Pillows have been used ever since man learned to sleep on beds. They have been initially used to elevate the head during sleeping. Eventually, pillows improved by incorporating principles of ergonomics. The manufacturers have designed them to correctly position the body that their posture is maintained. One of the ergonomic pillows that are rapidly gaining popularity is the bed wedge.
The bed wedge is a triangular-shaped pillow that contains sturdy foam or air. Some high end bed wedges are made up of memory foam. Whatever they contain, they still retain the wedge shape that maintains the ergonomics of the human body in stationary positions, especially when sitting and sleeping. They can be placed on the bed or can replace the foam used in fixtures like couches, etc.
The following lists the benefits of a bed wedge for sleeping:
- Promotes blood circulation - Blood is needed by the body to circulate oxygen and nutrients to cells and remove debris. The correct positioning of the body during sleep allows blood to flow effortlessly on areas that have not been cramped by irregular postures during sleeping. This is also especially helpful for pregnant women in their last trimester.
- Encourages proper breathing - Respiration allows oxygen to reach the body cells and regenerate them for another day's work. Poor breathing during sleep can cause insomnia, snoring or sleep apnea which can leave you drowsy the next day. The raised head on a bed wedge allows the soft tissue of the throat to relax, making nasal breathing possible. Asthma patients benefit from it.
- Support correct posture - Back problems are caused by prolonged poor positioning during sleep. They need to be addressed for young people whose vertebral bones are developing which can contribute to their adult height. Older people also need to be wary of their sleeping posture, as the degenerating bones need support to avoid friction with the poorly lubricated joints.
- Maintains gastric peristalsis - The elevated head position and the lowered belly promote gastric peristalsis. This allows the stomach contents to travel along with gravity towards the intestines. It promotes good digestion. This is helpful for acid reflux patients who want to keep their stomach contents down, especially during sleep.
- Allows relaxation - Limbs do a lot of work during waking hours and require total relaxation during sleep. Legs need to be somewhat elevated to prevent swelling and pain. Arms have to be unperturbed on the sides and not cramped. Some bed wedges are designed to cater to these limbs.
The trick to using the bed wedge is to align the different angle wedges in accordance to the body part that needs the necessary elevation or depression. Most manufacturers include a user's manual for every purchase. Sleep is an important human activity necessary to maintain over-all heath. Using a bed wedge for sleeping may help get your health on the right track. Consult a professional therapist to advise you which kind of wedge material, design and size will address your needs best.