It’s no secret that asthma attacks at night prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. Here is why an asthma pillow wedge can improve your ability to sleep through the night.
Nocturnal asthma occurs when asthma attacks happen during the night. These sleep disrupting attacks are characterized by coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness. Because sleep is affected, sufferers are often plagued by fatigue and lethargy during the day.
Why does nocturnal asthma occur?
There are several reasons that may explain why asthma attacks occur at night. When we sleep, mucous builds up in our sinuses and our airways typically narrow. For someone with asthma, the combination of these two factors may trigger an asthma event.
Additionally, when we lie flat, our lung volume decreases, and our airway resistance increases. This means that our lungs take in less air and our airway is up against greater resistance. This combination can making breathing even more difficult for someone with asthma.
Sleeping with an asthma pillow wedge
Individuals who suffer from nightly asthma attacks can benefit from sleeping elevated on an asthma pillow wedge. Sleeping elevated does several things. First, it increases the body’s ability to drain mucous. Instead of mucous building up in the sinuses overnight, sleeping on a wedge uses gravity to help the mucous drain out of the sinuses. This makes breathing easier.
Sleeping on an asthma wedge also helps to open the chest and lessen airway restriction. When you elevate your torso, it lessens gravity's ability to restrict your airway. This positional change can decrease the triggering of coughing attacks and wheezing.
Which asthma wedge do I choose?
Ten inches is the ideal height for an asthma pillow wedge for most adults. If you feel like you would benefit from sleeping even more upright, go ahead and get a twelve-inch asthma wedge. Either way, the effects of gravity on your chest will be lessened, and your ability to drain mucous will be improved, resulting in easier breathing.
If you are looking for a sleep solution for a child who suffers from nocturnal asthma, try a seven-inch asthma pillow wedge. This incline is ideal for a child. It positions them in a way that minimizes gravity’s effects on their chest while keeping them comfortable during the night.
Look for an asthma wedge pillow that is CertiPur-US® certified. Foams that bear this rigorous certification are free from ozone depleters, flame retardants, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals, formaldehyde, phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and they meet the standards for low VOC (volatile organic compound emissions for indoor air quality). Because these foams are made free of these harmful ingredients, you can feel good about bringing them into your home.
Additionally, be sure to get at least 2 wedge pillow pillowcases and 1 additional cover for your asthma pillow wedge. It is important to frequently wash your wedge pillowcases and covers to keep them free from allergens and asthma triggers. Having additional cases and covers will ensure that you can always have a clean case and cover on your asthma wedge.
An asthma pillow wedge will empower you to sleep better. When you do something that helps you sleep better, you feel better and live better.
-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy