How To Use A Wedge Pillow for Sleep Apnea

How To Use A Wedge Pillow for Sleep Apnea 

Bed wedges for sleep apnea can help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated each morning. Keep reading to learn why a wedge pillow can help with sleep disturbances. 

Why use a wedge pillow for sleep apnea?

Sleeping flat is the cause of sleep interruptions in 65-87% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea. A wedge for sleep apnea first combats this problem by positioning you at an incline. When you sleep at a slight incline, it alleviates pressure on your lungs. This position can also make it easier for you to breathe, leaving you less likely to experience breathing disturbances.

Studies have also shown that sleeping on your side significantly reduces the amount of airway collapse that can occur when sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your back may allow gravity to have too much of a pull on your throat structures. This can lead to airway collapse. Side sleeping decreases the pull of gravity on your throat, making it easier for your airway to stay open.

This means that the best wedge pillow for sleep apnea is one that positions you on your side and on a slight incline. This is best accomplished with a contoured incline pillow for side sleepers. 

The contours on a sleep wedge for sleep apnea are strategically placed so that your curves are fully supported. This virtually eliminates pressure on your hips, low back and shoulder. When your body is fully supported, it won't want to toss and turn. When side sleeping is comfortable, there will be less of an urge to roll onto your back.

Pairing a wedge for sleep apnea with a leg separator pillow

A wedge pillow for sleep apnea should be paired with a leg separator pillow in order to achieve maximal relaxation. A leg separator pillow should fully support your leg, knee, and hip so that your lower body is aligned. To make sure your between the knee pillow is doing its job, make sure that your hip, knee, and ankle are resting at a similar height. If your knee or ankle is significantly lower than your hip, that means muscles are pulling on your back. This can cause pain and stiffness in the morning.

Using a wedge pillow for sleep apnea and a leg separator pillow are the first steps to eliminate symptoms of sleep apnea. If you are waking up with a headache, feeling fatigued, having difficulty remembering things, or having difficulty concentrating, its time to start treating your sleep disturbances.    

By using a wedge pillow for sleep apnea, you will find yourself waking up happier, healthier, and more energized!

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy


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