The truth about bed wedge pillows

Bed wedge pillows might look like a strange and potentially uncomfortable twist on the standard pillow we bury our heads in when the alarm goes off, but they can actually help you sleep more comfortably. As the name implies, wedge pillows are triangular-shaped, kind of like a piece of pie only without that rounded-off bit on the outer edge. Verywell Health says that wedge pillows tend to be constructed of firm foam and are made to form a 30 to 40 degree angle.

A wedge pillow will allow you to prop yourself up for more comfortable reading or TV viewing in bed, and the Brentwood Home blog also suggests that a wedge pillow can make a comfortable mini desk should you wish to work on your laptop while lying on your in bed. (All of these are activities that Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine suggests you shouldn't be doing in your bedroom since they're not conducive to forming good sleeping habits, but maybe nobody there ever tried living in a studio apartment.) What's more, bed wedge pillows are a fairly cheap and convenient way to elevate your head or other body parts as you sleep, which is something that can benefit a wide variety of medical conditions.

What medical conditions can bed wedge pillows help with?

Using a wedge pillow to elevate your head and upper torso as you sleep can alleviate acid reflux symptoms, as this position allows gravity to prevent backflow of stomach acids. A similar head and torso elevation will also help keep your airways open should you suffer from sleep apnea. The Perfect Cloud Mattress blog notes that this pillow positioning can also benefit those with post-nasal drip, as an elevated upper body can prevent mucus from pooling in the back of the throat. It may also be able to prevent blood pooling in the lungs, something that can happen with nighttime asthma attacks.

If upper back pain is a problem, a wedge pillow can allow you to position your hips and vertebrae in correct alignment, and some types of lower back pain can be alleviated by using a wedge pillow tucked between the legs while lying on one side. If your ankles are swelling, (as frequently happens in late pregnancy), a wedge pillow can be placed under your knees to elevate the lower legs. This may also help with lower back pain and can also improve circulation problems that might otherwise develop into varicose veins or even deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Basically, wedge pillows can do much of what is promised in those annoying commercials for pricey adjustable beds, only — you guessed it — at a fraction of the price. Weird-looking or not, they're worth a try if you're looking for a comfier, healthier night's sleep.