To get started on relieving the pain of acid reflux, start with Step 1 below. Elevating the head of the bed can be confusing because there are so many products out there that claim to be the best way to elevate for reflux. That being said, you can effectively elevate the head of your bed quite simply and inexpensively. It’s really up to personal preference, but bed risers or a wedge pillow are the most common ways to reach optimal minimal elevation of approximately 8 inches.
For the past few years, Donna has been struggling with nighttime heartburn from her acid reflux. In a typical week, she experiences reflux symptoms two or three times, usually a few hours before bedtime. Loss of sleep is the most common complaint from people who have heartburn. Sixty percent of Americans with chronic acid reflux report experiencing heartburn at night. Caused by what’s called a hiatal hernia, acid reflux occurs when the stomach and lower esophageal sphincter (LES) move above the diaphragm, the muscle that normally helps keep acid in our stomach.
Some people swear by wedge pillows, while others find the pillows cause neck pain. It doesn’t matter how you do it – just find what works for you, and do it consistently.
The third worst position for nighttime acid reflux is sleeping flat on your right side. The second worst position for acid reflux is to sleep flat on your back.
What’s the best pillow for acid reflux?
Although acid reflux occurs less often at night than during the daytime, acidity may actually be worse while asleep, when swallowing and involuntary movement of the esophagus happen less frequently, allowing acid to settle into the esophagus and causing irritation and inflammation. GERD is a disease that is also effectively treated with medications. Acid-reducing drugs called proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are helpful in reducing the symptoms of GERD and allowing the esophagus to heal. They are available over the counter and by prescription. If you suffer from nighttime acid reflux, in addition to elevating the head of your bed it may help to avoid eating 2 to 3 hours prior to bedtime and to stay away from any foods that you know trigger your symptoms.
There is a ring of muscles, called the gastroesophageal sphincter, that helps keep acid from entering into the esophagus, but when this fails, the effects of acid reflux can be felt. Acid reflux is an uncomfortable situation that unfortunately, can strike at just about any time if you are prone to it. In most situations you may be able to get it under control and avoid the worst of the discomfort, but it always seems to strike the worst at night when you are trying to get comfortable in bed.
The acid can also result in a sickly tasting regurgitation in the mouth. Try raising the head of your bed by about 6 inches. Placing blocks or pillows underneath the mattress can be the most effective way to do this. This approach isn’t always an option, especially if your significant other doesn’t suffer from reflux, or you sleep on a water bed. If you can’t elevate the head of your bed, you may want to invest in a specially designed wedge pillow.
You do, however, need to consider sleep comfort when choosing the height of your sleep therapy device. Sitting straight up would provide great results but what a super uncomfortable sleep position! I sure can’t do it. Your left side is the best flat sleeping position for avoiding acid reflux at night. The absolute worst position for acid reflux is to sleep flat on your stomach.
It’s best to go ahead and invest in a wedge pillow. Not every form of elevation therapy for heartburn at night is equal.
We have our eye on the TEMPUR-Ergo Premier-Grey Adjustable Base, Twin XL which would allow each of us to have a twin mattress to our liking. I want the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-ProAdapt 12-Inch Firm Cooling Foam Mattress where my wife may opt for the medium firmness of the TEMPUR-ProAdapt. Check Tempur-Pedic out! It’s a really great product for preventing acid reflux at night.