How to Use a Bed Wedge for Sleeping
The Mayo Clinic recommends the use of a bed wedge during sleep to help relieve the symptoms of certain conditions, such as heartburn and varicose veins or to prevent pressure ulcers. Bed wedges provide an extra element of comfort, allowing sufferers of pain and other symptoms to get a solid night's rest to help with healing. The size and shape of your bed wedge will be determined by the symptoms you are aiming to treat.
Remove your pillows from the top of your bed, and place the bed wedge in their place. To sleep as straight up as possible, lay the bed wedge with the widest end down, the flat side against the wall, and the narrowest part at the top. Lay against it and make sure it is comfortable for you.
Ease the pain of heartburn, or lung and head congestion, by keeping the bed wedge in as upright a position as possible. Keeping your upper body elevated will prevent acid from entering your esophagus, and if treating chest or head congestion it will prevent fluid from building up in your airways and allow your sinuses to drain. For a slight incline that doesn't require such an upright position, lay the wedge with the wide bottom against the wall, the flat side against the bed, and the narrowest end going under your upper body.
Place the bed wedge under your knees to relieve lower back pain. This is also a good position to use for varicose veins, swollen feet or tired muscles in legs. Be sure the bed wedge is resting on the bottom sheet, and not on a blanket that can cause it to move in the night.
Sleep on your side without the risk of rolling out of position by placing a bed wedge against your back, with the narrow end running under your waist.
Speak to your doctor about what type of wedge would be best for you and what position for sleep would best help your condition.
If you are being treated for any conditions such as lung problems or blood clots, speak to your doctor before using a bed wedge.
- Mayo Clinic: Heartburn treatment
- Mayo Clinic: Pressure Sores
- Khan BA, Sodhi JS, Zargar SA, et al. Effect of bed head elevation during sleep in symptomatic patients of nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012;27(6):1078‐1082. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1746.2011.06968.x
- Zhu K, Bradley TD, Patel M, et al. Influence of head position on obstructive sleep apnea severity. Sleep Breath. 2017 Dec;21(4):821-828. doi:10.1007/s11325-017-1525-2
- National Sleep Foundation: Sleep.org. How to prevent snoring.
- Lazzaro EC, Mallick A, Singh M, et al. The effect of positional changes on intraocular pressure during sleep in patients with and without glaucoma. J Glaucoma. 2014;23(5):282‐287. doi:10.1097/01.ijg.0000435848.90957.fe
A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."