Most people appreciate and want a good night’s sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an adult requires at least seven hours of restful sleep in a 24-hour period. One of the reasons some people don’t experience the restorative sleep they need is because they aren’t sleeping on the best pillow or mattress for their body.
There are many different types of bed pillows, and a unique innovation to help with getting a better night’s sleep is the wedge pillow. A wedge pillow is designed to raise the upper half of your body at a significant angle to alleviate strain on your neck and back or to relieve a variety of ailments. The available types of wedge pillows are surprisingly wide and varied; each one is designed to cater to different concerns. In this guide you’ll learn about the different types, features, and other benefits to consider when shopping for the best wedge pillow to send you into dreamland.
- BEST OVERALL: Zenesse LUXELIFT Bed Wedge Pillow
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Lunix 4pcs Orthopedic Bed Wedge Pillow Set
- BEST BUDGET: Milliard Bed Wedge Pillow with Memory Foam Top
- BEST FOR ACID REFLUX: MedCline Acid Reflux and GERD Relief Bed Wedge
- BEST FOR SLEEP APNEA: Contour Products, CPAPMax 2.0 Pillow
- BEST FOR SNORING: InteVision Foam Bed Wedge Pillow
- BEST FOR BACK PAIN: Bekweim Bed Wedge Pillow | Unique Curved Design
- BEST FOR SIDE SLEEPERS: Lenora Bed Wedge Pillow with 1.5 Inch Memory Foam Top
- BEST FOR PREGNANCY: hiccapop Pregnancy Pillow Wedge
- BEST FOR SINUS RELIEF: Relax Support RS6 Wedge Pillow
Before You Buy a Wedge Pillow
With so many available options, it can be difficult to know what to look for when trying to find the best wedge pillow for your needs. It’s important to listen to your body and assess your individual requirements. No two bodies are alike, and what benefits someone else may not benefit you. That’s why it’s worthwhile to review the various types of wedge pillows to determine what might work best for you. In fact, reading this guide is an excellent first step toward choosing the best wedge pillow for a better night’s sleep, leading to a brighter morning and improved overall health.
Types of Wedge Pillows
The construction of a wedge pillow is crucial to the quality of your sleep. About a dozen different materials are used to fill pillows, and each one has its pros and cons. The four most common and popular pillow materials are listed below to explain how they’re used in wedge pillows.
Down and feathers are actually two different materials. Down is the fluffy insulator that ducks or geese have underneath their feathers. Both down and feathers are used in all types of pillows and are popular because they are lightweight, machine washable, and keep cool in warm conditions.
However, down and feathers are not commonly used in wedge pillows because they don’t have the firmness necessary to support your weight. With a down or feather wedge pillow, you would sink into it and feel comfortable but not receive the required support.
Memory foam is the number one type of material for wedge pillows for a good reason. NASA originally developed memory foam, and today it’s the most popular and widely used filler for all types of pillows. Memory foam has high density and viscosity that reacts to your body heat, molding itself to your shape while still providing plenty of support.
You might notice a new memory foam odor when you first unwrap this type of pillow. This odor is a nontoxic gas that will dissipate over 72 hours. Downsides of memory foam are its heavy weight and its tendency to retain heat, which can leave you feeling too warm lying atop it in hot weather. An excellent way to counter the heat associated with memory foam is to pair it with a cooling layer, like a bamboo sheet, a cooling pillow, or a layer of cooling gel-infused foam.
Polyester—also referred to as fiberfill—has been around since the 1950s and is a very popular and economical choice for pillows. It is a man-made material that can be machine washed and dried without damage. Polyester is also lightweight and odor-free.
On the negative side, polyester doesn’t breathe very well and can retain heat, especially in warm weather. Plus, polyester pillows can become lumpy as they age. Finally, although polyester can have varying degrees of firmness, it doesn’t typically offer enough support for your body to be used in a wedge pillow.
There are two types of latex: natural latex, which is a derivative of tree sap, and synthetic latex, which is a man-made, chemical product. Many pillows are a mixture of both latex types. Latex pillows provide a significant amount of firmness and support for your whole body. They are also allergen-free and resistant to dust mites.
While latex pillows tend to be more expensive, people are drawn to them because they’re durable, they ventilate air better than memory foam, and they are easy to clean, which cuts down on allergens like dust mites. Latex isn’t generally used for wedge pillows on its own, but you can find wedge pillows that combine latex with memory foam for added support and comfort.
What to Consider When Buying a Wedge Pillow
Whether you’re a back or a side sleeper, a snorer, a pain sufferer, or just looking for a better night’s rest, you’ll need to consider various features, like size, weight, shape, material, firmness, and incline, to find the best wedge pillow for your particular situation.
Size and Weight
Wedge pillows are generally larger than standard pillows, so keep the size of your mattress in mind when you choose one, and make sure your bed partner has enough room as well. On average, wedge pillows measure 20 inches by 24 inches and vary in height, which will affect the angle of the incline. Wedge pillows intended for use during pregnancy tend to be much smaller since they are meant to be positioned under the belly for support.
Depending on the pillow’s material, the weight may vary. The best wedge pillow should be heavier than a regular pillow because it requires a much higher density to support your body and remain in place as much as possible while you sleep. Latex and memory foam pillows are the heaviest, averaging about 10 to 12 pounds.
The most common shape for a wedge pillow is a triangle, also referred to as a right triangular prism, with a gradual slope from the bottom of the pillow to a height of 6 to 12 inches at the top. Most wedge pillows have flat sides, but some are contoured to target sensitive areas, like necks and backs, and relieve pressure. A wedge pillow for pregnancy frequently has a more rounded shape (similar to an orange quarter) and will also be significantly smaller than a standard wedge pillow.
Some wedge pillows indicated for side sleepers are recommended for use with a body pillow—a long, tubular pillow designed to offer more localized support for legs and arms. Other wedge pillows are composed of multiple pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle to create customized, varying inclines or shapes.
Materials and Firmness
It is not uncommon for a wedge pillow to be constructed of a solid foam block that generally provides medium-firm to firm support. This solid density both enables the wedge pillow to keep its shape throughout the night and allows you to remain elevated and supported as you sleep.
If you are a side sleeper, consider buying a medium-firm wedge pillow, which will likely be more comfortable. Some designs include an additional smaller, detachable pillow placed at the apex of the wedge pillow for added softness. While a polyester, a down, or a feather wedge pillow would be much softer, it wouldn’t support sleep on an incline. These types of wedge pillows are more useful for offering back support while sitting upright for reading or watching television.
Memory foam will mold to your body’s shape due to the heat your body radiates. The downside of this is that memory foam can become uncomfortably warm during the night. Choosing a memory foam wedge pillow with a cooling gel foam layer or a breathable pillow cover can alleviate this issue.
The average height of a wedge pillow varies from 6 to 12 inches, making the average incline approximately 15 to 30 degrees. Sleepers with acid reflux—also referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—or sleep apnea will often benefit from mid-level inclines. If you’re using a wedge pillow for sitting up to read or watch television, consider choosing a higher incline. If you want to position a wedge pillow under your knees, a lower incline is preferable. Inclines can be on a flat plane or have contours. Some wedge pillows will include a separate, connectable pillow piece to adjust the height for maximum comfort.
Our Top Picks
To help you find the best wedge pillow for a comfortable and restful night’s sleep, take into consideration the above criteria and check out some of the best wedge pillows on the market based on a variety of needs and situations.
One of the few downsides of using a memory foam pillow is that you can become overheated during the night. This wedge pillow from Zenesse Health solves that problem in two ways. First, a 2-inch layer of gel-infused, egg-crate foam on the top of the pillow helps keep you cool and allows for better airflow. The second feature is a three-layer quilted bamboo cover that also aids with airflow. The cover is removable and machine washable.
This innovative pillow features a patented design that permits you to adjust its height from 12 inches to 8 inches, providing the most flexibility for your needs. It’s suitable for relieving neck and shoulder pain, acid reflux, sports injuries, hiatal hernia, sinus congestion, and snoring. You can also use it for leg support and recovery from surgery. It’s a bit more expensive than other wedge pillows on the market but is worth the price due to its versatility.
