Are you sleeping flat on your back, side, or stomach every night? If so, you could be missing out on deeper, more restful sleep. You could even be making medical problems like sleep apnea and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) worse. In fact, some people would be well advised to sleep with their upper body slightly elevated on a wedge pillow.
Should You be Sleeping with a Wedge Pillow?
What is a wedge-pillow? It’s shaped like a wedge of cheese, with one flat side and one inclined side. You can place it upright against your headboard to lean on when you’re in a seated position on your bed, or you can lay it down on its flat side to elevate your head and shoulders while you’re asleep. You can even place a second wedge pillow under your knees to replicate zero gravity sleep and completely alleviate strain on your upper and lower back and hips. Let’s look at some of the health conditions a wedge pillow can help with.
Getting a good night’s sleep in the later stages of pregnancy isn’t easy, especially if you’re someone who has been accustomed to sleeping on her stomach. You need to find a way to comfortably sleep on your back or side while you’re pregnant, and you need support for your belly as well as your knees, hips, shoulders, and head.
A memory foam wedge pillow can be the perfect sleep accessory to support your whole body while sleeping during pregnancy. If you want to sleep on your side, tuck the wedge pillow between your knees and under your belly to support your hips and stomach. If you want to sleep on your back, the wedge pillow can keep you comfortably elevated to support your shoulders and neck, prevent heartburn, and keep your spine and hips aligned to relieve back pain.
Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Snoring often happens when the soft tissues in the mouth and throat relax during sleep. These soft tissues can fall back into and partially block the throat. In extreme cases, this can cause sleep apnea, or momentary cessations in breathing during the night.
Propping your head and shoulders on a wedge pillow is an effective way to prevent snoring, because it uses the power of gravity to keep your soft palate and other tissues out of your airways. You can breathe easily all night long, and your bed partner will sleep better, too.
Sinus pressure can increase when you lie down flat, which is one reason why it’s often hard to sleep with an upper respiratory infection. Whenever your sinuses are congested or you’re just feeling a lot of sinus pressure, sleeping with your head and shoulders slightly raised on a wedge pillow can ease sinus pressure and help mucus drain effectively, so you don’t wake up coughing and hacking.
Back and Neck Pain
It’s crazy that something as simple as sleep could cause so much neck and back pain in the world, but not when you think about how unsupportive some of our sleep surfaces are. If you experience neck and shoulder pain upon waking, or pain in your upper back, you need a wedge pillow that will support your head and keep your spine in alignment from your shoulders to your hips. If you’re experiencing lower back pain, sleeping in the zero-gravity position, with one wedge pillow supporting your upper body and a second one supporting your lower legs, can help your body relax fully and give you the support you need to sleep without pressure points or strained muscles.
GERD occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, and it tends to get worse when you’re lying down at night. If you’re waking up choking and coughing with stomach acid in your mouth and throat, you need to invest in a wedge pillow. The wedge pillow will keep your torso propped up, and your stomach acid can’t flow uphill. You’ll experience fewer GERD symptoms and sleep better at night.
Glaucoma causes a buildup of pressure in the eye that can damage the ocular nerve, and like sinus pressure, it gets worse when you lay down flat. Keeping your head and shoulders propped up on a wedge pillow as you sleep can ease some of the pressure inside your eyes and could even help you preserve your eyesight.
Wedge pillows are getting a lot more popular these days, and it’s no surprise. They can keep you healthy and help you sleep better — and what’s not to like about that?
Photos Courtesy of Canva.
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