Best Sleep Position For Preventing Acid Reflux At Night
Finally, what about sleeping on an incline?
Has your doctor recommended that you sleep at an incline using a bed wedge or putting blocks under your bed frame? Studies have shown that sleeping at an incline decreases the frequency of reflux episodes and allows your body to clear reflux at a quicker rate.5
As long as your entire torso is elevated, the incline gives gravity a little boost in its power to return reflux to your stomach.
So, what if you take the best flat sleeping position, aka the left side, and add an incline?
Could the benefits be more than the sum of its parts?
Recent studies have shown that this is indeed the case!6,7 These studies show that this compound inclined, left-side sleeping position makes refluxing virtually impossible because your LES is now positioned well above the level of stomach contents, even if your stomach is really full. And, if you do reflux, gravity is able to quickly return the contents to your stomach.
This ideal nighttime acid relief position provides a double whammy of decreasing your heartburn symptoms and providing protection from prolonged acid exposure to your esophagus, throat, lungs, and sinuses.
Figure 5: Representation of stomach when youre laying at an incline and on your left side.
Sleeping On Your Back
If you have heartburn, you should avoid sleeping on your back at all costs. Basically, when acid escapes your stomach and you are sleeping on your back, it will be free to flow through the esophagus and not just flow, but even stay there.
Numerous studies have shown that this is definitely the worst sleeping position if you have heartburn. Not only will the symptoms be more severe, but they will also last longer.
Also, if you have stomach fat, it will push down on the acids inside your stomach, forcing them to escape.
If you are used to sleeping on your back, you should try to avoid that at least for a few days until the heartburn passes away. You should also check out the Heartburn No More website if you want to get rid of heartburn quickly.
Avoid Big Meals Before Sleep
Like all functional areas of the body, the digestive system needs plenty of time to rest and recover from daily life. It is not a good idea to eat a big meal before bedtime, as it forces the digestive system to keep working. A light snack, such as an apple or some avocado toast, is a better idea.
Complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, or a small dose of protein can deal with hunger pangs.
Don’t Miss: Does Peanut Butter Cause Heartburn
Does Heartburn Impact Mental Health
Heartburn symptoms can be distressing and painful. Although heartburn does not cause mental health disorders, there does appear to be a link between heartburn and an increase in depression and anxiety .
Heartburn symptoms can include chest pains. Heartburn patients report an increase in anxiety when experiencing chest pains. Depression and stress are known to impact the gastrointestinal system, and therefore may make heartburn worse. Additionally, heartburn can cause disruptions in sleep and there is evidence that poor sleep impacts mental health as well.
Why Do I Have Acid Reflux At Night
Acid reflux is strongest at night because lying on a flat surface makes it easier for stomach acid to spill into the esophagus. Also, we tend to eat our biggest meal in the evening, which may aggravate acid reflux symptoms since it may take longer to digest more food. Sleeping in an upright position reduces acid reflux because gravity is able to keep acid in the stomach.
Also Check: Align Probiotic Dose
Gerd And Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Research has also identified a link between GERD and obstructive sleep apnea , a sleep disorder that involves blockage of the airway that incites pauses in breathing during sleep. Debate exists among experts about whether GERD causes OSA, OSA causes GERD, or if they simply share similar risk factors.
It is possible that GERD affects the airway and ability to breathe normally, causing more apneas during the night. At the same time, people with OSA wake up frequently at night and may then detect GERD symptoms. Lack of sleep from OSA may make the esophagus more susceptible to reflux.
In addition, factors like alcohol consumption, smoking, and obesity can increase risk for both GERD and OSA, so the correlation between the conditions may be a result of these factors.
While the exact relationship between GERD and OSA is subject to further research, it is clear that the conditions can occur together and create significant complications for a persons sleep, comfort, and overall health.
Sleep Disorders And Sleep Positions
The National Sleep Foundation has carried out polls since 1991 to identify peoples sleeping habits in the United States. In 2020, they highlighted that significant numbers of people in the U.S. feel sleepy about 3 days per week, which often impacts their daily lives.
With such high numbers, it is no surprise that people are interested in which sleeping positions work best. A 2017 cross-sectional study investigating sleep positions and movement has shown that the predominant sleeping position is on the side.
Recommended Reading: Does Tramadol Make You Constipated
What Are Some Ways To Sleep Better With Heartburn
Creating a sleep hygiene routine that is easy and comfortable to follow may also help improve your sleep. Taking steps such as setting a sleep schedule, creating a quiet, dark bedroom environment, and avoiding eating in the hours before you go to sleep might help. Choose pajamas that are loose around the waist to prevent any restriction around the stomach that could impact your heartburn symptoms.
Best Sleep Position For Acid Reflux: Incline + Left
So, what if you take the best flat sleeping position, aka the left side, and add an incline? Could the benefits be more than the sum of its parts?
Recent studies show that this is indeed the case 9,10. The compound inclined, left-side sleeping position makes acid reflux at night virtually impossible because your esophagus is now positioned well above the level of stomach contents, even if your stomach is full. And, if you do reflux, gravity is able to quickly return the contents to your stomach. Whew. This ideal sleep position provides a double whammy of decreasing your GERD symptoms and providing protection from prolonged acid exposure to your esophagus, throat, lungs, and sinuses.
So, whats the secret to controlling your acid reflux symptoms at night and finally getting good, quality sleep? Proper sleep positioning. Discover relief with the ideal position that maximizes the power of gravity and anatomy. Discover the MedCline Reflux Relief System, specifically designed to create and maintain the inclined, left-side position, clinically proven to be the most effective for natural relief from nighttime acid reflux or GERD.
Get The App
Read Also: Bananas Cause Gas
Why Is Acid Reflux Worse At Night
Does acid reflux get worse at night? For some, it can. Heres how:
If reflux occurs when you are standing up, gravity and saliva quickly return the acidic content to your stomach. This quick return typically makes your symptoms shorter and minimizes the potential acid damage to the delicate lining of your esophagus that can occur from acid exposure.
However, the interference of gravity that reduces reflux symptoms while youre upright disappears when you lie down to sleep at night. When you lie down, you swallow less, and this can also make the return of reflux to the stomach more difficult2. This combination of factors can cause some to struggle with acid reflux at night even more so than during the day.
The discomfort of nighttime acid reflux9 can lead to poor sleep quality as heartburn and other symptoms cause disturbances throughout the night.
Sleeping On The Stomach
There are many reasons why experts do not recommend sleeping on the stomach. They include:
- It is challenging to keep the spine in a neutral position, which can cause back and neck pain.
- Placing the head on one side can strain the neck.
- Tucking hands or arms under a pillow may lead to numbness, tingling, pain, and longer-term damage.
For those who sleep on their front, placing a firm pillow under the hips can raise the bottom of the spine, making sleep more comfortable.
Here are some tips to help digestion before going to bed:
Recommended Reading: Can Align Probiotic Cause Nausea
How Does Heartburn Impact Sleep
Research shows that over 60% of people suffering from heartburn or another reflux-related disease report disruptions in their sleep. People with heartburn symptoms are often unable to comfortably fall into a sleep state or are unable to stay asleep due to the painful, burning sensation in their chest.
40% of people with heartburn and sleep issues report that their sleep disruption directly impacts their overall functioning the following day. Heartburn may cause a cycle of poor sleep in which heartburn disrupts sleep, which increases fatigue. Fatigue increases unhealthy eating choices. These foods further increase heartburn symptoms, which increases stress and leads to even poorer sleep.
Once youre in the cycle of heartburn-related poor sleep, it can feel overwhelming. However, there are many ways you can reduce heartburn with small, daily lifestyle changes.
Sleep Position 2 To Avoid For Preventing Acid Reflux At Night
Position #2 to avoid at night issleeping flat on your right side.
Though reflux episodes may be less frequent on your right when compared to flat on your back, the episodes are more liquidy in nature because your LES is often submerged in the acidic stomach content.4
This position potentially creates a leaky faucet spouting stomach acid into the delicate lining of your esophagus.
While liquid reflux can be very distressing, it can also be dangerous as when flat on your right side, the amount of time acid lingers in your esophagus is much longer.3 Gravity is fighting an uphill battle as it is unable to effectively return refluxed content to your stomach.
If you suffer from nighttime heartburn, avoid lying flat on your right side.
Figure 3: Representation of stomach when youre layingflat on your right side.
Don’t Miss: Best Time To Take Align Probiotic
How To Relieve Heartburn At Night
Waking up with heartburn in the middle of the night? Youre not alone. Studies show about 20 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from heartburn at least once a week, and among those, 75 percent experience heartburn at night. The discomfort of having heartburn at night often results in problems falling or staying asleep. Learn about the possible causes and treatment options for heartburn.
Cons Of Sleeping On The Back
One major issue with back sleeping is acid reflux, as this position allows acid to travel back up the throat.
Sleeping on the back can make snoring or sinus conditions worse. This happens because the back of the tongue collapses into the airway, obstructing breathing. People who snore should try sleeping on their side.
A person could help alleviate these symptoms by adding pillows to elevate their head. This can also help with headaches.
Also Check: Peanut Butter Gerd
Get A Pillow Designed For Side Sleepers
The best pillow for side sleepers is one that supports proper alignment between your neck and the rest of your spine. Your neck should stay aligned with your upper back to avoid creating any pressure or neck pain upon waking up. If you sleep on your side and are prone to neck pain, you might want to avoid a feather pillow and opt for a supportive latex pillow instead.
Measure the space between your neck and the edge of your shoulder. When you go shopping for pillows, that measurement should be close to the pillows loft, which describes the height of a pillow.
You can use additional pillows to make side sleeping more comfortable. Place a pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned, reduce pressure on your knee joints, and prevent straining your lower back.
Side Sleeping: What Side To Sleep On With Acid Reflux
A good nights rest can be the difference between a day of inspiring productivity and a day of extra coffee and feeling sluggish. Many Americans, however, are suffering from sleep deprivation for reasons they may not expect. Acid Reflux and GERD affect more people than you might expect, and many sufferers of nighttime heartburn and stomach discomfort find themselves researching best sleeping position and side sleeping to reduce acid reflux symptoms. In this guide, we will explore how acid reflux and GERD sufferers can get a better nights sleep by sleeping on their side and which side will provide the most relief.
Read Also: Can Soy Cause Diarrhea
Sleep On Your Left Side For Better Health
Left-side sleeping has the most expert- and science-backed health benefits. Although our bodies appear largely symmetrical, our organ placement makes us asymmetrical internally. How we rest influences the way our systems direct and process waste which should be part of our overall health aspirations.
You might track working out, eating a healthy breakfast, or starting the day with a fresh perspective. Why not give your bowel movement the same attention?
For some, a bowel movement happens like clockwork. But others living with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, lazy bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or other gastrointestinal conditions may struggle to check this item off the to-do list. So why not let gravity do the work?
Pro tip for side sleeping
Start out on your left side at night to prevent heartburn and allow gravity to move waste through your colon. Alternate sides if your shoulder bothers you. Place a firm pillow between your knees and hug one to support your spine.
While you sleep on your left side at night, gravity can help take waste on a trip through the ascending colon, then into the transverse colon, and finally dump it into the descending colon encouraging a trip to the bathroom in the morning.
Side sleeping might also make you a better bedfellow and leave you more well-rested.
Pros And Cons Of The Medcline Acid Reflux Pillow System
I highly recommend the MedCline Acid Reflux Pillow System for anyone with nighttime acid reflux. From my personal experience, I found it to be a great natural remedy for nighttime reflux symptoms like heartburn, regurgitation, coughing, sore throat, nausea and all those other horrible symptoms that go along with acid reflux and GERD.
The Acid Reflux Pillow System is the best of the MedCline products for those suffering from nighttime acid reflux symptoms. The system comes with the MedCline Therapeutic Body Pillow which I prefer over the Advanced Positioning Wedge pillow alone.
PROS of the MedCline Acid Reflux Pillow System:
- It works! The MedCline Acid Reflux Pillow System puts you on an incline and locks you in on your left side to stop nighttime reflux.
- Proven clinical studies that the MedCline wedge pillow system works.
- Its comfortable once you get used to sleeping in the new position.
- It also helps with snoring, sleep apnea, and shoulder pain. Unfortunately, I suffer from all of these.
- The MedCline Therapeutic Body Pillow that comes with the Acid Reflux Pillow System helped with my lower back pain.
- They give you 100 nights to try it out. If you arent happy they will refund your purchase price minus a 10% disposal fee.
- Machine washable covers. They even have extra covers for sale.
CONS of the MedCline Acid Reflux Pillow System:
Don’t Miss: Colostrum Healed My Leaky Gut
Natural Remedies For Heartburn At Night
The only two clinically validated natural remedies for GERD are weight loss and sleep positioning. Though weight loss can be effective, it is often a longer-term solution that, depending on how much weight you need to lose, can take months before relief is felt. Sleep positioning, on the other hand, can make a huge difference for those suffering from nighttime GERD and relief can be often experienced almost immediately.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gerd
Heartburn, which involves a painful burning sensation in the chest, is the most common symptom of GERD, but not all cases of GERD involve heartburn.
Another common symptom of GERD is regurgitation, which means a small amount of stomach acid and sometimes bits of food come up into the mouth or back of the throat.
When leaks of stomach acid rise to the mouth and throat, it can cause coughing and a feeling of choking. It may cause a sore throat, including a hoarse voice. Some patients experience difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia, or the feeling of something blocking their throat.
On top of the discomfort from heartburn, GERD can cause radiating chest pain that can affect the neck, back, jaw, or arms and last for minutes to hours. This symptom is frequently associated with nighttime awakenings for people with GERD.
Don’t Miss: Can You Take Probiotics While On Antidepressants
How To Treat Nighttime Heartburn Symptoms
For nighttime heartburn relief, elevate your head and chest upright in bed, lie on your left side, or try standing up. Raising your upper body can naturally help the stomach acid move down the digestive system and reduce heartburn symptoms.
If occasional heartburn symptoms persist, they can be treated with over the counter medications, such as PEPCID®. PEPCID® is a Histamine-2 blocker, with the active ingredient famotidine, which can help relieve heartburn by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. It works fast and will help to control acid all night*. If you do not have OTC heartburn medications readily available, learn more about easy ways to manage with at-home heartburn remedies.