to sleep better at night.
Insomnia is a rampant problem in the United States, and much of it is related to health problems that could potentially be combated with a change in sleep position. Sleep position therapy is a reasonably well-known and respected form of combating various health issues in a natural manner. The crux of it is simply learning how to sleep in a different position so that your body is better equipped to deal with issues.
People use wedge pillows to combat a number of sleeping and health concerns by providing height to work against gravity that may be causing problems. Some people use a wedge pillow on by itself and find it to be very comfortable. Other people use a wedge pillow in conjunction with a regular pillow in order to provide comfort for the head and neck while remaining elevated.
Wedge pillow are good for almost anyone, although they may tend to take some getting used to before they feel completely comfortable or helpful. Most people take a few nights before they are really comfortable with their new wedge pillow. If, however, the use of a wedge pillow causes any serious back or neck pain over a period of time, talk to your doctor about it to find out if you are using it properly.
Are Wedge Pillows Good for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition in which the affected person is unable to breathe properly during sleep. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but commonly the problem is related to the collapse of the airways which causes breathing to ‘pause’ for several seconds until the brain enacts the startle reflex so that you the person begins breathing again.
This health concern is a problem for a variety of reasons. Obviously, when people stop breathing many times throughout the night, there is risk of oxygen deprivation to the brain and body. When the body is startled awake by the brain, the heart is put under excess strain and the adrenaline pumping through the body creates stress on the circulatory system. Over long periods of time, this extra work that the heart has to do can lead to other serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more.
Sleep apnea can affect your whole life. People with sleep apnea also are more likely to be in serious accidents whether while driving or operating heavy machinery. They often exhibit signs of fatigue, poor work performance, difficulty in relationships and an overall lower quality of life than people who don’t have sleep breathing problems.
While most people sleep on their back, sleeping flat on the back is the worst possible position for a person with sleep apnea. This is because, in this position, gravity is working against the airflow and causing pauses in breathing to be more likely. The American Sleep Apnea Association says that people who sleep with their bodies elevated from the waist up may have less difficult with airways collapsing. This means that just a few inches of lift from a wedge pillow may do the trick.
Many people who have sleep apnea find that they are better able to breathe when they use different sleeping positions. Even just a boost of a few inches, using a wedge pillow, can help reduce the amount of airway blockage and allow for better breathing during sleep.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This is a device which includes a machine with air tubes and a mask that attaches to the face. People who use these CPAP machines for sleep apnea sometimes have difficulty getting comfortable while they sleep. One study of CPAP users has shown that wedge pillows, rather than soft pillows, may contribute to users being more comfortable when they must be attached to the CPAP machine.
People who have a less common form of sleep apnea (central sleep apnea) will not benefit from the use of a wedge pillow because the problem is in the brain rather than in the airways. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition and a doctor should always be consulted, but a wedge pillow can certainly work as part of a greater plan to reduce the impact of sleep apnea on a person’s life.
Do Wedge Pillow Help with Snoring?
Although many people joke about and poke fun at people who snore, the lack of the ability to breathe properly during sleep is really no laughing matter. Not only does it keep spouses and roommates awake in otherwise peaceful homes, but it can also be an indication of a more serious medical condition.
Snoring is caused by constricted airways, meaning that the air doesn’t flow through the breathing passages. When a person is awake, they control the breathing consciously, but when they are asleep, the body goes into a form of ‘autopilot’. Muscles relax, tissues fall, and breathing can become rough. When the air has a more difficult time getting through, the noise of snoring is created. Gravity can especially work against a person who has a tendency to snore, as it can restrict airflow further by creating blocks by tissue or fat folds in the neck and throat.
For a person who snores, the worst possible position to take is that of sleeping flat on the back. The back sleeping position probably promotes snoring more than any other position. One form of snoring relief suggested by doctors is called sleep position therapy. This simply means that the person changes the position they are in when they sleep so that they are less likely to snore.
When using a wedge pillow for snoring, it reduces the impact gravity has and can reduce or even eliminate the sleep breathing problems and snoring sounds altogether. Although a wedge pillow may not work for everyone, and it may not stop snoring completely, it can work as part of a natural regimen to promote healthy sleep breathing and decrease the depth and amount of snoring during sleep.
Are Wedge Pillows Good for Neck Pain?
Neck and shoulder pain are common problems that can come from poor posture, muscle tension, sleeping the wrong way and other problems. When a person is sleeping, the spine can easily slip out of alignment so that it is curved up instead of down. This is especially true if a person is stacking a number of pillows on top of each other to try to support their head.
A foam wedge pillow can help to keep the neck in alignment, especially for side sleepers. If the wedge is appropriately designed, it can allow the spine to fall into a more natural position of alignment, which promotes healthy posture and prevents neck pain. If a person sleeps on a wedge pillow without a smaller pillow tucked under the head, this could actually make the neck hurt more because of the firmness of the wedge.
Are Wedge Pillows Good for Acid Reflux?
Many people who sleep with a wedge pillow do so in order to calm down their troubles with acid reflux. In fact, many doctors actually prescribe the use of a wedge pillow in order to combat acid reflux and the related gastroenteral reflux disease (GERD). Lifting the upper body allows for gravity to work with your body, keeping the acids from the stomach from moving back up through the esophagus and causing pain.
While many people have tried to do it the old fashioned way—stacking up a number of pillows on top of each other, this can be very uncomfortable and unreliable. Not only does sleeping like that make your neck hurt, but the pillows can come crashing down when you move in the night. This doesn’t make for good quality sleep.
Some people wonder which size wedge pillow for acid reflux is best. Wedge pillows that are recommended by doctors for acid reflux are usually expected to have a 30 degree grade of lift from the bottom to the top. Of course the same thing can be accomplished with the use of a hospital bed, or an adjustable bed at home, but obviously the wedge pillow is a much less obstructive and expensive option.
Are Wedge Pillows Good for Side Sleepers?
Side sleepers who make use of a wedge pillow often find that the wedge provides them additional support for the neck and shoulders. This is because the wedge pillow allows the body to fall into a neutral position that doesn’t put strain on the spine and is perfect for relaxation and sleeping purposes.
Side sleeping is good for alignment of the spine, if the person has the proper supportive pillow. A wedge pillow may allow the person keep their spine in alignment while sleeping on their side. Some people prefer to use a larger wedge pillow in combination with a smaller neck pillow, while others use a neck smaller neck wedge pillow on its own.
In addition to a traditional wedge pillow, in order to keep the spine aligned, side sleepers may benefit from a smaller foam pillow placed between the knees. This is especially true if a person suffers from hip pain or lower back pain. A longer foam pillow placed between the legs, used in conjunction with a wedge pillow, helps to keep the top leg lifted just enough to keep the spine appropriately in line.
Are Wedge Pillows Good for Back Pain?
Wedge pillows can be used to help with back pain in a variety of ways, depending of the specific needs of the individual person. Propping the body up on a foam wedge pillow helps to remove the pressure on the lumbar as well as on the cervical spine. Then, the body can sit in a resting position without all of the strain put on it.
When using a wedge pillow for back pain, you can use it for sleeping. You can also use it to help reduce the amount of strain that you place on your body while sitting up and reading or watching television. When you place a wedge pillow behind you while sitting up, it can give you the support that you need without having be completely erect.
Wedge pillows can also help you to avoid back pain when they are used behind the knees. If a person is sitting up in bed with the legs straight forward, this can produce an unnatural curvature of the spine and put stress on the lumbar or cervical area. Using a wedge pillow behind the knees, to gently prop up the legs in a curved manner, can help to relieve the stress on the spine and eliminate sources of back, neck and hip pain.
Can a Wedge Pillow Cause Back Pain?
One question many people ask? The answer to this question is not very straight-forward and really depends on the ways wedges are uses. The reason that people get back pain from sleeping is because they have a tendency to sleep in ways that keep their spines from being aligned.
If regular pillows are too firm or stacked to high they cause the neck to be turned upwards and cause the spine to be too curved. If you sleep on your back or side without a pillow at all, this can cause too much pressure on the neck portion of your spine and that can result in back pain.
When people use a wedge pillow, it helps to lift the upper body just enough to keep the spine in line. But, if a wedge pillow has too high of an incline then it could actually cause some back pain.
Some people who use a wedge pillow may find that it gives them some discomfort for the first few nights that it is used. If this happens, don’t be alarmed. Getting accustomed to sleeping differently than normal may be a challenge at first. This is especially true if you are accustomed to sleeping on a softer mattress instead of one with more support.
It’s important to give a new wedge pillow at least a few nights, trying it in different positions and with different combinations of a regular pillow to support the neck. After a few nights you should have a better idea whether your foam wedge pillow is right for you.
Can You Use A Wedge Pillow When Pregnant?
Sleeping when you’re pregnant can be a challenge. Early in pregnancy you have to fight with morning sickness and raging hormones. Later in pregnancy just about every position you take can be uncomfortable. Using a wedge pillow when pregnant can help to keep your body supported during sleep, or even just while lying down.
For use during pregnancy, it may be helpful to have a shorter wedge pillow that fits underneath the belly when sleeping on the side. This can help to lend support to the weight of the baby bump so that all of the pressure is not placed on the spine. This can promote a much-needed comfortable night of rest.
Another issue during pregnancy can be indigestion and acid reflux. Using a wedge pillow in the traditional way during pregnancy, to raise the upper body by 30 degrees, may be a natural way to prevent sour stomach and acid reflux. This is especially helpful when the amount of medication a pregnant woman is able to take is limited.
The same wedge pillow used during pregnancy can be effectively used for the mother after the baby is born. For comfortable sitting positions during breastfeeding, a wedge pillow can be placed behind the back or under the arm to help give structure to a nursing mother.
Typical wedge pillows with a harder foam core may be less comfortable for a mother-to-be, and it shouldn’t be very high either. Keep in mind the purpose of the wedge pillow when making a purchase for pregnancy so that it is comfortable and supportive without being too firm.
Are Wedge Pillows Safe for Babies?
Although many people have used wedges and sleep positioners for babies who have reflux, this is not currently recommended as a safe practice by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is because infants are unable to adequately change position on their own, which means that they could get stuck in the foam and become unable to breathe.
The FDA recommends that the only safe sleeping position for infants is on their backs on a flat surface with no bedding or foam wedge pillows. If you are concerned about reflux and sleeping positions for your baby, it is important to speak with your pediatrician to find appropriate, healthy solutions.
Where to Buy Wedge Pillows?
Wedge pillows can be purchased in many local stores, but the best place to get the finest selection and lowest prices in online. Amazon gives a great opportunity to get the best comparison shopping experience, and the competition here keeps the prices down. You can often get the same brand and model that you might find in a local store, for a less expensive price when you buy it online, and you have the convenience of having it delivered right to your home.
It may also be worth considering that Amazon gives a deeper sense of purchasing security with it If the wedge pillow has too high of an incline then it could actually cause some back pain. s protection policies and actual customer reviews. Some companies offer online shopping through their own independent websites, but comparison shopping may be more complicated this way.
Which Wedge Pillow Is Best?
A wide variety of foam wedge pillows are available on the market today, and it could be difficult to choose which one is best. Taking a look at online reviews from people who have experience with a certain brand or model of product can be extremely helpful in determining which wedge pillow you want to buy. When people share their personal experiences with a product, you get the benefit of having insider information.
When considering the purchase of a wedge pillow, here are some of the most important factors to consider:
The core of a wedge pillow should be made of a heavy duty, solid foam that will hold up under the weight of a person. But this kind of firmness is usually very uncomfortable for lying on. That means that most of the best wedge pillows are covered in a layer of memory foam. This is able to conform to the contours of your body, making you very comfortable while sleeping.
For people with allergies, it is important that your wedge pillow is made from hypoallergenic materials. One drawback of almost all foam wedge pillows is that the foam has a tendency to give off a strong, chemical odor for the first day or two that it is out of the packaging, so this is something worth considering. Some people also want to consider if the materials used in the foam are eco-friendly.
The size range of wedge pillow is usually considered based on the height of the wedge (typically between 7 and 12 inches) as well as the length (up to 27 inches). The size of wedge pillow you choose will very much depend on what you are using it for. If it’s for use to sit up in bed, a 10 to 12 inch height might be helpful. Other people prefer something more along the lines of 8 inches. Truly, there is a personal preference involved in choosing the height of a wedge pillow.
For acid reflux or GERD, the consideration has to do with the degrees of rise. Many medical professionals has recommended that a wedge pillow between 6 and 8 inches at the top would work best as this is around 30 degree. For severe cases of acid reflux, 45 degrees (10-12 inches high) may be better.
In addition to considering the height of the wedge pillow, the length is also important. When the rise is long, that means that angle isn’t as steep and it might be more comfortable for sleeping on. Foam wedge pillows that are 24 inches or longer tend to begin right around the waistline, and this is often more comfortable than those that begin closer to the shoulder area.
The width of the wedge pillow is also an important consideration as you think about how much space it will take up on your bed. Some wedge pillows are narrower, which makes them easier to fall off of the side when rolling over. Other wedge pillows are wider, which can be a challenge if you are taking up too much space and not leaving room for your partner. The best practice would be to purchase a wedge pillow that take up around half the width of the bed if you are sleeping on a double or queen sized bed. If you have a single bed then any size will likely fit.
Wedge pillows that come with a washable cover, or at the very least offer one for separate purchase, are preferable. This is because getting a cover to fit a foam wedge pillow can be very difficult unless it is custom made. Just like any pillow case, you’ll want to launder your wedge pillow cover regularly and it should hold up in durability through machine washing and drying.
Wedge pillows that are offered by reputable companies should offer a return policy as well as a warranty to protect against manufacturer defects. Most companies offer a warranty that lasts from one to two years. Purchasing from a company that offers a quality warranty can give you peace of mind that your wedge pillow purchase will live up to your needs.
When used properly, a wedge pillow can offer a significant amount of sleeping relief and change the quality of your life. With this in mind, it is an investment that you don’t want to make on the cheap side. A high quality wedge pillow should last a couple of years, making it worth the investment of more than 600 good nights of restorative and comfortable sleep!
Can A Wedge Pillow Change My Life?
Wedge pillows are such a simple design but can absolutely change the way that you sleep. They may not fix your entire life, or every health problem, but they can certainly make a big difference. A wedge pillow can rescue you from back or neck pain, reduce the impact of sleep apnea, restore your relationship with your spouse or roommate by minimizing you snoring noises, or help you feel healthier by getting rid of acid reflux.
At the very least, a wedge pillow can make you more comfortable. And at best it can significantly impact the quality of your sleep as well as your everyday life. Try it out and see!
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