Wedge Pillows: are they good for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea Wedge Pillow

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder that affects many adults all over the world. Persons with this condition experience breathing interruptions during sleep. In severe states, the individual may lack oxygen in the brain as well as in other parts of the body; this may be fatal. Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of OSA. In this article, we’ll answer the question— Are Wedge pillows good for
sleep apnea? They can be depending on your sleep position. I’ll explain.

What are Wedge Pillows?

Wedge pillows are unique orthopedic pillows ideal for individuals suffering from chronic pain and poor blood circulation. They come in a sloping shape, which helps to relieve pressure points and improve blood flow.

In simple terms, they help you to rest your head, shoulders, torso, and legs in an elevated position. Heavy snorers benefit from these pillows via elevated position; the same happens if you are experiencing sleep apnea.

The shape is similar to a right-angled triangle. They help to raise your head higher than your lungs and stomach. This position assists in easing airflow to the lungs. Besides it reduces/ eliminates any restrictions in your airways. Additionally, they relieve acidity, circulatory problems, and minimize spinal issues.

How Wedge Pillows help in Sleep Apnea

Usually, individuals with sleep apnea, sleep on a reclining chair. Some use bricks, stones, or other materials to raise the head side of the bed. Alternatively, beds that have the head side raised by 30 degrees are used; this option is costly, and it may not be affordable to most individuals.

Fortunately, you can use a wedge pillow to accomplish the same purpose as the above techniques. These pillows will help in reducing or eliminating acid reflux, hiatal hernia, snoring, allergies, poor circulation, and breathing problems, among others.

The pillow raises the upper torso countering gravity. When you’re lying on your back, gravity may lead to collapsing of your nasal passages and lungs. This may lead to breathing problems such as snoring and sleep apnea. By fighting gravity, wedge pillows help to combat the breathing problems.

Again, when you lie on your neck, nasal and sinual fluids usually pool, therefore blocking your nasal passages. The elevated position is also critical in reducing nasal blockage that occurs due to the pooling of fluids as a result of flu or allergies. This will allow you to sleep comfortably.

These pillows come in varying sizes and styles. The American Sleep Apnea Association recommends the use of the wedge pillows for sleep apnea. These pillows can significantly improve your breathing and minimize the need for a CPAP machine to manage OSA.

Wedge pillows are vital in reducing neck and back pain by offering lumbar and cervical support systems. They are also useful for pregnant women by providing additional support for their changing sleeping positions.

Besides snoring, acid reflux is the second most common health problem affecting individuals who sleep on their backs. It occurs when acid from the stomach moves up the esophagus when you’re sleeping, and it may lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, or esophagitis.

The wedge pillows raise the head, neck, and torso, allowing the acid to remain in the stomach via gravity.

Purchasing your Ideal Wedge Pillow

When purchasing a wedge pillow, it’s essential to consider the size. If you have a large bed, a large pillow will be excellent. The standard pillows are best for resolving snoring, sleep apnea, and congestion. The large ones are perfect for those suffering from back pain and pregnant women.

Also, consider the firmness; most are made of either memory foam or polyurethane foam. Additionally, the pillowcase should be made of a high-quality removable, machine-washable material that is hypoallergenic. The best wedge pillows in the market today are made of dense memory foam. The foam provides the desired support and incredible durability.

Additionally, the cushions offer better length and width when compared to ordinary pillows. They may have a single piece or several layers of foam for adjustable elevation.

Common Ways of Treating Sleep Apnea

Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) is the preference for many doctors in treating this condition. In this case, you wear a mask over the nose and mouth. The mask is connected to a device that pumps air into your throat, thus preventing it from collapsing. Other remedies include surgery, weight loss for obese patients, etc.

Fortunately, you can also employ simple but effective ways to deal with OSA, especially for mild to moderate cases. Studies have proved elevating your body via a foam wedge pillow can help in keeping your airways on during sleep. These pillows can assist in preventing acid reflex and nasal congestion.

What is a CPAP Pillow?

Besides a wedge pillow, CPAP pillows are popular among sleep apnea patients. They are cushions that are specially made for CPAP users. They are suitable for all sleeping positions but mostly used for side and back positions.

The best pillows for OSA are made of foam or memory foam, but the critical aspect is the shape of the pillow. Some are used with CPAP machines. The pillows make wearing the CPAP mask more comfortable and ensure it remains in place throughout the night. Wedge pillows are a form of CPAP pillow.

What are the Advantages of Anti-snore Pillows?

Blocked airways during sleep manifest as snoring. Anti-snore pillows enhance the alignment of your head neck and back and keep your airways open.

In mild cases of OSA, these pillows significantly reduce or stop snoring. But in severe cases, they may not be a full proof solution to the problem. Nevertheless, they bring the following advantages:

Improved sleep: By reducing snoring, the pillows, not only improve the sleep of the user but also of the partner.

Keeping airways open: The pillows enhance the alignment of the head, neck, and spine, thus keeping the airways open as you sleep. They achieve this by minimizing or eliminating vibrations on your throat that lead to obstructions while you’re asleep.

Affordability: Sleep apnea pillows area simple and affordable way of dealing with the conditions.

Provide a better sleeping posture: These pillows improve your sleeping positions. No matter your sleep position, the anti-snore cushions will enhance the posture and avoid blocking your airways.


You deserve better sleep if you suffer sleep apnea; consider a wedge pillow for comfort and enhanced sleep quality. These pillows are a unique way of managing this condition. They help to open the airways and ensure normal breathing while asleep. If you have issues selecting your ideal pillow, seek advice from your doctor.


Dan was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2017 when he was only 32 years old. He has been using a BIPAP machine for his treatment. He hopes to provide a patient's perspective on the sleep apnea experience. Dan lives in Tampa with his girlfriend and 2 dogs.

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