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Do's & Don'ts: The Best Way to Sleep with Acid Reflux

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Sleeping with Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux or GERD, is estimated to affect 20% of adults in the United States. Acid Reflux is more than just uncomfortable. In fact, it isn’t unusual for sufferers to experience the inability to fall asleep, horrible burning sensations, choking in their sleep from acid reflux, and other truly terrible symptoms. You need long, deep sleep in order to be healthy and happy. If your Acid Reflux is stopping you from achieving this, now is the time to finally put an end to it. Make today the day you take your life back and banish sleepless nights!

It happens when stomach acid moves up from the stomach and into the esophagus. Normally, muscles at the bottom of the esophagus act as a barrier to prevent this from happening. However, sometimes the muscles are weak or relaxed and don’t close all the way. This is when the problem occurs. Nearly all of us experience reflux from time to time; it is mild, infrequent, and goes away quickly on its own. For some people, unfortunately, Acid Reflux happens at least once per week and often involves severe and bothersome symptoms that affect their daily (or nightly!) life.

Best Acid Reflux Sleeping Position

Do

Sleep with your torso raised

When lying down, gravity no longer helps keep stomach acid down, making it easier for reflux to occur. This is why sleeping on an adjustable bed base that raises your torso helps so much. Studies show that raising your torso, not just your head and neck, by at least six inches can cut down on reflux when you’re trying to sleep.

Sleep on your left side

You need to sleep on your side, according to experts. What side is the best to sleep on for acid reflux? Multiple research studies have found that being on your left side is the best sleeping position for people with Acid Reflux. Sleeping with your left side down reduces reflux episodes and exposure of the esophagus to stomach acid. That is why it is considered the best acid reflux sleeping position.

Don’t 

Sleep on your back

If sleeping on your left side is the best acid reflux sleeping position, there has to be a worst position, right? Sleeping in other positions, including on your back, can make reflux more likely. Choking on acid reflux while sleeping is much more likely to happen if you’re on your back.

Sleep lying flat

No matter what position your body is in, you don’t want to be flat. When you lay flat in bed, your throat and stomach are at the same level. This makes it easy for stomach acids to flow up your esophagus, causing your dreaded Acid Reflux.

Bed and Mattresses

Do

Sleep on a Hybrid

Across the industry, many experts feel that a hybrid mattress is best for people who regularly suffer at night from Acid Reflux. Why is a hybrid mattress ideal? The memory foam top layer reduces pressure points and contours your body, allowing you to lie comfortably and supported by the innersprings deep within the mattress. 

Choose a Brand Known for Quality

You want to fix your Acid Reflux in the long-term, not just right now. This means creating a sleep system that will last for years to come. A cheap mattress will start to break down quickly, meaning you’ll be sinking down and feeling Acid Reflux again before you know it. One we recommend is Casper and the Casper Wave Hybrid. Strategically placed gel pods promote proper spinal alignment while the mixed-foam construction provides close-conforming pressure relief and added bounce.

Consider a Simmons Beautyrest

If you browse online reviews, you’ll see sleeping on a mattress in the Simmons Beautyrest Collection come up again and again as the best way to sleep with Acid Reflux. A Beautyrest Hybrid allows sleepers to feel the contouring benefits of the foam comfort system. There is a 2-inch layer of gel-infused memory foam that helps relieve pressure on your joints. A transition layer of polyfoam prevents sleepers from sinking into the support core. Pocketed coils offer full-body support while minimizing motion transfer. The Medium comfort feel of a Beautyrest Hybrid BRX1000 offers the most pressure relief for the typical person. It’s not too plush and not too hard either.

Don't

Sleep on a mattress that is too soft

You want a mattress that supports you, not one that lets you sink too far down in. As briefly stated above, the key is to keep your throat and neck elevated above your stomach. If you’re sleeping on an incredibly soft, plush mattress without enough support, this will be nearly impossible to do. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a Firm mattress, but it does need to offer significant support to your body weight.

Pillows for Acid Reflux 

Do

Sleep on a wedge

Do they make a special acid reflux pillow? Yes! Experts tell us that sleeping on a wedge-shaped pillow that's at least six to 10 inches thick on one end is the ideal new pillow for those who suffer regularly. We sell multiple options for a wedge pillow for acid reflux, including many from the famed Avana pillow brand. One we strongly recommend is Avana’s Wavy Contoured Bed Wedge Memory Foam Pillow. This is our favorite wedge pillow for acid reflux because it gently lifts the torso, delivering pressure-relief through elevation and an ultra-comfortable dual-foam core. 

Don’t  

Pile up regular pillows

Trying to sleep on two or more regular pillows is not the same thing as a wedge pillow for acid reflux. Doctors and researchers tell us to find the best pillow for acid reflux, not to substitute regular pillows. This will simply raise your head, and not your entire upper body.

Other Sleep Tips

Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t need to learn how to sleep with acid reflux? For many people, the best way to fight against acid reflux is to stop it from happening in the first place! Factors like alcohol consumption, smoking, and obesity can increase your risk for suffering from GERD. The specific food you choose to consume near bedtime has a big effect as well. It is recommended that you reduce consumption of spicy and acidic foods, especially at night. No matter what you eat, finishing your meal at least three hours before lying down can give your stomach time to digest and reduce the chances of reflux. Large meals put pressure on your stomach, so try eating a smaller meal in the evening to help prevent a nighttime Acid Reflux flare up.

In fact, many tips for healthy sleep overlap with lifestyle changes that also teach you how to sleep with acid reflux, including avoiding excess caffeine and alcohol late in the evenings. A sleep schedule, relaxing nighttime routine, and quiet and cool bedroom are other key components of proper sleep hygiene.

Acid Reflux is often cited as a cause of sleeping problems, including in the National Sleep Foundation’s 2001 Sleep in America Poll. In a recent survey of people who suffer with it frequently, nearly 60% said it affected their sleep. We don’t want you to be one of them!

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