Wedge Pillows

Wedge pillows are special triangle-shaped pillows that raise the top half of your body while you sleep. The goal is to help you rest easier, but they also can ease some health issues. They come in different sizes and are made from various materials.

What Wedge Pillows Are Used For

A wedge-shaped pillow might be able to help with many sleep and health issues:

Acid reflux

If you have reflux or GERD, stomach acid flows back into your esophagus -- the tube that connects your stomach and mouth. It’s often worse at night. This is because acid backs up, causing you to cough and feel like you’re choking.

These pillows use gravity to help acid drain into the stomach instead of staying in your throat. If you sleep with your head up at an angle, it may lead to fewer reflux symptoms.

Sinus problems

Keeping your head and shoulders at an angle also can help drain your sinuses. A slanted pillow might ease sinus pressure or help you sleep better when you are stuffy from a cold or the flu.

Snoring and sleep apnea

When you fall asleep, your tongue and the tissues in your mouth relax so much that they can block your throat and narrow your airway. This leads to snoring or more serious sleep apnea. That’s when your breathing stops for short periods throughout the night. If you keep your head at an angle when you sleep, it lets gravity help keep your airways open.

Neck and back pain

To keep your spine straight, turn a wedge pillow around so the low end is at the top of your bed. Tuck the high end under your neck if you sleep on your back. This helps keep your spinal column in a straight line to ease neck and back pain.

Pregnancy

It can be hard to get a good night’s sleep when you’re pregnant. At this time, it’s healthiest to sleep on your side. Try tucking a wedge pillow between your legs. That will support your lower back and your belly. This will make it easier to stay on your side and sleep well.

Glaucoma and eye pressure

Glaucoma is a condition that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It can lead to blindness. It’s usually linked to a buildup of pressure in your eye. Using one of these pillows can help ease this pressure when you sleep.

Continued

How to Choose a Wedge Pillow

Size: Wedges come in various heights -- measured in inches or degrees. You can choose a size based on your height, weight, and any condition you want to relieve. You might have to try a few pillows before you find one that is comfortable for you.

Material: These pillows can be made out of foam, polyester fiberfill, or a mix of both. Latex foam is cooler than memory foam but is an issue if you have latex allergies.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on April 17, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Harvard Health: “Is your pillow hurting your health?” “Say ‘good night’ to neck pain.”

Consumer Reports: “Do Specialty Pillows Really Work?” “The Best Pillow for the Way You Sleep.”

The Better Sleep Council: “Make Sure Your Head Hits the Right Pillow.”

National Sleep Foundation: “GERD and Sleep.”

Mayo Clinic: “Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),” “Snoring,” “Glaucoma.”

Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology: “Effect of bed head elevation during sleep in symptomatic patients of nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux.”

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: “A Novel Sleep Positioning Device Reduces Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”

Sleep and Breathing: “The influence of head-of-bed elevation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Is Your Pillow Giving You a Stiff Neck? 7 Tips,” “Sleep During Pregnancy.”

American Journal of Critical Care: “Clinicians' perception of head-of-bed elevation.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Pagination