If you are someone who prefers sleeping on the side but struggles to find the right pillow that marries comfort and wanted level of support, look no further than wedge pillows. With their distinct shape resembling a gently inclined triangle, these pillows can not only deliver a plush surface for rest but are also designed to promote optimal spinal alignment.
What is truly intriguing, however, is the fact that wedge pillows possess a fascinating quality — though not guaranteed remedies, they emerge as promising additions to the routines of those dealing with concerns such as acid reflux or snoring.
To help you navigate the market and discover all the benefits and features that make the best wedge pillow for you, we have compiled a list of some of the best options out there, drawing on our extensive research.
Best wedge pillow for side sleepers: a shortlist
- MedCline — best wedge pillow for side sleeping overall
- Pillowtex — best wedge pillow for side sleepers who like to read
- Helix — wedge pillow for side sleeping with pressure-relieving foam
- Malouf — slightly elevated wedge pillow for side sleepers
- DailySale — best ergonomic wedge pillow for side sleeping
How we ranked the best wedge pillows for side sleepers
Selecting the best wedge pillow for side sleeping requires more than just considering aesthetics. It necessitates thorough research since individual preferences and needs can differ significantly. Below, we outline the four essential criteria that guided our selection process.
|Cooling-gel-infused foam, polyurethane foam, memory foam
|Value for your buck
- Shape. While all the options on our list are wedge-shaped, efforts have been made to include pillows with distinct designs. This variety should allow users to select pillows that align with their aesthetic and comfort preferences.
- Material. We have prioritized pillows crafted from high-quality materials, each possessing its own set of features. This is why, in our list, you will find wedge pillows made from cooling-gel-infused foam, polyurethane foam, memory foam, and more.
- Versatility. Our selection includes wedge pillows that extend beyond their primary function and can serve various purposes. These pillows offer support for reading, accommodate those who occasionally switch from sleeping on their side to sleeping on their backs, and are ideal for the ones who prefer using a pillow for elevated leg support.
- Price. While it is true that high-quality materials and design often come with a higher price tag, investing in a durable wedge pillow for side sleeping can provide better long-term value. With this in mind, we have made a deliberate effort to pick out options that best strike a balance between affordability and quality.
Best wedge pillow for side sleepers: an overview
The following best wedge pillow for side sleepers list is the product of our thorough research, during which we considered multiple variables — all to align with your preferences and potentially bring more comfort and ease to your sleep routine.
1. MedCline — best wedge pillow for side sleeping overall
Claiming the title of the best wedge pillow for side sleepers in our books is MedCline's Shoulder Relief System. Specifically developed for side sleeping, this product stands out among other choices listed, presenting itself as a truly distinctive choice for those who find comfort in sleeping on their sides.
Reflected in the pillow's unique design is the patented arm pocket, allowing for left or right-side sleeping. This can provide those with shoulder pain, injuries, or recent surgery the all-night comfort and extra support they need at night.
With CertiPUR-US® gel-infused foam providing a cooling effect for those prone to feeling hot at night, MedCline's sleeping system can create an elevation angle of up to 10°.
The Shoulder Relief System from MedCline, which includes a shoulder relief inclined wedge, insert pillow, therapeutic body pillow, and a set of removable, washable cases, is priced at $249.99. You can find it on the brand's official website.
2. Pillowtex — best wedge pillow for side sleepers who like to read
With a resemblance to that of a pillow found in a typical bedroom, the Pillowtex Reading Wedge Bed Pillow is tailor-made for those who enjoy reading as a prelude to a calm and restful night's sleep.
Bedtime reading can become less enjoyable when regular pillows lose their support and start crumpling. Pillowtex's offering, however, is specially designed to remain resilient and maintain its firmness, allowing you to comfortably curl up with a good book.
With a 100% cotton double-layer cover, the Pillowtex Reading Wedge Bed Pillow provides both protection against filling protrusion and a plushier sleeping experience.
There are two material options you can choose from — you can either opt for a hypoallergenic polyester version or go with a down and feather pillow for a more luxurious experience.
The Pillowtex Wedge Pillow, recommended for dry cleaning but also suitable for gentle machine washing, is currently up for grabs for a price of $109.99.
3. Helix — wedge pillow for side sleeping with pressure-relieving foam
With pressure-relieving foam atop its attribute profile, this wedge pillow offering from Helix is multi-purpose. It can be used as an elevated headrest, ideal for reading or watching TV in bed, or even as a leg-supporting pillow.
While designed for comfort and daily use, the gradually sloping design of the Helix Wedge Pillow makes it a promising addition to the sleep inventory for those suffering from back and neck pains, snoring, and acid reflux.
Featuring a gel memory foam layer and polyurethane foam, this hypoallergenic wedge pillow comes with a machine-washable cover crafted from a breathable blend of rayon and polyester.
While initially priced at $109, the Helix Wedge Pillow can now be tried for only $87.20, all with a 100-night sleep trial.
4. Malouf — slightly elevated pillow for side sleepers
While many wedge pillows on the market promise to alleviate issues such as acid reflux, snoring, and certain aches and pains, they can be challenging to sleep on, given their steep incline.
Developed with those who appreciate the benefits of wedge pillows but desire a more subtle incline in mind, the Z Wedge Pillow by Malouf is a promising option for side sleepers looking for that gentle slope that just hits the sweet spot.
This hypoallergenic wedge pillow from Malouf, fashioned from polyurethane foam, not only resists dust mites and microbes but also includes a luxurious bamboo velour cover. The cover promotes airflow to maintain a cool temperature and is conveniently detachable, allowing for easy cleaning.
Reduced from its original price of $100, the Z Wedge Pillow by Malouf is now available for $84.99. It comes with a 30-day sleep better guarantee from the manufacturer.
5. DailySale — best ergonomic wedge pillow for side sleeping
Closing our best wedge pillow for side sleepers list is the DailySale’s 4-Piece: Orthopedic Wedge Pillow Set — a set made from 45D memory foam that includes a base pillow, angled back pillow, head pillow, and knee pillow.
All of the above-mentioned pillows are, in fact, customizable and can be easily mixed and matched to contour around your body. This promises an incredibly personalized experience, whether for back, neck, head, or shoulder support.
With its ergonomic design, this bed wedge pillow set from DailySale offers not only thickness and softness but also breathability. It is further equipped with non-slip Velcro straps to ensure excellent stability.
For those on the lookout for some serious savings, DailySale’s wedge pillow set is currently available for just $99, marked down from its original price of $149.
Comparison of the best wedge pillows for side sleepers
|CertiPUR-US®, gel-infused foam
|Personalized based on your height
|Polyester or down and feather
|18" x 12" x 36"
|Suitable for gentle machine washing
|Hypoallergenic gel memory foam and polyurethane foam
|24" x 24" x 10"
|24" x 24" x 7"
|45D memory foam
|8.1" x 18" x 24", 12.5" x 10" x 26.7", 24" x 9"
Benefits and challenges of side sleeping
One of the more significant benefits of side sleeping is its potential to reduce snoring. When sleeping on the side, the airways are more likely to remain open, potentially minimizing the vibrations that lead to snoring. This can contribute to a quieter and more restful night for both the person dealing with snoring and their sleep partner.
Another potential benefit of lying on one's side is the prevention of stomach acid traveling back to the esophagus and causing damage and inflammation to the tissues. This natural alignment may be particularly beneficial for individuals with acid reflux.
Contrary to its benefits, side sleeping comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to the strain it places on the shoulders and hips. Discomfort and potential strain over time may arise as the upper arm and shoulder bear the body's weight.
How do wedge pillows support side sleepers?
While side sleeping is a common position, it can sometimes lead to spinal misalignment, causing discomfort or pain. Enter wedge pillow — with its inclined surface, it can help align the spine by providing support to the neck and upper back when used correctly. This alignment is nothing short of essential, all for reducing pressure on the spine, alleviating potential pain, and promoting a more comfortable sleep experience in general.
The sweet science behind wedge pillows is primarily built on their inclined design, which, when strategically placed under the upper body, provides necessary elevation and support. This elevation can help maintain proper spinal alignment for side sleepers, contributing to a more comfortable and potentially more pleasant sleep experience.
It is worth mentioning, though, that wedge pillows can have varying levels of effectiveness for different people, and personal comfort preferences are a key player here. For a personalized experience using wedge pillows, try experimenting with the different incline levels available out there.
Benefits of using a wedge pillow for improved sleep quality
Given the benefits about to be unveiled, all contributing to better sleep quality, be forewarned — a wedge pillow can quickly become a desired item of yours. And while not a one-size-fits-all solution, side sleepers, namely, may find these benefits particularly valuable.
Alleviating acid reflux and heartburn
Wedge pillows are often recommended to those grappling with acid reflux and heartburn issues. The gentle elevation they provide can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus, potentially reducing the discomfort associated with these conditions during sleep.
Now, if acid reflux is indeed a concern you are faced with, consider placing the wedge pillow under the upper torso. This slight elevation can help prevent stomach acid from causing discomfort, allowing for a more restful sleep.
Wedge pillows are a practical tool that can benefit side sleepers by reducing snoring and improving breathing. By elevating the upper body, these pillows help maintain open airways, potentially minimizing snoring and enhancing overall airflow. This can be beneficial for those with sleep apnea — in one trial, the use of a mildly elevated head-of-bed position, achieved through the use of a wedge pillow, was shown to improve both the severity of sleep apnea and sleep quality.
Addressing back pain
Wedge pillows offer a potential solution for those dealing with back pain or discomfort caused by it. These triangle-shaped pillows have the potential to improve sleep quality by supporting the back and thereby promoting optimal spinal alignment. The result is often a reduction in pressure points that contributes to an overall improvement in comfort during sleep.
Tips for using a wedge pillow for side sleeping
Side sleepers often turn to wedge pillows to enhance their sleeping experience, and with a few strategic considerations, these inclined headrests can truly shine in providing comfort and support.
- Proper height. Achieving the optimal height for your wedge pillow is crucial. Too much incline or too little can affect the alignment of your spine and may lead to discomfort. Experiment with different pillow heights to find the one that keeps your head and neck in a neutral position.
- Placement. The placement of a wedge pillow, especially for side sleepers, can indeed mimic the traditional positioning of a regular pillow. For optimal support and spinal alignment, position the thickest part of the wedge pillow directly under the head. The incline then gradually tapers down to support the upper body.
- Maintenance. Regular care is essential to prolong the life of your wedge pillow. Check the manufacturer's guidelines for specific care instructions, but generally, most wedge pillows come with removable, washable covers. Regularly launder these covers to keep your sleep environment clean and hygienic.
Other ways to improve sleep in the side sleeping position
Side sleeping is a popular position, known for its potential benefits like reduced snoring and alleviated acid reflux. However, optimizing this sleep style involves more than just the right pillow. Consider these additional strategies to enhance your side sleeping experience:
- Supportive mattress. Choosing a mattress with proper support is rather necessary for side sleepers. Try looking for one that conforms to your body's natural curves, particularly supporting the shoulders and hips. Medium to medium-firm mattresses are often recommended, as they provide adequate support while allowing for some contouring to maintain spinal alignment.
- Body pillow. A body pillow can be a side sleeper's best friend. Placed between the knees, it helps align the hips, reducing pressure and preventing discomfort. This simple addition can promote spinal alignment and alleviate issues like lower back pain. Additionally, hugging a body pillow is thought to bring a sense of comfort, making it easier to stay in the preferred side sleeping position throughout the night.
- Consistent sleep schedule. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule reinforces your body's internal clock, promoting better sleep quality. Aim for a set bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends. This approach helps regulate your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally. Consistency is key, as it trains your body to anticipate sleep, resulting in more restful nights.
Best wedge pillow for side sleepers — conclusion
When on the hunt for the best wedge pillow for side sleepers, one must weigh factors like shape, material, versatility, and price. While there are hints of potential benefits in addressing problems such as snoring, acid reflux, or simply discomfort, individual experiences may differ.
One should also understand that wedge pillows, even the best ones, do not possess a one-size-fits-all quality, and seeking guidance from a healthcare specialist is recommended in certain scenarios, particularly when grappling with health concerns. Always bear in mind that personal comfort is a key factor, and a degree of trial and error may be essential to pinpoint the most fitting wedge pillow for your needs.
Explore alternative pillow options
If you are prone to getting hot at night, take a look at the best cooling pillows of 2024.
For those on the lookout for organic options, consider the best organic pillows.
Check out the best pillows for reading in bed, if you enjoy reading before going to sleep.
The best wedge pillows are worth considering for those looking for optimal comfort.
If noisy snoring is what is bothering you, explore the best pillows for snoring.
Are wedge pillows good for side sleepers?
They can be. While the research on how effective wedge pillows really are for side sleepers is limited, they may offer relief to those who suffer from snoring, acid reflux, or even Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) while also contributing to proper spinal alignment. Keep in mind that personal preference remains a key factor and should ultimately guide one's use.
Which type of pillow is best for side sleepers?
What is best may vary. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the ideal pillow for side sleepers, generally, a medium to firm pillow with good support for the natural alignment of the head, neck, and spine is recommended. Popular options include wedge, foam, and ergonomic pillows, but personal comfort should always be the top priority.
Who should not use a wedge pillow?
Wedge pillows are not suitable for use with infants. Even in cases where infants or children of very young age would potentially benefit from wedge pillows, sleep positioners of this kind are not recommended and may be unsafe. Pointing to potential hazards, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions that the use of such positioners amplifies the risk of suffocation, as they can lead to situations where an infant might end up in a position that obstructs normal breathing.
- BMC Family Practice. Head of bed elevation to relieve gastroesophageal reflux symptoms: a systematic review.
- Sleep and Breathing. The influence of head-of-bed elevation in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.