Wedge Pillow Articles

Best Position to Sleep With a Cold

Best Position to Sleep With A Cold

Choosing the best position to sleep with a cold can make the difference between waking up feeling better or waking up feeling worse. How many people take a cough suppressant or cold medicine at night to sleep, just to hinder the work of the medicine by sleeping in the wrong sleep position? Don’t let this be you!

Avoid sleeping flat

When you have a cold, do not sleep in a flat sleeping position. Sleeping flat on your back increases sinus pressure. This position inhibits your sinus’s ability to naturally drain, and can lead to a sinus headache, cranial pressure, and breathing difficulties.

Sleeping flat with a cold can also cause drainage to irritate the back of your throat. This not only results in worse sleep but can also create a sore throat to wake up to in the morning. Sleeping on your side is slightly better because it changes the angle of gravity on your mucus. But, because you are still flat, this position can stop your mucus from drainage from draining correctly.

The best position to sleep with a cold

Sleeping with your head elevated 20-30 degrees (or 10-12 inches) on an incline wedge pillow gives you the best shot at waking up and feeling relief from your cold. Sleeping in a slightly inclined sleeping position aligns your sinuses for the most efficient drainage. When your sinuses are draining effectively, your chances of developing a sinus infection decrease.

If you are a side sleeper or are suffering from drainage down the back of your throat, sleep elevated and on your side. This sleeping position minimizes postnasal drip, letting your throat rest and heal overnight. It also keeps your sinuses draining so that mucus doesn’t pool in your sinuses. The goal with sleeping with a cold is to sleep so those sinuses can drain!

The best position to sleep for a cold utilizes an elevated head position to enhance drainage, decrease throat irritation, and decrease sinus pressure. Start sleeping better with a cold today!

-Bryan Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

What's The Best Posture to Sleep In?

best posture to sleep in

The best posture to sleep in is a posture that aligns your body correctly. Perfect sleeping posture is where your muscles are supported so they don’t pull on your joints, and your joints are relaxed but supported in a neutral position.

Best sleep posture for back sleepers

For back sleepers, the best posture to sleep in is NOT flat on your back. Sleeping flat on your back with your legs straight strains the joints in your lower back. Instead, to sleep in the best sleeping posture, back sleepers should sleep with their feet resting on a knee wedge pillow.

When you sleep with your legs elevated on a knee wedge pillow, it not only improves circulation throughout your body, but also aligns your spine. With the weight of your legs supported, your back lies flat against the mattress instead of arching like it does when your legs are straight. When your back is lying flat, the joints in your spine are in a neutral and restful position.

Best posture to sleep in for side sleepers

For side sleepers, the best sleeping posture is with your lower back and hips fully supported. To do this, you use a side sleeper wedge to support your lower back, and a leg separator pillow to support your hips, lower back, knees, and ankles.

A side sleeper wedge is a small wedge that fits in the small of your waist. Part of the reason that people wake up with back pain when sleeping on their side is because when you sleep without the curve of your waist unsupported, your spine curves down towards the bed. A side sleeper wedge will keep your spine straight. A supported spine is a happy spine.

Have you ever thought about the fact that when you sleep on your side, there is a slope from the top of your hip down to your knee and down to your ankle? This slope means the muscles in your lower back and hips are being pulled. This can lead to muscle pain, joint pain, and can exacerbate conditions like hip bursitis and IT Band syndrome.

To align the lower body, side sleepers should use a supportive leg separator pillow. This is different than “putting a pillow in between your knees.” A leg separator pillow should be supportive enough to hold your top leg as close to parallel to the bed as possible. It should also be long enough that it can run from your groin to your feet.

For stomach sleepers

Unfortunately, there is no good sleep posture for stomach sleepers. Sleeping on your stomach puts strain on your neck, shoulders, and lower back. It's best to transition from sleeping on your stomach to sleeping on your side.

The best posture to sleep in is either sleeping on your back or your side in a way that aligns your muscles and joints so they are fully at rest. When your muscles and joints are at rest, you can rest!

-Bryan Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

 

The Best Position to Sleep In With A Cough

best position to sleep with a cough

Finding the best position to sleep with a cough can make all the difference in the world if you have a cold, bronchitis, or a medical condition such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). If anyone has ever stayed up all night due to a bad cough, they know that it makes the next day miserable. It’s hard to feel rejuvenated if you can’t get sleep! Keep reading to find out the best position to be in to maximize sleep, feel better quicker, and breathe easier.

Give your diaphragm a breather

The diaphragm is the primary muscle of breathing, but most people barely use it! When activated, it creates a vacuum that allows your lungs to fill up with air. The better this muscle works, the better your breathing is. The first step to learning the best position to sleep with a cough is learning how to activate your diaphragm when you breathe.

The first step when learning how to use your diaphragm to breathe is to lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Then, when you inhale, your belly button should rise in the direction of the ceiling and your lower abdominal region should expand in all directions as much as it can. Keep in mind that your chest, ribs, and sternum should move very little. Take care not to arch your back or allow your ribs to flare during the inhale. As you exhale, your belly will slowly descend back towards the floor. The same principles apply when breathing in standing. 

When you breathe with your diaphragm, your core activates and your respiratory rate and heart rate lower. This is especially important when you have bronchitis or a condition that creates a restricted airway. When you have a restricted airway, it is naturally harder to breathe, and your respiratory rate can increase.

However, by breathing with your diaphragm, you improve your body’s ability to breath and ease of which it breathes. Breathing with your diaphragm ensure that your lungs, throat, neck, and inflamed airway aren’t doing the heavy lifting with breathing. An active diaphragm takes the burden off of your lungs and airway so they can heal.

The best position to sleep in with a cough starts with diaphragmatic breathing. Another key component is elevating the head of your bed with a triangle wedge pillow. This position puts your diaphragm in the best sleeping position for breathing difficulties. When you use a 10–12-inch wedge pillow, gravity helps your diaphragm work more efficiently so you can take in a deeper breath without having to work as hard!

Don’t let your sinuses be a drain

What is the best position to sleep with a cough that’s due to sinus drainage? Sinus drainage can irritate the back of your throat while sleeping. Lying flat on your back is the worst position to sleep with if you are having a sinus cough. Sleeping flat allows mucus to pool in your sinuses. This excess of mucous can cause non-stop coughing fits!

The best position to sleep in with a cough due to drainage is to sleep elevated and on your side. This position uses gravity to your advantage by maximizing your body’s ability to clear the mucus out of your sinuses and away from your throat. This means you heal faster and cough less.

You can find a position to sleep in with a cough

The best position to sleep with a cough does depend on the reason for your cough. To combat coughing, you can either sleep elevated on your back, or sleep elevated on your side. Both positions decrease the strain on your respiratory system, and the added modification of side-sleeping can be especially helpful for mucus drainage. Don’t let a cough keep your from sleeping another night!

-Bryan Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Best Way To Sleep With A Compression Fracture

best way to sleep with compression fracture

The best way to sleep with a compression fracture is to lie with your spine in a neutral position. This is a position without muscle or joint strain and with plenty of space between the joints in your spine. Keep reading to learn how this is done.

Sleep on your back, but not flat on your back

If you have a compression fracture and are trying to sleep, don’t sleep flat on your back. Almost all of us have tight hip flexors that pull our pelvis into an anterior tilt. When our pelvis tilts forward, it causes our lower back to arch. This means when we lie down flat on our backs with our legs straight, our lower back is arched. This arch decreases the space between the joints in your back and causes your back muscles to tighten overnight.

To avoid waking up with back stiffness and pain, especially if you have a compression fracture, sleep on your back with your legs elevated on a knee wedge pillow. Sleeping with your legs supported on a leg wedge takes away the arch in your lower back and allows your back to lie flat. This restores the space between your joints, allowing your compression fracture to heal overnight rather than be compressed and irritated.

For anyone trying to sleep with a compression fracture, this is great news. The ability to sleep with your back muscles relaxed, with plenty of space in between the joints of your lower back, is a huge relief to anyone with a compression fracture!

What if I can’t sleep on my back with my compression fracture?

If you just can’t sleep on your back, you can sleep on your side, if you have the right support. First, use a side sleeper wedge to support your lower spine while you sleep. Placing a side sleeper wedge in the curve of your waist will prevent your spine from curving downwards when you lie down on your mattress.

If you are trying to side sleep with a compression fracture, this is important because when healing, you don’t want any of the joints in your spine to be compressed. When you lie on your side without back support, joint compression can happen as your spine curves down towards your bed.

Additionally, you should use a leg separator pillow that completely supports your entire top leg. This means the pillow should run from your pubic bone to your foot. A leg separator pillow should also keep your top leg as close to parallel to the bed as possible.

This ensures that your hip muscles are not pulling on your back and that your pelvis is not rotating. This is key to side sleeping with a compression fracture because if your hips and pelvis are supported, they won't be pulling on your spine.

Learning the best way to sleep with a compression fracture is key for your healing. Get yourself sleeping right, so your body can maximize its nightly restoration!

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

The Best Sleeping Position for Breathing Problems

best sleeping position for breathing problems

To be in the best sleeping position for breathing problems, you’ve got to position yourself smartly. This involves positioning your body in a way that it overcomes the effects of gravity on your lungs, allowing you to breathe easier. There are two main ways to do this.

Sleep elevated

The first principle to sleeping in the best position for breathing difficulties is to sleep elevated. Sleeping elevated opens your chest cavity, allowing your lungs to expand more. If your chest cavity has more space for your lungs to expand, it’s easier for you to breathe.

Sleeping in an elevated sleeping position also increases circulation of fluids throughout your head and torso. Sleeping in an inclined position helps your sinuses drain, alleviates postnasal drip, and uses gravity to keep fluid from pooling in your lungs. When all these things are taken care of, your ability to sleep greatly improves. 

Best side sleeping position for breathing problems

For side sleepers, the best sleeping position for breathing problems is lying elevated while on your side. The most comfortable way to do this is to use a contoured incline sleeping pillow and a supportive leg separator pillow.

The combination of these two pillows gives your back muscles, spine, and hips the most support, while at the same time elevating your torso so you breathe easier. With your body completely supported and your torso positioned in a way that alleviates breathing problems, sleep will become much more satisfying.

Best back sleeping position for breathing problems

For back sleepers, the best sleeping position for breathing problems is to use a 10-inch to 12-inch triangle wedge pillow to elevate your torso, and a knee wedge pillow to elevate your legs. Why both pillows?

A 10-inch or 12-inch wedge pillow is the ideal height to sleep on to alleviate breathing difficulties. However, this is a fairly steep incline and some people find that they slide down their wedge pillow during the night. A knee wedge pillow will prevent you from sliding down your triangle wedge.

Additionally, resting your legs on a knee wedge pillow alleviates your back by removing pressure from your spine. Resting in this position is similar to a gravity eliminated position and allows your body to rest peacefully and in a relaxed state.

When your body is finally in the best sleeping position for breathing problems, you can rest assured that you’ll be sleeping better and feeling better than you have in a long time.

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

What's The Best Side to Sleep On?

Best Side to Sleep On

The best side to sleep on depends on some things that are unique to you! Keep reading to learn which side will work best for you to lie on, depending on some common conditions.

Best side to sleep on for vertigo

Positional vertigo is typically triggered when you change positions in bed or when you roll towards one side. If you have vertigo symptoms with moving/rolling over to the right, sleep on your left side. If you have vertigo symptoms with moving/rolling to the left, you should sleep on your right side.

Sleeping on the side without symptoms will decrease the activity of the vertigo. This will help you manage symptoms until you seek medical intervention. It also lets your vestibular system rest and as a result, helps it heal. You can learn more about sleeping with vertigo, here

Best side to sleep on for acid reflux or GERD

If you have GERD symptoms at night, it is recommended that you position yourself elevated and on your left side. Why the left side? Sleeping facing left is ideal if you have reflux because this position places your stomach and esophagus where it is much more difficult for the stomach acid to travel back up into your esophagus and cause heart burn.

To do this, you will need an incline pillow and leg separator pillow. The combination of these two wedge pillows will keep you sleeping on your side, elevated with your back and hips fully supported, and comfortable.

For more information on how to sleep on your side with acid reflux or GERD, click here

Best side to sleep on when pregnant

For pregnant moms, the best side to sleep on is also the left side. This is so that the growing baby does not push against the vena cava. The vena cava brings blood flow back to the heart, and you don't want it compressed! Sleeping on the left also decreases pressure on the liver and other organs so that sleeping is more comfortable.

Sleeping on the left side is the ideal position for a pregnant woman because it maximizes support for the baby and is the best position for circulation for the mother. Pregnant moms will benefit from some form of side sleeping support whether that be low back and hip support or support to sleep slightly inclined due to acid reflux.

For more information on the best way to sleep while pregnant, click here

Best side to sleep on with hip or back pain

For back or hip pain, the best side to sleep on is the side that has the least pain. For example, if your right hip is hurting, you should be position yourself on your left side, and vice versa. The most important part of sleeping with back or hip pain is making sure your are supporting your body properly, which we will cover next.

The correct sleep posture for side sleepers

There are two ways to support your body while side sleeping. Regardless of which side you are on, the first decision you need to make is: should I be positioned with my torso flat or elevated? If you have breathing difficulties, sinus issues, migraines in the morning, sleep apnea, snoring, or acid reflux, you would benefit from sleeping elevated while on your side.

How to position yourself elevated and on your side

Positioning yourself at an incline while lying on your side is done with a contoured incline pillow and a leg separator pillow. A contoured incline pillow supports the contours of the side of your body to make sure you have maximal back support.

A leg separator pillow positions your hips in a way that they are completely relaxed. It also makes sure your muscles are not pulling on your spine in an unhealthy way. The combination of these two pillows gives you the full body support you need to side sleep on an incline, all night long, comfortably.

How to sleep flat and on your side

If you do not have any of the conditions mentioned previously, the best way for you to sleep on your side would be to sleep flat, with your back and hips supported. Doing this is simple. First, use a side sleeper wedge to fill in the curve of your waist. This keeps your spine straight at night and lets your low back relax and rejuvenate while you sleep.

Second, use a supportive leg separator pillow that supports you leg from your pubic bone to past your feet and holds your top leg as close to parallel to the bed as possible. Most leg separator pillows are not supportive enough to hold your leg in correct sleep posture, so make sure you find one that has maximum support, like the one we carry at Wedge Pillow Solutions.

Hopefully you had a chance to learn what the best side to sleep on is for you, specifically! No matter which one you choose, support your body correctly, and you will be well on your way to a good night's sleep.

-Bryan Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy