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Sleep Wedges: Ease Bed Sores, Edema, and General Discomfort

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

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Sleep wedges are unique supports that can significantly enhance nighttime comfort and health for seniors, especially when recovering from surgery or dealing with edema and general discomfort while sleeping.

What are sleeping wedges?

Also known as bed wedges, they are wedge-shaped pillows or cushioned devices that elevate a certain part of the body during sleep or rest. They are commonly made from foam or other supportive materials and can vary in size and incline.

Benefits of bed wedges for seniors

Here's how they can assist seniors get a more restful night sleep:

Easing Edema: Many older adults, over years, deal with edema or swelling in the legs and feet due to various conditions. Placing a wedge under the legs during sleep can help in reducing the swelling.

Post-operative Rehabilitation: Recovery time after surgeries tends to be a longer process for seniors. Using a bed wedges can offer the necessary elevation for conditions like hip replacements or knee surgeries, reducing swelling and pain while enhancing recovery.

Mobility and Independence: A bed wedge can assist in the transition from lying down to sitting up, providing an incline that can make this shift easier. This support is particularly beneficial for those who might find it hard to move from their place in bed to a chair, especially with certain mobility limitations. Occupational therapists may use the wedges to help their clients shift positions more easily.

Reduced Back and Neck Pain: Proper spinal alignment, which can be facilitated by a wedge, can alleviate back and neck pain. It's a solution that many have incorporated into their nightly routines.

Support for Chronic Conditions: For seniors with conditions like congestive heart failure, elevating the upper body can mitigate some symptoms.

Improved Digestion and Reduction in Acid Reflux: Acid reflux risk can increase with age. By elevating the upper body with a wedge, one can minimise acid backflow, providing relief from this discomfort.

Respiratory Benefits: Respiratory issues, due to conditions like COPD or asthma, are common in older adults. Elevating the head and chest can help improve airflow, facilitating easier breathing.

Reduced Snoring and Sleep Apnea: Snoring and sleep apnea prevalence can increase with age. A bed wedge pillow can improve airway alignment, reducing these issues.

Is sleeping on a wedge good for you?

As we've just shared, sleeping on a wedge can offer several benefits depending on specific health concerns, preferences, and sleeping habits.

However, like any sleep accessory or posture assistance its advantages may not be universal and might not be suitable for everyone.

Tips for combining a sleep wedge with other pillows

Combining a wedge with other pillows can enhance comfort and better suit individual sleeping preferences and needs. Here's how you can effectively incorporate a wedge with other pillows:

​Head support on a wedge -If you're using a wedge for upper body elevation (like for GERD or snoring), you might find the angle of the wedge alone insufficient for head support.

  • Place your regular head pillow on top of the upper end of the bed wedge.

  • This provides a smoother transition from the elevated wedge to the level of the mattress and offers additional neck support.

​Side sleeping

  • ​Place a body pillow alongside the wedge. This can provide support to your torso and legs, making side sleeping more comfortable. Use a regular or contoured pillow for your head for neck alignment.

​Leg elevation

  • You can place a softer pillow under the ankles or calves for added support.

  • For those with specific conditions like plantar fasciitis, an additional pillow under the feet can provide a gentle stretch to the foot's arch.

Back support

  • A lumbar or roll pillow can be added to support the lower back.

  • A neck pillow can also be used to give extra support to the cervical spine.

Combining wedges - If you have multiple wedges of different sizes or inclinations.

  • ​They can be stacked or placed side by side to create a customized incline or to support different parts of the body simultaneously.

Pillow arrangement for post-surgery - For those recovering from surgeries, especially orthopedic procedures.

  • Combining the wedge with pillows can create a nest-like arrangement. This setup can provide support and elevation to specific areas, such as the legs or arms, ensuring a comfortable healing position.

When combining a wedge with other pillows, the primary goal is to encourage alignment and pressure distribution. Pay attention to how your body feels. If you experience discomfort, numbness, or pain, it may indicate that the setup needs adjusting.

Important note about purchasing a bed wedge

Materials Used: Wedges can be made from various materials, but memory foam is among the most popular because of its ability to contour to the body while providing support. However, some people might prefer firmer options like high-density foam.

Cover and Maintenance: Many come with removable covers that are machine washable. It's a good idea to check if the wedge you're considering offers this feature for easy cleaning.

Different Sizes and Angles: Not all wedges are the same size or have the same angle of incline. Depending on the specific need, you might require a steeper or more gradual incline. Some are also adjustable.

Portability: If you travel frequently, you might want to consider the weight and portability of the wedge. Some are foldable or come with a travel case.

Duration of Use: While some people benefit from using it throughout the night, others might only need it for a few hours or while relaxing.

Combining with Other Pillows: Depending on personal preference, you might want to use a regular pillow on top of the wedges.

It's essential to consult with healthcare professionals. Selecting the right type, size, and incline angle should be based on individual requirements and medical conditions to ensure maximum benefits and comfort.

Nothing replaces personal advice from a medical professional who has experience in understanding specific conditions.

Purchase sleep wedges online today

The Skil-Care Bed Positioning Wedge offers an outstanding solution for seniors and carers, specifically targeting pressure-related concerns. Designed to combat the formation and

a pair of bed wedges

worsening of decubitus ulcers, this wedge redistributes pressure from high-risk areas like the sacrum.

With a 45º inclination, it efficiently relieves pressure on the coccyx and hipbone, benefiting bedridden patients or those with restricted mobility.

Enhanced with a Low-Shear II cover, the wedge minimises skin stress during movement, while its Anti-Slip Bottom guarantees stability, ensuring consistent therapeutic advantages. Order today.


Affiliate links

Adaptive Clothing Australia has established affiliate partnerships with reputable healthcare product providers. When you make a purchase through our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. These commissions help support our mission to provide valuable information and resources to our readers. We appreciate your support and trust in our recommendations.

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The Adaptive Clothing Australia Team

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