Wedge Pillow Articles

How to Stop Sleeping on Your Back

How To Stop Sleeping On Your Back

To learn how to stop sleeping on your back, you’ve got to show your body that it can be comfortable in another position. Once your body discovers that it can be comfortable in other positions, the urge to roll over to your back will disappear.

How to stop sleeping on your back

Switch over to side sleeping, the RIGHT way. Show your body that it can be comfortable on its side. Most people have a problem with side sleeping because when they do it, their body is out of alignment.

The correct way to sleep on your side is with your spine and hips fully supported. To do this, you need to sleep with a supportive neck wedge pillow, a side sleeper wedge, and a fully supportive leg separator pillow.

Your body wants to be in a position where its muscles and joints are relaxed. Putting it in this side sleeping position where it feels completely relaxed and at ease will give your brain positive feedback. Your brain will associate comfort and relaxation with this position and the urge for you to roll to your back will go away.

To elaborate on this a little more, once you support your joints and muscles completely and correctly, your body will pick up on the fact that its muscles and joints are at rest. It sends this feedback to your brain, which will in turn try to keep your body in this position.

If you do roll over to your back in your sleep, you will likely wake up soon after. When this happens, roll back over to your side and re-position. Doing this repeatedly will re-enforce to your brain where your body feels comfortable. Soon, the urge to sleep on your back will disappear.

Sleeping on your back isn’t the problem, sleeping FLAT on your back is

What if you enjoy sleeping on your back, but can’t anymore for some reason? Let’s go over a couple of back sleeping positions that you may find more comfortable!

First off, learn how to stop sleeping on your back the WRONG way. This could be causing your problems! Sleeping flat on your back is not a good sleeping position. It’s bad for your spine, back muscles, and hips. It can make snoring, sleep apnea, and morning sinus congestion all worse. This is just to name a few physiological downfalls of this sleeping position.

Instead, sleep on your back with a knee wedge pillow under your knees. Placing a knee wedge pillow under your knees re-aligns the muscles and joints that make up your hips and lower back. This re-alignment results in relaxation of your back and hips and will prevent you from waking up with stiffness and soreness in these areas.

If your upper back is the issue, try placing a triangle wedge pillow behind your torso. Elevating your torso decreases pressure on your upper back and improves circulation throughout your head and torso.

For maximum comfort, sleep with BOTH a knee wedge pillow and a triangle wedge pillow. This creates an anti-gravity effect that improves full body circulation and provides the maximum amount of muscle and joint relaxation.

Learning how to stop sleeping on your back is simple, if you know some tricks of the trade. Comfort is important while you sleep, so make sure you have the right tools to make it possible!

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

Leg Wedge Pillow for Sciatica

leg wedge pillow for sciatica

What is a leg wedge pillow for sciatica? A leg wedge for sciatica is a pillow that will help you sleep comfortably when your sciatic nerve is inflamed.

A leg wedge pillow for sciatica should have three main characteristics: It should keep your knees slightly bent, it should keep your back in a neutral position, and it should be firm enough to support your lower body, but soft enough to not put additional pressure on your already irritated sciatic nerve. 

There are two leg wedges that will accomplish these goals. You pick which one is right for you depending on your preferred sleep position.

For back sleepers: a leg wedge for sciatica

For those who like to sleep on their back, a knee wedge pillow is the best wedge pillow for sciatica. A knee wedge pillow keeps your knees slightly bent. This takes tension off your sciatic nerve, allowing it to rest overnight.

A knee wedge pillow also keeps your back and hips in a neutral position. The problem with lying flat is, lying flat causes your lower back to arch. This puts tension on your back, hips, and in turn, sciatic nerve. Sleeping flat will aggravate sciatic nerve pain.

A leg wedge pillow for sciatica solves these problems. First, it takes the arch out of your low back which relaxes your back and hips. Second, by keeping your knees bent, it keeps your nerve from being over-stretched during the night. This simple positional change reduces tension on your sciatic nerve and reduces your level of pain.

For side sleepers: a leg wedge for sciatica

Side sleepers with sciatica need a between the knees wedge pillow. For best results, a between the knees wedge pillow should have some key characteristics. It should be able to hold your top leg (leg most affected by sciatica) as close to parallel to the bed as possible.

This position keeps your lower back and hips aligned. Maintaining this alignment ensures that there will not be added tension on your sciatic nerve while you sleep. While your nerve is resting, you are resting, and your body can heal.

Another component of sleeping with sciatica is a side sleeper wedge. This small wedge fits in the curve of your waist while you side sleep, maintaining the alignment of your lower spine. Use it in combination with a between the knees wedge pillow for best results with sleeping with sciatica.

A leg wedge pillow for sciatica is an important component of healing from a sciatic nerve injury. It not only helps you sleep, but it helps your nerves rejuvenate so you get better faster.

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

A Knee Wedge Pillow for Lower Back Pain

Knee wedge pillow for lower back pain

A knee wedge pillow for lower back pain puts your body in its ideal position for rest and recovery overnight, leaving you refreshed and ready for tomorrow. After all, no one wants to crawl into bed after a long day of hard work, only to find they can’t get comfortable because of lower back pain. Back pain when sleeping is most often the result of sleeping in the wrong position.

How to stop back pain when sleeping on your back

Let’s face it, most people have tight hip flexors. Whether you have a desk job, are a cyclist, a runner, sit most of the time, or do none of the above, you probably have tight hip flexors.

Tight hip flexors tilt your pelvis forward and cause your lower back to arch. This means, when you lie down flat and have tight hip flexors (like most of us do), there is an arch in your lower back. Lying like this can cause pain and irritation in your lower back and as a physical therapist, I never recommend that any of my patients sleep flat on their back.

By placing a knee wedge pillow for back pain under your legs, you eliminate the anterior tilt of your pelvis. This small change in position flattens your lower back against the bed. When your lower back is flat on the bed, your back muscles relax, and you sleep with your spine in a neutral position.

When you sleep with a knee wedge for back pain and allow your spine to rest in a neutral position overnight, you provide the optimal environment for healing. Our body recovers from the wear and tear of the day while we sleep, and sleeping pain free is an essential part of this process.

How to stop back pain when sleeping on your side

Learning how to stop back pain when sleeping on your side is as simple as learning what areas of your body need support when side sleeping. Just like we learned that to stop back pain when sleeping on your back, it is critical to sleep with a neutral spine, the same principles apply for side sleeping.

When you lie down on your side, you will notice that there is a downward angle from your hip to your knee to your ankle. This downward ankle puts a strain on your lower back and hip muscles all night. This position leads to pain and stiffness in the morning and can contribute to other hip issues like bursitis and IT band syndrome.

For side sleepers, a knee wedge pillow for lower back pain needs go between their knees. It is important that this leg separator pillow be supportive enough that it holds your top leg as close to parallel to the bed as possible. This eliminates muscle tension throughout the hips and lower back, allowing your back to completely relax while you sleep.

Additionally, side sleepers should consider a side sleeper wedge. This small wedge fits in the curve of your waist and prevents your lower back from curving down towards the mattress. Keeping your spine straight while you sleep on your side is an important key to stopping back pain while sleeping on your side.

A knee wedge pillow for lower back pain is a positioning tool that will help stop your back pain at night. Your back deserves a break, and so do you. So reach out and find comfort, because after all, your life is waiting.

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

A Foam Triangle Wedge: The Most Overlooked Home Remedy for Puffy Eyes

foam triangle wedge, a home remedy for puffy eyes

How is sleeping on a foam triangle wedge one of the best treatments for puffy eyes? Keep reading to learn more about the science that no one is talking about!

Why typical home remedies for eye bags do not last

We have all heard about different home remedies for eye bags: green tea bags on eyes, a cold compress for eye bags, and even putting silver spoons over your eyes! These methods do work to reduce undereye swelling and calm redness, but the effects are temporary. You wake up the very next morning with…..surprise! Puffy eyes.

To get lasting results, we’ve got to address an issue that is often overlooked. Sleep position. Think about it, when are your eyes the puffiest? When are your under-eye circles the darkest? That’s right, in the morning. Why? Could it be how you are sleeping?

How sleep position effects puffy eyes

When you sleep flat, whether you sleep on your side, stomach, or on your back, gravity causes fluid to pool in your sinuses. We usually think of our sinuses as just our nose, but your sinus cavities surround your eyes too. This is why eye pain and puffiness often accompany a sinus infection.

When you are sick with a cold or sinus infection, doctors recommend you sleep with your torso elevated on a wedge pillow and NOT flat. This is because when you sleep flat, gravity causes the fluid and mucous to pool in your sinuses, making symptoms worse. On the contrary, sleeping elevated on a foam triangle wedge increases the fluid circulation throughout your sinus cavities so you wake up with a clearer nose and less puffy eyes.

Foam triangle wedge- the most overlooked home remedy for puffy eyes

We know that sleeping on a foam triangle works to relieve sinus symptoms, but why do we only do this when we are sick? It stands to reason that one way to reduce morning eye puffiness is by sleeping slightly elevated on a foam triangle wedge. This way, we use gravity to decrease fluid accumulation in our sinuses.

Sleeping elevated on a triangle foam wedge pillow will elevate your head enough to minimize gravity’s ability to pool fluid in your sinuses, which includes under your eyes. This increase in circulation will help to minimize eye puffiness. You can even find a memory foam triangle pillow that is specifically designed for you, whether you sleep on your back or on your side!

Instead of trying to find a bunch of different home remedies for eye bags, which are really just morning damage control, sleep with a foam triangle wedge! Harness the power of gravity, increase the circulation in your sinuses, and watch that eye puffiness disappear!

