If you suffer from frequent heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you may have noticed symptoms arise easily while in bed. This is because your chest is on an even plane with your stomach, which makes reflux easier to occur. Your first priority in handling these symptoms is to see your doctor. There are many medications that can help reduce the occurrence of reflux and manage GERD. However, there are further steps you can take to minimize the impact of GERD during sleep.
Adjust Your Habits
You probably already know you should avoid spicy or greasy foods if you suffer from GERD. When it comes to your bedtime routine, it’s important to finish eating at least three hours before going to bed. This gives your body time to digest your food and reduces the chances of acid reflux at night.
Sleep on Your Left Side
Studies have shown that sleeping on your left side can also help reduce the effects of GERD while you sleep. This is primarily due to the esophagus connecting to the stomach from the right side, which means sleeping on your left elevates the opening from the acidic contents of your stomach. This is a simple step that can certainly help, but it’s better to combine it with other solutions for the long term.
One way to really impact your sleep quality with GERD is to elevate your torso when you sleep. By inclining your chest and head, gravity works in your favor. You can also combine torso elevation with sleeping on your left side to increase your chances of success. Let’s take a look at a couple of ways you can elevate your torso comfortably and ensure better sleep:
Use a specialized pillow
One simple way to elevate your torso comfortably is to invest in a wedge-shaped pillow designed for this purpose. Most such pillows are made of memory foam, which provides better support than a traditional pillow. The wedge shape inclines your upper body while giving you mattress-like support.
The Avana Slant Bed Wedge Memory Foam Pillow is a great example of this type of sleep aid, and comes in queen, queen extra-long and king sizes. Each size is designed for half the width of the corresponding mattress and has enough length to start the incline midway.
If you suffer from additional ailments such as knee pain or poor leg circulation, an excellent all-in-one approach is the Avana Microvelvet Kind Bed Orthopedic Support Wedge Pillow System, a 4-piece pillow system designed to address multiple possible ailments or simply to make sitting up in bed more comfortable.
Invest in an adjustable bed base
Perhaps the most effective and long term solution to better sleep with GERD is an adjustable bed base. An adjustable bed allows you to raise the legs, the torso, or both by elevating your mattress. Some models adjust across the entire width of the mattress, while others adjust each side independently.