Made from premium 45D memory foam that quickly adapts to your shape, this multipiece wedge pillow set is one of the only available orthopedic wedge pillows. It’s also one of the more expensive, but you’ll receive a great deal of comfort and versatility in exchange for your money. Lunix has tested this design with over 500 volunteers to ensure that it maintains a comfortable position for anyone who uses it. The pieces can be arranged in a variety of configurations to fit specific needs, from more lumbar support to neck support to elevating legs for improved circulation.
Each pillow in this set is made from medical-grade foam and includes a breathable bamboo cover that is easy to remove for regular cleaning in the washing machine. These pillows can be used either in bed or on the couch as well, offering maximum adaptability.
This wedge pillow from Milliard is composed of two layers: a premium-grade polyurethane foam base and a 2-inch layer of memory foam for extra support. Its dimensions are 7.5 inches by 27 inches by 25 inches, and it includes a removable cover that’s machine washable in cold water.
Despite its low cost, this wedge pillow is a quality product for people suffering from conditions like sinus congestion, acid reflux, snoring, postnasal drip, back or neck pain, and sleep apnea, due to its ergonomic shape. It’s versatile enough to improve your sleep posture while you are at rest, support your head and neck while sitting upright reading or watching television, and elevate your feet and legs when you place it at the foot of the bed.
Anyone with acid reflux or GERD can tell you it is a painful condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back into your esophagus, which is the tube connecting your stomach and mouth. The advantage of a wedge pillow is that it reduces the chances of acid moving upward into your mouth and throat because it would have to fight gravity all night. This MedCline wedge and body pillow system has been validated in seven independent clinical trials, which proved it to be the most effective acid reflux treatment of all wedge pillows on the market.
While you can technically sleep on your side with most wedge pillows, this wedge pillow is specifically designed for side sleepers, particularly because it is integrated with a body pillow for cushioning your knees. For even further comfort, a hole allows you to slip your lower arm through and under the pillow to prevent putting any pressure on your arm and avoiding a position that often makes it go numb.
If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the upper airway is repeatedly blocked during the sleep cycle due in large part to an over-relaxation of tongue and throat muscles, you likely wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. A CPAP machine improves obstructive sleep apnea by increasing air pressure into the throat and helping you breathe more easily as you sleep. However, wearing a CPAP machine while you sleep can sometimes prove cumbersome, and you may also need to elevate your head more than usual to increase that air pressure.
This wedge pillow from Contour Products is specifically designed for use with CPAP machines, especially because it features custom cutouts that allow you to freely rest the machine—and your shoulders if you’re a side sleeper—on the pillow without the bulkiness of a traditional pillow in the way. It also features a concave center to rest your head and improve airflow from the machine during the night. Depending on the type of material you prefer, you can sleep on the ventilated memory foam side or flip it over to sleep on the hypoallergenic, fiber-filled side. This pillow also offers three removable foam layers that allow you to adjust it to four different heights for optimal comfort and support. It also has an attached hose tether that permits a CPAP machine hose to move freely without pulling on the mask, for CPAP users who toss and turn throughout the night.
Featuring a hybrid material of a regular foam base topped with a 2-inch layer of memory foam, the InteVision wedge pillow also has the innovative addition of an adjustable memory foam headrest. This headrest is ideal if you feel the need to use another pillow on top of the wedge pillow in case the wedge pillow alone is not enough to support your neck and head as you sleep.
To use, simply attach the headrest to the wedge pillow and adjust the height for optimal neck support during sleep. This pillow is suitable for post-surgery recovery as well as for relieving heartburn, allergies, or other conditions in which breathing might be impaired when sleeping in a supine position. Both the pillow cover and the headrest cover are made of high-quality bamboo that provides natural cooling and is easy to clean. InteVision also offers an optional 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton pillowcase that is sold separately.
By positioning your head and neck in an inclined position, you can find immediate relief from back and neck pain because it relieves pressure and increases blood flow to the affected areas. This wedge pillow from Bekweim is made with a double layer of visco-elastic premium memory foam, which is more dense and durable than other materials.