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

A High Density Foam Wedge Isn't Always Firm

high density foam wedge

So, here we are. You bought a foam wedge pillow for additional support while you slept. However, it wasn’t long before your wedge got squished, misshapen, and all the reasons you purchased it suddenly began to disappear. It was no longer doing its job and that made it completely useless to you. You start looking for a high density foam wedge, but is that really what you need?

What is foam density?

According to the experts at Foam Online, there is no correlation between foam density and foam firmness. For instance, they teach that “a low-density foam can be firm, and a high-density foam can be soft.” So, while foam density doesn’t have anything to do with a foam’s firmness, it is directly related to the quality and resilience of the foam. The higher the foam density, the more foam is used per cubic foot, and the better the overall quality of the product.

What is foam firmness?

Foam firmness refers to the amount a foam compresses when pressure is applied to it. This is calculated by compressing the foam with a circular disk. The more weight required to reach a target compression percentage, the firmer the foam. This number has no relation to a foam’s quality or durability.

Do I need a high density foam wedge?

When deciding if you need a high density foam wedge, first consider your personal weight. The more someone weighs, the denser and thicker a foam wedge they require. The lighter a person is, the less dense and thick of a foam wedge they need.

For example, doctors suggest that a person with acid reflux or GERD should sleep on a 7-inch tall acid reflux wedge in order to combat heartburn symptoms. This means that a person whose BMI falls in the normal range will be able to combat the symptoms of reflux with a 7 inch wedge pillow.

However, a person with a heavier torso or higher BMI may require a 10 or 12 inch wedge pillow to achieve the same amount of support. This is because the heavier a person is, the more their body compresses the wedge pillow.

So what should I look for in a wedge pillow?

The most comfortable, cost effective, and practical wedge pillow is one that is made with a firm, polyurethane base and topped with a memory foam topper.

Let me explain:

Memory foam is a high density foam with excellent quality and durability. It is also one of the most expensive foams. A wedge pillow topped with memory foam offers maximum comfort and durability to the user, who will be lying down on the memory foam portion of the wedge.

Additionally, the firm polyurethane foam base gives you the firmness needed for proper support and durability, while making the wedge pillow affordable. It is the best of both worlds, where affordability and comfort collide.

A high density foam wedge may be just what you need to help you sleep. And now that you know the difference between foam density and firmness, you know just what to look for.

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy

Orthopedic Wedge Pillow

Orthopedic Wedge Pillow

Did you just have surgery and are looking for an orthopedic wedge pillow? Keep reading to learn which wedge pillows are helpful after some of the most common surgeries.

Back Surgery

After any type of back surgery, an orthopedic wedge pillow or pillow(s) are a must. Positioning your back optimally while you sleep will help your body heal correctly and help you recover faster. Which one you need depends on whether you sleep on your back or on your side.

Back sleepers will need a knee wedge pillow. Elevating your legs on knee wedge pillow takes away the arch in your lower back that happens when you lie flat. Eliminating this arch allows the muscles in your back to rest and keeps your spine in a neutral position. This position allows for optimal spinal healing and restoration.

For side sleepers, a side sleeper system is best. A side sleeper system consists of a leg separator pillow, a side sleeper wedge, and a supportive neck wedge pillow. Sleeping with these three pillows maintains a straight spine and balances your muscles. This way, your muscles are not rotating your spine while you sleep.

Knee Surgery

After knee surgery, the best orthopedic wedge pillow is a contoured leg wedge pillow. The initial goal after any knee surgery is to decrease the swelling in your leg and achieve full range of motion in your knee. This is best accomplished with a contoured leg wedge.

The contours in a leg wedge cradle your entire leg to avoid any pressure points or sore spots. The gradual incline helps restore your ability to straighten your knee all the way. Initially, if you are unable to straighten your knee completely, you can place a small rolled up towel under your knee until you are able to straighten your knee completely on the wedge.

Additionally, the gradual incline improves circulation in your leg and helps your body eliminate swelling. The faster the swelling is eliminated, the faster you regain your range of motion. This helps maximize your rehabilitation potential.

Shoulder Surgery

After shoulder surgery, you won’t be able to sleep flat on your back. The pressure on your shoulder when lying flat makes flat-back sleeping unbearable for a time. The best way to get sleep after shoulder surgery is by sleeping on a 12-inch orthopedic wedge pillow. Sleeping on this amount of incline decreases pressure on your shoulder and helps make sleeping easier.

Chest Surgery

After any sort of chest surgery, open heart surgery for example, an orthopedic wedge pillow is a great sleep aid. For one, sleeping at an incline will help you get into and out of bed. It also helps improve circulation which promotes healing and recovery.

Hip surgery

Hip surgery is similar to knee surgery in that the goals immediately after surgery are to decrease swelling and gain mobility. The best way to do this is by sleeping on a knee wedge pillow. Resting your legs on a triangular shaped knee wedge decreases tension on your hip flexors, places your back and hips in a neutral position, and promotes circulation.

An orthopedic wedge pillow is an important tool to have after any surgery to ensure you have a speedy recovery!

-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy