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Did you know that people spend approximately a third of their lives sleeping? This is why it’s essential to receive a healthy amount of sleep every night. However, pain and discomfort due to sleep apnea, nighttime asthma, acid reflux, and other issues can significantly impact the quality of your sleep, leaving you irritable, tired, and at risk for further health complications.

If you’re suffering as a result of adverse health ailments, a wedge pillow could improve not only your sleep but your overall well-being. From relieving pressure on your joints to reducing the symptoms of certain illnesses, wedge pillows have countless benefits. 

In this post, we’ll discuss what a wedge pillow is and how it works, highlight a few advantages of using a wedge pillow, and explain how to use one. Read on for an in-depth overview of wedge pillows, or use the links below to navigate to the sections that best answer your questions.

What is a Wedge Pillow?

Before diving into the bed wedge pillow benefits, let’s take a closer look at what they are and how they work.

From rectangle-shaped to J-shaped pillows, there are many different types of pillows that significantly impact the sleep you receive each night. That said, not all pillows will provide the same level of comfort and support necessary to achieve a good night’s rest. Enter: wedge pillows.

As the name implies, wedge pillows are orthopedic pillows that are specially designed in the shape of a triangle to support you during sleep or through various activities, such as sitting upright and reclining. These types of pillows feature two equal sides and an incline, ranging from 6 to 12 inches tall.

How Does a Wedge Pillow Work?

The unique wedge shape of these pillows helps raise your upper body or legs to remove pressure and promote healthy spine alignment. Other bed wedge pillow benefits include improving nightly symptoms of GERD, reducing aches and pains, and boosting circulation, which we’ll discuss further in the next section.

What is the Benefit of a Wedge Pillow?

For many people, wedge pillows can alleviate symptoms of certain health conditions during sleep, drastically improving their overall quality of life. While a specialized pillow may seem like a luxurious and unnecessary purchase, using a wedge pillow could be the solution you’ve been searching for to sleep better.

Snoring and sleep apnea

Snoring and sleep apnea can leave you feeling tired, even if you think you received plenty of rest. With sleep apnea, your throat muscles relax more as you sleep on your back, causing you to snore loudly and possibly stop breathing during the night.

Uncontrolled sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, including diabetes and stroke. To minimize the adverse effects of snoring and sleep apnea, you can use a wedge pillow to elevate your head, which effectively opens up your airway and allows you to breathe easier. 

Cough and post-nasal drip

Post-nasal drip occurs when mucus drips down from the back of your nose and pools in your throat. This can lead to an uncomfortable feeling in your throat, frequent swallowing, and coughing. Symptoms may become worse if you sleep on your back, as this prevents mucus from trickling down as it would normally.

One treatment option for coughing and post-nasal drip is to prop your head up to allow gravity to do its job and prevent mucus from gathering in the back of your throat. You can elevate your head with a wedge pillow.

Back and shoulder pain

If you’re waking up with shoulder pain, you may think the culprit is your mattress. However, the wrong pillow can also hurt your health. One solution for shoulder pain is to use a  wedge pillow for shoulder impingement. MedCline’s Shoulder Relief Bed Wedge is specially designed with an arm pocket that allows you to sleep on your side without adding unnecessary weight to your arm and shoulder.


Back pain can also be extremely painful and frustrating at night. Depending on the cause of your back pain, a memory foam wedge pillow can relieve discomfort as it’ll allow your hips and vertebrate to be positioned in a way that benefits spinal alignment.

Nighttime asthma

Nighttime asthma can cause coughing fits and shortness of breath, reducing the hours of deep sleep you receive. One of the most significant triggers of nighttime asthma is your sleeping position. Sleeping on your stomach or lying on your side without an incline can constrict your lung’s airflow, aggravating your asthma at night. A wedge pillow can prop your upper body up at an incline, allowing your airways to remain open. 

Acid reflux

Experiencing acid reflux at night can hinder you from receiving the quality sleep you deserve due to the uncomfortable burning sensation that occurs.

Acid reflux can happen when the acid in your stomach flows upward into the esophagus while you’re lying down. Besides the burning sensation that many endure with acid reflux, you may also choke on stomach acid as you sleep, have chest pain, and not be able to swallow properly.

A wedge pillow for side sleeping can alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn, helping you rest. The incline of wedge pillows, including that of MedCline’s Reflux Relief System, allows gravity to work in your favor, preventing stomach acid from going up the esophagus. According to Harvard Health Publishing, many patients have successfully staved off a few heartburn symptoms by simply elevating their head with a wedge pillow.

In addition to using a wedge pillow, you should also avoid sleeping on your back to minimize the effects of acid reflux.

Post-operative care

If you’ve recently had surgery, finding a comfortable position to sleep in may be difficult. For this reason, your doctor may recommend you use post-surgery recovery pillows to manage your pain and get the rest you need to heal.

Wedge pillows are a popular type of post-op recovery pillow since they can be placed under your neck and shoulders or under your knees and legs to support your body’s recovery through different procedures. From lessening swelling to reducing the likelihood of blood clots and cramping, a wedge pillow can minimize discomfort and make healing much more manageable.

Using a wedge pillow also eliminates the need for multiple pillows during the recovery process since you can achieve your desired elevation with just one.

How to Use a Wedge Pillow

There are several ways that you can use a wedge pillow. If you’re unsure of where to place your wedge pillow, here are three of the most common placements, along with a few bed wedge pillow placement  benefits:

 Reclining with a wedge pillow

For reclining: position upright

If you’re someone who enjoys sleeping sitting up or journaling in bed, place a wedge pillow behind you with the wide end on the mattress and the flat side against a wall or headboard to keep you upright. As you recline, your back and spine will be supported and you won’t be putting too much pressure on your upper back, neck, or head.

Back- and side-sleeping with a wedge pillow

For back-sleeping and side-sleeping: slight incline

Back-sleeping and side-sleeping are a few of the most comfortable sleeping positions. To ensure your sleep is even more snug, consider placing the wide end of the wedge pillow against the headboard or mattress. Then, lay the flat side level with the mattress with the slope facing up. The slight incline of the pillow will elevate your body as you sleep and prevent tension from building up in your spine and back muscles.


If you’re an expecting mother, side sleeping with a wedge pillow can also relieve pressure on your back, hips, knees, and shoulders, improve circulation, reduce snoring, and provide heartburn relief.

Minimize back pain with a wedge pillow

To minimize lower back pressure: under knees

Looking to minimize pressure in your lower back? Try placing an incline pillow wedge underneath your knees, with the wide edge facing you, and slope your legs downward for ample lower back support.

Get a Good Night’s Rest with MedCline

If you’re looking for a wedge pillow, look no further than MedCline’s Shoulder Relief System. Our bed wedge system is designed with all-night comfort in mind and is made with the highest quality medical grade materials. Eliminate the need for stacking pillows every night and opt for one that provides relief from shoulder pain, rotator cuff injuries, arthritis, and more. Plus, with our patented arm pocket, you won’t have to worry about putting unnecessary pressure on your arm. Order our Shoulder Relief System today and see how it can improve the quality of your sleep and life.