The negative impacts that snoring can have on your wellbeing can quickly add up, especially when you are in a relationship.
Whether it’s you, your partner, or both of you that snore, left unchecked, the situation can quickly come to a head fast. Nights of inadequate rest paired with the disruption of your partner’s sleep can have your relationship in a crisis in a short while.
With snoring affecting over 90 million Americans, that is a lot of romances potentially on the line due to this sleep problem.
However, a significant saving grace is that there is no shortage of items touted as potential solutions to this issue. You can find everything from anti-snoring mouthpieces, nasal strips, to essential oils like lavender oil in the recommended section.
Nevertheless, the question remains how effective these remedies are, and in what cases do they work best.
Many marketed “solutions” to snoring attack the symptoms without considering the underlying conditions that create them. Hence, it would be best to see these options as palliative measures rather than a full-on cure for snoring.
Snoring is a symptomatic issue that can be a sign of a range of other, more serious conditions like sleep apnea, diabetes, or heart disease.
In this article, we look at one heavily marketed solution—incorporating a wedge pillow into your sleep schedule.
What Wedge Pillows Do?
If you have done even a little bit of research in the sleeping gadget space, we can almost guarantee that you have come across the wedge pillow.
On the market, you can find specialty wedge pillows targeting several conditions that can hamper sleep. You’ll discover pregnancy wedge pillows and others for back and neck pain, acid reflux and heartburn, sinus issues, snoring, and sleep apnea.
However, marketing gimmicks aside, at its core, the wedge pillow is a simple contraption.
True to its name, this form of pillows is a triangle-shaped pillow that acts as a wedge for your upper body.
This lifting of your top half is a corrective measure that can often help improve sleep posture, reduce tension in and around the airways, and ease the symptoms of several different sleep issues.
Nevertheless, when it comes to combating snoring, the effects of a wedge pillow can vary significantly depending on the specifics of the case.
Does a Wedge Pillow Help with Snoring?
Yes, a wedge pillow can often help to ease snoring and other related sleep disturbances.
However, the effectiveness one of these cushions will have in helping you combat snoring depends heavily on the cause and other factors influencing your episodes. Since wedge pillows are mainly corrective to postural issues, by extension, using one will only help if your snoring episodes stem from or are being exacerbated by bad sleeping posture.
Hence, the scope of issues where a wedge pillow can help is quite limited.
Snoring can often stem from several different underlying causes, and for many of these, wedge pillows won’t provide much respite. For physical disorders like a deviated nasal septum or blockage of the airways by elongated tonsils or soft palate, a wedge pillow will bring minimal help. Wedge pillows also typically won’t help with snoring that stems from underlying diseases or alcohol or drug use.
Note: While a wedge pillow won’t help you with snoring in many cases, using one can often help to reduce your discomfort levels considerably.
Wedge pillows set you in the optimal posture for maximizing airflow without attacking the leading cause of your problems. Hence, these pillows can often help to reduce sleep disruptions.
Nevertheless, for those specific situations with roots in sleep posture, spinal alignment, and bodyweight, these handy pillows can be a lifesaver.
Some Postural Issues that can Aggravate snoring
Nasal Passage Obstruction
One of the most common causes of snoring is some form of obstruction of the nasal airways. These blockages can also worsen snoring episodes that stem from other underlying causes.
Similarly, nasal obstructions can arise from several different situations like allergies, irritation of the tissues, or deviated septums.
Once this channel is blocked or severely constricted, the sleeper typically switches to mouth breathing. With mouth breathing, there is a significantly increased vibration of the surrounding tissues and, consequently, a higher chance of snoring.
How Wedge Pillows Help
While most nasal blockages do not stem from your body’s alignment, the way you sleep can significantly affect the symptoms.
Sleeping with a wedge pillow offers enough elevation of your upper body to create a reduction of pressure around the sinuses. This inclined sleeping setup positions your body in a manner that relaxes the soft tissues around the airways, increasing airflow.
Tip: Wedge pillows can also help to increase airflow in overweight people and reduce their disposition to snore.
In this sleeping position, the increased blood flow around the region and intense pressure relief can help fast-track the decongestion and draining of your nasal cavity during sleep. As this improved sleeping posture places your head for optimal gravitational alignment, it can also help ease other potentially sleep-disrupting conditions like heartburn.
When it comes to combating snoring, sleeping on your back can be the worst option for your airways.
Note: Sleeping on your back is also a terrible choice for obstructive sleep apnea patients(You can know more details in Sleeping Position For Sleep Apnea: Best And The Worst), a more severe sleep disorder that often goes hand in hand with snoring.
Most sleep doctors will explicitly deter you from sleeping on your back if you have this condition.
Many snorers report a higher frequency of snoring episodes sleeping on their backs. When lying down flat in the supine position, gravity pulls the tissues around the airways downwards, compressing them, and reducing airflow. The weight of the jaw can also increase the pressure on the nasal cavity.
With your tongue, tonsils, palate, and surrounding fat tissues all pressed up against your air channel; it’s easy to see why blockages can occur.
This gravity-fueled obstruction can be even more pronounced in overweight people due to the buildup of excess fatty tissues around the neck.
How Wedge Pillows Help
For people who suffer a dramatic increase in snoring and sleep apnea episodes on their backs, the most natural solution is often to switch positions.
One study into positional therapy for patients with obstructive sleep apnea found that more than 50% of the respondents experienced a marked decrease in symptoms when they switched from back sleeping to side sleeping.
However, for seasoned back sleepers, making that switch can be tough. Wedge pillows offer a compromise that can significantly improve your posture and reduce pressure around your airways without changing your sleeping habits.
Should You get a Wedge Pillow?
If you suspect that your sleeping position is behind your snoring episodes or helps to aggravate them, you should consider picking up a wedge pillow. These cushions offer one of the easiest ways to incorporate positional therapy in enhancing your sleep quality.
Nevertheless, with snoring, figuring out underlying causes on your own can be tough.
Hence, even if you see considerable gains with a wedge pillow, we recommend you do a sleep study to pinpoint the exact issues behind your snoring episode. With the result of this study, you can settle on a more comprehensive corrective strategy.
Our Recommendation: Helix Wedge Pillow
The Helix Wedge Pillow is one of the most premium options in the category. This 10-inch loft pillow is a medium-firm memory foam cushion that provides enough elevation to combat snoring and sleep apnea.
With its combination of high-density polyfoam and gel-infused memory foam layers, the Helix packs the perfect amount of support for all weight groups and a cradling, conforming embrace that is sure to impress. It’s breathable polyester, and rayon blend cover also ensures you sleep cool through the night.
The Helix Wedge Pillow retails for only $95 and includes free shipping in the contiguous United States, a 100-night sleep trial, and a one-year warranty period.