How many nights do you find yourself tossing and turning, unable to get in a comfortable position to go to sleep? Do you struggle with sleep apnea, acid reflux, or glaucoma? Does your back hurt from sitting up in bed to work or read, propped up on inferior pillows and cushions?
If any of this sounds familiar, you could benefit from having a wedge cushion in your life. Read on to learn more about these cushions and all the ways you can use one around the home.
What Is a Wedge Cushion?
Before we dive into all the different ways you can use a wedge cushion, let’s talk some about what these cushions actually are. As the name suggests, a wedge cushion is shaped like a right triangle. They are usually about the size of a seat cushion, though they can be up to four feet long and a few feet wide.
Wedge cushions often have a stable base meant to provide maximum support while you’re leaning against them. They may have a no-slip base on them, but many larger models, which can be used in a variety of positions, will not. Some may also have a cutout for your tailbone to alleviate pressure if you do decide to use it as a seat cushion.
Sitting up in Bed
One of the best uses for wedge pillows is to help you sit up in bed. How many times have you piled cushions behind your back so you can sit up and read or work without feeling like the headboard is going to break your spine? A wedge cushion can make sitting in bed much more comfortable, as well as provide your back the support it needs.
To sit in bed with a wedge pillow, place it on its end with the right angle tucked into the corner of your bed and headboard. Sit with your hips against the base of the pillow and lean back so your back is supported on the recline. You may also want to use a neck pillow to prevent strain on your upper spine.
Managing Sleep Apnea
If you or your partner has sleep apnea, you may feel like you’re doomed to sleepless nights for the rest of your life. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which the soft palate falls down as your body relaxes, closing off the back of your throat and making it impossible to breathe. You cease breathing for up to thirty seconds at a time before your body wakes up due to oxygen deprivation, your soft palette lifts, and you resume the cycle.
A wedge pillow can be a great way to manage sleep apnea without getting a CPAP machine. Lay the pillow on its back with the short end pressed against the headboard. Sleep with your upper body on the incline of the pillow; this elevates you and helps to keep your airways open, giving you a better night’s rest.
Easing Acid Reflux
Acid reflux can be very uncomfortable, and lying flat down in bed can make things worse. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows up into your esophagus, causing that painful sensation we know as heartburn. It can be triggered by stress or eating certain foods, especially spicy or dairy-heavy dishes.
Lying down flat in bed can make it easier for your stomach acid to travel into your esophagus, causing heartburn. On nights when your acid reflux is worse, lay your wedge cushion in the same position as you would to manage sleep apnea. Sleeping with your upper body elevated this way can help to keep your stomach acid where it belongs and you comfortable throughout the night.
Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that damages your optic nerve and, over time, can lead to blindness. In fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60. Most of the time, the factor that causes the damage to your optic nerve is abnormally high pressure in your eye.
Sleeping flat on your back can increase pressure in your eyes since your blood is able to flow more easily throughout your body. Sleeping on a slight incline can help to reduce pressure in your eyes somewhat and delay the progress of this condition. Place your wedge pillow in the same position as you would for sleep apnea or acid reflux management and protect your vision for years to come.
Sleeping With a Sinus Infection
Sinus infections are no fun when you’re awake, but they can get downright painful when you’re sleeping. A sinus infection occurs when the mucus in your sinus cavities (small air pockets throughout your skull) becomes infected. In addition to causing a runny nose and sore throat, these can also cause headaches as those infected sinuses build up pressure.
When you have a sinus infection, the last thing you may want to do is sleep lying down. The additional blood flow to your head can make you feel like your skull is going to explode. Instead, sleep inclined on a wedge pillow to keep you more comfortable until your infection clears up.
Sleeping on Your Side
Most of the sleeping modifications we’ve discussed so far have applied largely to back sleepers. Sleep apnea tends to impact people who sleep on their backs more, and side sleeping can elevate your head slightly, making a sinus infection and acid reflux slightly more manageable. But sleeping on your side can place extra pressure on your hips and shoulders.
Sleeping on a wedge pillow can place your body in more of a natural recline. This can keep your spine in better alignment, as well as alleviating pressure from those large joints. And if you have acid reflux or a sinus infection and you’re a side sleeper, sleeping on this incline can still help make those symptoms even better!
Sleeping While Pregnant
If you’re expecting, you may already have discovered that trying to sleep through the night is a challenge. Not only is your bladder waking you up every few hours, but your growing belly can get in the way of a comfortable night’s sleep. Even if you’re a side sleeper, you may find that your back is under more and more strain as your pregnancy gets further along.
A wedge pillow can help keep you comfortable throughout your pregnancy. Sleep on your side and slide the pointed end of the pillow under your belly so it supports your baby bump. As your pregnancy progresses and your belly grows, you can adjust your pillow to support as much of your belly as you need for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Relieving Pressure on Your Hips and Back
Wedge pillows aren’t only good for adjusting the angle you’re sleeping at, however. Our hips handle a lot of pressure throughout the day, and over time, they can begin to ache. If you’re using improper posture at work or at home, you may also start to notice your low back hurting as it takes on additional strain.
A wedge pillow can be a great way to take a load off your hips and back and relax. Place your pillow with the long side flat on the bed and the short end facing the headboard. Lay back with your rear against the short end of your pillow and your knees propped up so your lower legs are resting on the incline of the pillow, and notice how much better your hips and lower back feel.
Working From Home
Many of us have found ourselves trying to navigate work from home situations since March. Finding a quiet place to work can be a challenge, and sometimes, the only reasonable place you can go is your bedroom. But trying to prop your computer on your lap and sit comfortably against your headboard can be a pain – literally.
Use a pair of wedge pillows to create a great ergonomic workspace for yourself. Place the first wedge pillow against your headboard as you would to sit up in bed, and then lay a second one on your lap with the short end facing your feet. Rest your laptop on the incline and enjoy a comfortable, well-supported workday.
Improve Your Posture
Even when you are working in an office, it can be difficult to maintain good posture throughout the day. You may begin to slide down in your chair, putting a lot of strain on your back and neck. Over time, this can lead to a lot of pain and muscle weakness.
A wedge cushion can help to keep you upright and your hips properly aligned. You can place a small wedge cushion in your chair with the pointed end towards the front. this will help lift your hips slightly, keeping you in a more ergonomic position throughout your workday.
What to Look for in a Wedge Cushion
When you’re shopping for a wedge cushion, there are a few features you should look for. First of all, look for a cushion with a removable, washable cover to make laundering it easier. Some cushions will have a no-slip base on the long, flat side to help keep it stable no matter where you place it.
You need to make sure to get a wedge cushion style that will fit your needs. If you’re wanting sleep support, look for the larger cushions, while the smaller ones are better suited to office ergonomics. But most importantly, you need to make sure your wedge cushion is made of memory foam.
What Is Memory Foam?
Most of us have heard of memory foam before, but what is it really? Memory foam is a dense polymer foam that can be molded into a variety of different shapes. You may hear it called “viscoelastic foam,” but that’s just a formal way of referring to memory foam’s amazing properties.
Memory foam has the remarkable ability to both give way under your weight (elastic) and maintain enough structure to provide you support (visco). It’s also designed to soften as it absorbs your body heat. This helps it to give way under points of higher pressure while still supporting your entire seat evenly.
Benefits of Memory Foam
There are a number of benefits to using a memory foam wedge cushion. For one thing, it can help reduce pressure on your spine, hips, and tailbone. This can be important if you’re living with a degenerative disease like osteoporosis or arthritis.
Memory foam can also help to improve your blood circulation. Because it redistributes your weight evenly, it prevents blood vessels from being compressed or even closed off completely. This can help to reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, a dangerous clotting disorder that can lead to a stroke or even a pulmonary embolism.
Other Support Cushions
There are a few other support cushions you may want to consider getting to create the most comfortable sleep experience for yourself. For one thing, a knee pillow can be a great way to support your knees and keep your hips in proper alignment when you’re sitting up in bed. These half-moon pillows slide under your knees and are ideal for back sleepers.
You may also want to consider getting a memory foam neck support to use with your wedge pillow. This can help to keep your spine aligned from tip to tail so you can live your best pain-free life. And, of course, memory foam sleeping pillows are a good idea no matter what position you prefer to sleep in.
Get the Right Cushion for You
A wedge cushion is one of the most multi-functional supports you can have around your home. These cushions can make it more comfortable to sit up and work in bed, help to alleviate sleep apnea and acid reflux, and even improve your posture in the office. Decide what sort of wedge pillow will work best for you and start eliminating back and hip pain today.
If you’d like to find more tools to help you live your most comfortable life, check out the rest of our site at Everlasting Comfort. We offer everything from memory foam pillows and cushions to essential oil diffusers and humidifiers. Shop our collections today and discover what a pain-free life can look like for you.