How a Wedge Pillow Can Improve Your Sleep (and Your Life)


Considering how absolutely necessary sleep is to our health, it can be infuriatingly difficult to get a good night of it. We have thousands of years of technological advancement and medical research to draw on, and yet many of us are stuck awake and watching infomercials at 3 a.m.

It’s clear that your choices of bedding—especially your pillows—have a huge impact on how well you sleep, as does how often you replace all the fluff that supports you at night. But your choice of pillow can affect more than just how many hours of sleep you log each night. If you’re dealing with issues like acid reflux, snoring, or back issues, a traditional flat pillow may be doing you no favors. Instead, a wedge pillow—a foam pillow shaped sort of like a wedge of cheese or piece of cake—might be a better choice. While you should consult with your doctor first if you’re concerned about any aspect of your health, wedge pillows can offer a range of specific health benefits that can not only improve your sleep but also how you feel during your waking hours.

Wedge pillow benefits

A wedge-shaped pillow like this one or this slightly fancier one can help you with:

  • Acid reflux. If you suffer from heartburn and acid reflux, elevating your torso at night can reduce symptoms. When lying flat on your bed, the acid in your stomach doesn’t have to fight gravity to creep up into your esophagus. A wedge pillow brings gravity back into the equation.

  • Sinus issues. If you regularly suffer from clogged sinuses and the resulting headaches, a wedge pillow can improve drainage as you sleep, reducing the incidence and severity of your symptoms.

  • Snoring and apnea. If your snoring has driven your partner insane or you’re dealing with sleep apnea (where you stop breathing for short periods of time—a potentially very serious problem), a wedge pillow has been shown to be beneficial because it changes the angle and position of the airway. Sleeping in an inclined position can reduce snoring and improve sleep overall, as well as significantly reduce the instances of sleep apnea.

  • Back pain. If you wake up with a stiff back, a wedge pillow may be one part of the solution. Sleeping with a wedge pillow arranged so your neck rests on the high end can keep your spine in a straight line, removing pressure and reducing back and neck pain.

  • Glaucoma prevention. Glaucoma is a group of disorders that can impair your vision and may eventually result in blindness. There are almost no early symptoms, so by the time you notice vision problems it’s usually too late to restore vision loss. Increased pressure within the eye is one cause of glaucoma, and studies have shown that sleeping on an incline reduces eye pressure, which can lower the chance of developing glaucoma and slow the disease’s progress.

Sleeping with a wedge pillow can take a little getting used to, but the benefits can be significant, especially if you’re dealing with breathing issues or back pain. You might need to experiment with a few different sizes and materials to find the right one for your sleeping style and conditions, but a better night’s sleep could be your reward.

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