Sleeping with a pillow wedge for back will relax the muscles around your spine to make sleeping comfortable. As a physical therapist, I received extensive training in sleep ergonomics, and I can’t wait to share with you what I learned.
A pillow wedge for back sleepers; it may not be what you think
Do you like to sleep on your back? The first thing you need to know is this: you should never sleep flat on your back. When you sleep flat, there is an arch in your lower back. Sleeping with an arch in your back can make back pain worse, or lead to back pain in the future.
Instead, use a pillow wedge to take away this arch. By placing a knee wedge underneath your legs, you protect your back. Your back is protected because with your legs supported, your back will lie flat on the mattress instead of arching. The placement of this wedge pillow re-aligns your spine and the muscles that surround it. This way, you sleep comfortably at night and wake up without back pain or stiffness.
If you would like to sleep with your torso inclined, use a wedge pillow for back to elevate your upper body. A memory foam topped triangle wedge with a firm and supportive base will give your back the support it needs for you to recline comfortably all night.
A triangle shaped back bolster should be used in combination with a knee wedge pillow. Using both pillows to support your body puts you in an anti-gravity like position, fully relaxing your body so you sleep without muscle tension.
Back pillows for side sleepers
What if you prefer to sleep on your side? Because of the natural contours of the human body, side sleepers need at least 2 pillow wedges to fully support their back:
- Leg separator pillow: A leg separator pillow is more supportive than the typical “body pillow.” A leg separator pillow maintains the alignment of your top leg so that the muscles in your hip and back fully relax. Using this pillow wedge prevents any tension in your low back and hip muscles that could be pulling on your spine overnight. Eliminating this tension prevents you from waking up with back stiffness or pain.
- Side sleeper wedge for back: A side sleeper wedge is a small wedge that fills in the contour of your natural waist. When you sleep without a side sleeper wedge, your spine curves down towards the bed with the natural curve of your waist. To prevent this from happening, this little pillow wedge for back will support your spine and prevent it from curving at night.
A pillow wedge for back will support your spine no matter how you like to sleep. If you have any questions about which sleep set up will work best for you, comment below!
-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy