The Best Wedge Pillow For Sleeping and Reading
(Revised November 2017)
Sometimes a soft and luxurious, down filled, pillow will just not do for bedtime. Perhaps you need some back support whilst you finish that best seller novel, or you suffer from night time heartburn and need some relief from acid reflux. You need the best wedge pillow.
Whatever the reason, there is a bewildering array of pillows to choose from. We’ve filtered through the popular ones and set out what we think are the best wedge pillows below. Whilst the ones we’ve highlighted can be used for a variety of purposes, we’ve looked at them with heartburn sufferers in mind.
In reviewing the wedges currently available on the market, it became clear that one size does not fit all; there is a wide range of sizes, and it is important to consider how big you need it. Generally speaking, the taller you are, the longer the pillow needs to be.
It also became apparent that some people love wedge pillows, and some just can’t get on with them. It’s trial and error, by the looks of things. One thing is sure, however, using the best wedge pillow is a darn sight better than stacking up your normal pillows at the head of the bed. At the very least it gives you a firm base on which to put your normal pillow.
Acid Reflux or Heartburn
Heartburn (also known as acid reflux) is a common condition in which stomach contents go back up into the esophagus. A persistent cough, and throat problems are some of the most common symptoms of acid reflux.
The causes of heartburn or acid reflux vary widely between individuals. Age, diet, lifestyle and physiological factors can all play a part.
When heartburn occurs frequently, it can turn into chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Common symptoms include asthma, vomiting, nausea, dental erosion, and pain when swallowing, etc. This condition can be really painful, and even dangerous if not treated and managed properly in a timely manner.
The medical profession’s first line of attack against GERD is medications and antacids. However, there are a host of changes to one’s life which could make things better – just take a look at any of the links on this website.
What also can help you with relieving night time symptoms of GERD and acid reflux is a GERD sleeping wedge pillow. This is backed up by the literally hundreds of reviews for wedge pillows mentioning positive improvements to users acid reflux symptoms.
In this article we look at the best wedge pillow for your specific purposes.
How Does a Sleeping Wedge Pillow for Acid Reflux Work?
These pillows work in a simple way. Compared to standard pillows, where your body is in horizontal position, wedge pillows or cushions generally lift the upper part of your body in relation to the rest of your torso. Because of this, the acid is less likely to come back into the esophagus.
Wedges can vary in height, but generally they are between 7″ and 10″, with varying lengths, to suit different users. A couple of brands provide full length wedges; the makers argue that this avoids the bend at the stomach which can result from using too short a pillow – this could exarcerbate reflux in some people.
I personally use one which is 8″ (20 cm) high, 32″ (81cm) long and 30″ (76 cm) wide, which I find adequate and is the best wedge pillow for my needs. If I do need more height – say if I’m feeling particularly uncomfortable with acid reflux – I’ll supplement this with normal pillows.
Types of Wedge Pillow
As I mentioned, there are varying heights and lengths of pillow. Pillows vary also in terms of material, and firmness. There are also travelling varieties, which come either as folding solid pillows, or inflatable.
It’s also possible to buy matress raisers – wedges which you can put under the matress – and bed raisers. Bed raisers go under the bed legs at the head of the bed. All of these perform the same function and have the same result – you sleep on an incline.
One notable concern by a number of users is the risk of sliding down the pillow during the night and ending up in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the bed. I think this is more likely to happen with the longer wedges with steeper gradients, as gravity will take over. It would also help to have a non slip cover on the wedge.
The Best Wedge Pillow Reviews
Since buying a good wedge pillow can be a daunting task, we’ve reviewed a wide range so that you’re more likely to find the best wedge pillow for your needs.
InteVision Foam Wedge Bed Pillow (25″ x 24″ x 12″)
Made of two layers, this pillow delivers top-notch comfort. The top layer is made with memory foam, which means that your neck and shoulders shouldn’t be painful when you wake up in the morning. Moreover, the firm base foam is supportive enough to help you with relieving the symptoms of GERD.
Since the pillow comes with a washable cover, you will always have a pillow that smells fresh.
- Comes with a washable removable cover
- Helps relieve the symptoms of GERD
- At 12″ some people consider it too high, and some object to its initial chemical smell.
Overall, at the time of writing, it is an Amazon Best Seller and 86% of over 3,000 reviews are 3 star and above. Here are a couple of examples of 5 star reviews:
To find out more about this pillow, and read more reviews, click here
InteVision sell a longer version of this pillow, at 33″ compared with 25″, here
Also a lower version of this pillow – 7.5″ compared to 12″ – can be found here
Brentwood Home Zuma Therapeutic Foam Bed Wedge Pillow, (24″ x 24″x 10″)
A slightly lower wedge pillow, this also comes in a variety of sizes. Over 900 reviews currently, with 89% of them at 3 stars and above, it’s a popular pillow.
- Cover included
- CertiPUR-US Certified Foam – This pillow is made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TCEP flame retardants, mercury, lead, formaldehyde, phthalates regulated by CPSC, and has low VOC
- Intermediate size
- Some feel it’s too hard, and has an odour.
Here’s a 5 star review for the pillow:
To find out more about this wedge pillow, click here
MedCline Acid Reflux Patented Solution
Although relatively expensive, we’ve included this pillow because it has been designed and patented with acid reflux in mind. Its key feature is a contoured arm hole which prevents its user from slipping down the pillow during the night – a criticism which pops up on all wedge pillow reviews – but it is also shaped to the body to allow a more comfortable night’s sleep.
The contoured arm hole also keeps the body sleeping on its left hand side. This has been shown to reduce the incidence of reflux episodes during the night. This is because, in that position, the stomach lies below the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), helping to keep the stomach acid where it belongs – in the stomach. This image helps to imagine this:
This was confirmed by a recent study into patients with Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) symptoms¹, in which a “sleep positioning device” (SPD) – ie a wedge pillow – was used by a small group of patients and any change in their symptoms was monitored.
The SPD used was in fact the Medcline which we review below.
The results were very clear: In patients with LPR, using the Medcline significantly improves self-reported symptoms of nocturnal reflux as well as symptoms specific to LPR. These results support the therapeutic efficacy of an SPD for patients with LPR.
An earlier study² using a Medcline SPD also showed how effective it was. The conclusion was that the sleep positioning device maintains a recumbent position effectively. Lying left-side down, it reduces recumbent esophageal acid exposure.
- Contoured shape and arm hole
- Tried and tested specifically for acid reflux
- Superb customer service according to reviews
- A lot of users love it
- Some users find it too big and some too hard
It currently has 3.8 stars out of 5 (100+ reviews, 85% 3 star and above). Here’s a typical 5 star review:
To take a closer look at the Medcline pillow, click here.
Rather than a wedge pillow, have you considered a mattress raiser? These go under the mattress to raise the head of the matress for acid reflux sufferers. Here’s the best one we could find:
The Wellness Wedge
At the time of writing, 81% of the over 150 reviews are 3 stars and above, so this product has its fans, and it does offer certain advantages.
- No chemical odors, no pillow cases to wash
- Use your own pillows
- Flexible height
- Raises the whole of the bed or distorts the mattress (how will your partner feel about that?)
- Some users slide down the bed (which is also a criticism of wedge pillows)
- Not big enough
A positive review;
For more more detail on this type of wedge, click here
Wedge Pillows for Travelling
We also took a look at wedge pillows to take with you travelling. These can either be folding, or inflatable.
The best wedge pillow which folds for travelling we found was:
Medslant Wedge Pillow for Acid Reflux (32″x24″x7″)
- Not too high
- Carry case and cover included
- A bit too hard for some
Overall, this pillow achieves 4.3 stars out of 5 at Amazon, from over 700 reviews (89% of them are 3 star and above). A typical 5 star review is:
To see more detail of the Medslant Wedge Pillow for Acid Reflux click here
Inflatable Travel Pillows
If an inflatable pillow sounds more attractive – less bulky, easier to pack – then you might like to consider taking one of these along on your travels. However, be warned – those that are available are not as highly rated as the foam types; mainly, it would seem, because of their reliability – some appear to deflate at the wrong times, and their design is uncomfortable to some.
We bought one to test – the Rose Health Care, L.L.C. (n) Inflatable Bed Wedge W/Cover. Actually, it was not this brand, but it was the same pillow – made in China, of similar material , if the Amazon image is anything to go by.
It was not a good experience. It was too small, flimsy, and very difficult to blow up and deflate. So much so that we gave up using the pillow, and returned it. We would not recommend this make.
So, which are worth considering? The following are possibly the best travel wedge pillows available at the moment:
TravelWedge® Mid Size Inflatable Wedge Pillow (45″ X 30″ X 8″)
With 81% of reviews 3 stars and above, it is the best of the bunch according to the feedback. Some users clearly love it and use it at home as well.
- Longer than average – avoids the body bending at the waist
- Well made
- Easy to inflate / deflate
- Slippy surface – users suggest buying / using a cover
- Some find it too bulky / heavy (3 pounds) to take away
Here’s what one positive reviewer says:
More information about this wedge can be found by clicking here
TravelWedge® Small Size Inflatable Wedge Pillow (32″ X 30″ X 8″)
A shorter, lighter version of the TravelWedge is available, scoring 81% of reviews 3 star and above. This comes complete with a soft cover and a pump.
- Complete with a soft cover, bag and a pump
- Well made
- Easy to inflate / deflate
- Lighter and smaller to carry – 2.2 pounds
- One user complained the small end was too high to be comfortable (advised by supplier to reduce the air)
- Poor quality pump
To see more detail of this product, click here
ObboMed HR-7510 Inflatable Bed Wedge Pillow with velour surface (23″L X 21″W X 8″)
For a cheaper (and even smaller) alternative, probably the only other inflatable wedge worth considering is the ObboMed, rated at 76% 3 stars and above.
We would advise caution about going too small though – this one is 9″ shorter and narrower than the small TravelWedge.
- Smaller lighter for travelling
- Velour cover
- Perhaps too small
- Small end may be too high for some
One positive review:
To see the details of this wedge pillow, click here
So what is the best wedge pillow? There is a wide choice available, and we’ve tried to pick out the more popular wedges, and give you a balanced view. Your final decision will no doubt rest (excuse the pun) on a mixture of higher rating and cost.
Simply on the basis of customer satisfaction and value for money, the best wedge pillow is the InteVision Foam Wedge Bed Pillow (26″ x 25″ x 7.5″), details of which can be found here
If night time reflux is a regular problem, you may wish to consider spending more and getting the dedicated acid reflux, contoured MedCline Acid Reflux Patented Solution, which has a high customer rating, and, of course, is backed by that recent study we mention above¹. More details here
For travelling, we would favour the TravelWedge® Small Size Inflatable Wedge Pillow (32″ X 30″ X 8″), as being a good compromise in terms of size and value for money. More details here
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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