The foam is also temperature sensitive and molds quickly to your body shape, while the curved edges enable a multiple-purpose design that can fit comfortably under your head for neck and back support or under your knees for leg elevation. Ideal for post-surgery recovery and pregnancy, it also includes a hypoallergenic, breathable, sweat-free bamboo cover, plus a bonus hypoallergenic, polyester-brushed fabric cover.
This wedge pillow from Lenora is a medium-firm pillow that should provide enough support for any weight class of side sleepers. Medium-firm wedge pillows are more suited to side sleeping because they free your shoulders to adjust during the night for better blood flow. The pillow measures 24 inches by 28 inches by 12 inches and is composed of a double layer of foam, a firm base, and a high-density memory foam pad on top for extra comfort.
The ergonomically designed slope allows you to achieve a better body position while reading, watching TV, relaxing, or just trying to achieve a good night’s sleep. The removable and machine-washable polyester cover is easily maintainable and extra soft.
This two-sided design suits moms during all three trimesters. Place this versatile wedge pillow from hiccapop under your belly, behind your back, or between your knees to feel more comfortable during all three trimesters of pregnancy, depending on your shifting discomfort issues. It features deluxe, soft memory foam on one side and firmer support foam on the other side.
The CertiPUR-US foam in this wedge pillow is made without flame retardants, mercury, formaldehyde, lead, heavy metals, phthalates regulated by the CPSC, or CFCs, which can be an important consideration for soon-to-be parents. A perforated foam layer also creates increased airflow to keep the pillow cool in hot weather. The plush cover is soft yet durable and washable as well. Compared to some other wedge pillows, it is very compact, making it ideal for traveling, and it even comes with its own carrying bag.
If you struggle with sinus pressure and pain during the night, this wedge pillow set from Relax Support features three elevation options to locate your best angle for sinus relief. You can use two wedge pillow sections on their own or zip them together to become a single pillow. Add the half-moon headrest pillow for extra support of your neck. By arranging all three pieces of this wedge pillow set, you can achieve more than 11 different support combinations either by lying supine or sitting upright.
All the pillows are made entirely with memory foam as opposed to a polyurethane base with a memory foam pad on top. This added feature makes these pillows softer and yet more supportive to breathe easier for a good night’s rest. The pillow covers are removable and machine washable.
The Advantages of Owning a Wedge Pillow
There are a variety of reasons for choosing to buy a wedge pillow. One of the most common reasons is how a wedge pillow can position your head, neck, torso, and even legs in a way that helps alleviate a host of health issues that can negatively impact sleep. A wedge pillow can create an incline to keep your lower jaw and tongue from falling back into your airway, reducing snoring and breathing difficulty. It can also limit nighttime discomfort from colds, sinus issues and allergies, and acid reflux by helping to drain sinuses and keeping stomach acid from rising up the esophagus into your throat and mouth. Some people use a wedge pillow to watch television or to read in bed more comfortably. Finally, a wedge pillow can offer relief from pain and discomfort during post-surgery recovery and during pregnancy by propping up a growing belly and providing more restful sleep for an expectant mother.
- Reduce snoring and breathing difficulties.
- Limit discomfort from colds, sinus issues, allergies, and acid reflux.
- Provide restful and more painless sleep during post-surgery recovery and pregnancy.
FAQs About Wedge Pillows
If you still have questions regarding wedge pillows, check out the answers below to some of the most common questions, and remember to read any instructions or guidelines that accompany your wedge pillow.
Q. Can I use a regular pillow in place of a wedge pillow?
A regular pillow doesn’t offer the support of a wedge pillow. You would have to stack multiple regular pillows to try to achieve a result similar to a wedge pillow, but they would not retain a consistent angle or form throughout the night.
Q. How do I clean a wedge pillow?
Polyester and down wedge pillows are machine washable. Memory foam pillows can be hand washed and air-dried. Latex pillows should be spot cleaned only.
Q. How long do wedge pillows last?
It depends on the material used in the pillow. Generally, most wedge pillows last for one to three years. If you are unable to find a comfortable position or the pillow is no longer effective in relieving certain conditions, it’s probably time to replace it.