For people suffering from Orthostatic Intolerance, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia, Mast Cell Activtation or EDS. Follow me as I document my struggle towards better health.

Elevating Head During Sleep helps Orthostatic Intolerance

Does it really? I wanted to know because I BOUGHT a bed wedge and have been torturing myself with it for the last 6 nights. You'll see the girl in the picture on the right looking blissfully asleep on the foam triangle. Hah! The reality is that the foam is a like a concrete slab. I can't imagine she would be comfortable using the wedge without a pillow unless her last bed was a bed of nails.

So why does sleeping on a bed wedge help Orthostatic Intolerance? To answer that question I had to hunt around using Google looking for research studies on the topic. I found one recent paper published in 2008 entitled:

Physiological effects of sleeping with the head of the bed elevated...

I suggest you read the paper if you are considering using a wedge to treat OI symptoms. If you have read or heard any other studies regarding elevating the head during sleep and its effects on O,I I would be very grateful to hear about them.

Although after using the wedge for 6 nights I have not experienced an improvement in my OI, I believe that is because the exercise protocol is exacerbating my symptoms. Perhaps I would feel worse without the wedge?

Pillow Recommendations for use with the Bed Wedge

I have tried 3 different pillow types with my wedge:

1. The Contour Pillow

2. "Old Lumpy" and,

3. A "firm" hypoallergenic pillow

1. The contour pillow shown above is said to promote proper spine alignment, reduce snoring and aid in sinus relief. Combined with the Bed Wedge I found the contour pillow to be comfortable only if I kept still. As someone who constantly flops around when sleeping the contour pillow moves out of position and I end up with my head resting on the top of the curve and my neck off the pillow entirely. Not what the inventors intended I'm sure. For people who are more peaceful when having a snooze this pillow may do the trick.

2. "Old Lumpy" has been my favorite pillow for the last few of years. Fondly named for its 
scrunching qualities "Old Lumpy" is super soft like a pillow case only partially filled with stuffing. Unfortunately "Old Lumpy" did not work well because it was too slender to reduce the concrete slab like feel of the Bed Wedge foam...after a partial night of flopping around Old Lumpy fell off the bed and I didn't even notice the difference.

3. I found the firm hypoallergenic pillow by far the most comfortable because it elevated my head enough off the wedge that even if I turned onto my side I felt my head and neck to be in a comfortable position. It is also firm enough to stay in place during my flopping.

If you have been told that you need to increase your blood volume then I hope you'll give the bed wedge a try.  Why not?

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