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When you are trying to fall asleep at night, do you find it difficult to do so because of a burning sensation in your chest? In fact, most people are prone to acid reflux when they lay down in a totally flat position. This condition, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD for short), occurs when the stomach acid travels back up the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat with the stomach). When you lay down flat, it’s easier for this stomach acid to make its way back up the esophagus. Unfortunately, this can lead to pain, discomfort, and make sleeping difficult.
What are the symptoms of acid reflux?
- Chest pain (not heart-related)
- Regurgitation (a sensation of stomach liquid or contents coming up into the chest and mouth)
- Heartburn (a burning sensation in your chest)
- Difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases agency suspects that approximately 20 percent of Americans suffer from acid reflux. While the condition is as common in men as in women, it’s men who tend to suffer from severe complications from the disease.
Pregnant women are also susceptible even if they’ve never had acid reflux problems before. Why is that? Pregnancy hormones such as estrogen can relax the sphincter, located at the bottom of the esophagus. The sphincter is a natural barrier to acid reflux. On top of that, the baby will push on the stomach, which increases the pressure on it and can promote GERD.
Acid reflux is generally seen in those who eat big meals or drink copious amounts of coffee or alcohol. The problem can persist into bedtime and ruin one’s ability to get to sleep. Because of that, people are advised not to eat two to three hours before bed, giving the stomach a chance to empty itself out.
Another reason you may suffer from acid reflux is that the body doesn’t produce a lot of saliva while you sleep. Saliva is what helps to clear out and neutralize the acid from the esophagus during the day, reducing the chance of reflux symptoms. If you wear tight clothing or are overweight, reflux symptoms can worsen during the overnight hours.
How can you alleviate your chances of suffering from GERD? Besides avoiding eating big meals, you can purchase a wedge-shaped pillow that will keep your head elevated at night to ensure your stomach acid can drain out instead of coming back up your esophagus and into your throat.
With a wedge pillow for acid reflux, you can sleep in the position you feel most comfortable in and stay elevated at the same time. The best way to sleep with these types of pillows is on your left side, so the stomach is put in a good position to minimize symptoms.
When you’re in the market for an acid reflux pillow, you want one that is about six to eight inches thick to get enough of an angle when using it. While the material is in the inconsequential part of the pillow aspect, most acid reflux pillows are comprised of memory foam with a cooling feature for your added comfort.
As old habits die hard, it may take time to get used to a wedge pillow, but there are a few options that are better than others. What are some of the best acid reflux pillows that you should consider trying?
The Best Memory Foam Pillows
- MedCline: the best full body acid reflux relief system
- FitPlus: the best doctor recommended wedge pillow for acid reflux
- Medslant: the best size acid reflux wedge pillow
- Xtra-Comfort: the most versatile pillow for acid reflux
- Xtreme Comforts: the best hypoallergenic pillow for acid reflux
- Drive Medical: the best folding pillow for acid reflux
Table of Contents
The Best Acid Reflux Pillows Comparison Table
- Clinically proven to help with acid reflux
- Alleviates pressure points
- Size fits multiple personal comfort needs
- Adjustable loft
- 100 percent memory foam
- Multiple uses
The Best Acid Reflux Pillows Reviews
MedCline: The Best Full Body Acid Reflux Relief System
Cleveland Clinic carried out research to find if left side sleeping actually helped with acid reflux symptoms. With the information, they got together with Amenity Health (a medical device company) to develop a system that could help people stay on their left side during the night and keep their head elevated. This system contains a wedge pillow as well as a body pillow.
If you don’t naturally sleep on your side, this acid reflux pillow offers the patented arm pocket that won’t let you slide down, while no undue pressure is put on your arms and shoulders. The body pillow stops you from rolling on to your back, and your knees can still be tucked with no pressure on the lower back. A full-length memory foam body pillow comes in three different sizes and features a plush and easy-to-wash Cotton-Poly pillowcase.
The patented dual-component system will allow people to sleep elevated on their side and get relief from GERD, as well as sleep apnea symptoms and snoring. Due to its design, you aren’t going to slide down this pillow and will remain in the right position all night long.
The MedCline takes up half a queen-sized mattress so you can still sleep close to your bed partner and comfortably turn over.
FitPlus: The Best Doctor Recommended Wedge Pillow For Acid Reflux
If you want a doctor-recommended wedge pillow for acid reflux as well as snoring, sleep apnea, and CPAP devices, then this is the pillow you need. FitPlus Premium is made with an underlying polyurethane foam base and two inches of memory foam at the top. Memory foam is well-known for its comfortable support and therapeutic qualities, as it molds to the shape of your head, neck, and shoulders to ensure a restful sleep all night long.
The pillow was created to keep your torso elevated and supported during sleep to reduce the chances of any acid reflux symptoms. The ergonomically-shaped pillow can improve the user’s sleeping posture, which helps to avoid any orthopedic health issues with your spine. The pillow’s gentle elevation of 7.5 inches ensures proper cervical alignment and torso support.
Besides relief from GERD, sleep apnea, and others, the wedge pillow can be used while reading, watching TV, or working in bed. It can also be used for elevating your legs or inclining any other body part. This easy-to-care-for product was created for back and side sleepers in mind with a memory foam layer on top that offers it additional cushioning. It has a soft, breathable cover that is washable and easy to maintain.
Medslant: The Best Size Acid Reflux Wedge Pillow
A big complaint people have about wedge-shaped pillows is their size – too small, too narrow, and not enough room to move around on. The majority of wedges are about the same size as a standard pillow, which is meant for just the neck and head. However, they are designed to support and elevate the torso – something not possible if the pillow is too small. Even when a small wedge pillow gives the sleepers enough support and incline, they can still slide off due to the lack of room to move about.
MedSlant Wedge Pillow addresses this issue with its 28-inch wide base (about half the size of a Queen bed). While the wedge can incline the torso up to 7 inches, the gradual slope ensures it’s not too steep. Regardless of how you sleep – on your side or back or a combination of both – this GERD pillow helps those who move around at night.
MedSlant, which is made in the U.S., comprises of high-quality CertiPUR-US poly foam for amazing support with one-inch of hypoallergenic ISOFresh memory foam overlay. This soft foam layer increases the chance of a comfortable night’s sleep and alleviates the pressure put on the pressure points, so you feel rested and ready to go the next day.
Thanks to the zippered microfiber cover, you can remove it and wash it in the machine to ensure it stays fresh and free of allergens. This pillow’s size will ensure your sleeping position is better, making it ideal for anybody no matter what kind of sleeper they are.
Xtra-Comfort: The Most Versatile Pillow for Acid Reflux
Xtra-Comfort understands how important a pillow size is to customers, which is why they came up with the 12-inch elevation pillow that you can adjust up that way. With 12 inches loft, you can get the support you need for a number of different purposes. Want to read in bed, watch TV or work on the computer? You can do it with this pillow. Besides inclining the torso, you can also elevate your legs with it – ideal if you sprained or broken your foot, ankle, or leg.
Xtra-Comfort is comprised of high-density memory foam and has a firmer feel than similar wedge pillows. Thanks to its four-in-one design, it gives the user more control. The pillow’s construction makes it great for the entire body – not just for the back. The foam will retain its original shape, increasing its usability.
You can also use a bed wedge with the rest of your pillows. Its therapeutic slope can help alleviate all kinds of health problems that hinder you from getting a good night’s sleep… not just acid reflux.
Xtra-Comfort comes in a micro plush beige color cover that you can remove and wash, with the zipper ensures it stays secure on the pillow. You can also use the handle to carry and store it when you need to. Since this is a large pillow, the handle comes in handy. However, for some users, it’s a bit too firm of a pillow and may take a little time to get used to.
Xtreme Comforts: The Best Hypoallergenic Option
With the Xtreme Comforts memory foam pillow, you get two solid wedges that make sleeping soft and comfortable, especially for back and side sleepers. The pillow lets both the neck and head to sink into the surface for great spinal alignment and ultimate support. However, the body stays inclined at a 30-degree angle (7’’ incline). By doing this, you alleviate the symptoms of GERD, sleep apnea, snoring, allergies, and other health problems.
You can use it as you watch TV or read in bed to keep your torso elevated and provide support to the spinal column. If you have issues with your legs, you can use the pillow to prop them up and reduce swelling.
A plush hypoallergenic bamboo cover ensures great airflow and maintains a cool temperature as you sleep. Xtreme Comforts gives you the best comfort possible, supporting your back, legs, knees, and more. While the pillow is ideal for side and back sleepers with acid reflux, some people complain about off-gassing and the pillow being too firm.
Drive Medical: The Best Folding Pillow For Acid Reflux
This pillow can be found in an array of sizes and provides up to 12 inches of additional height that can meet your body type and needs. Drive Medical was created with back sleepers in mind, as the polyfoam is firm to give them the utmost support and keep the back aligned with the rest of the body. It’s great not just for GERD but also other problems such as poor circulation, neck or back pain, heartburn, and respiratory issues.
Its soft cotton casing is removable and easy to wash and comes with a durable zipper. It’s 23-inches wide, giving you plenty of room to toss and turn without falling off. If you move around throughout the night, this is the pillow you need to keep you from suffering from acid reflux symptoms.
It’s very portable thanks to its easy-to-fold wedge and easy carrying handle.
A Look At Acid Reflux
When you feel the burning pain located in the lower chest area, acid reflux is often the cause. Most people call it heartburn because of its location, but it’s also known as pyrosis, indigestion, or GERD. The feeling occurs most often after eating when the stomach acid comes back up the esophagus. The burning sensation you experience is caused by the acid irritating the esophagus lining, which does not have protection from hydrochloric acid like the stomach has.
The gastroesophageal sphincter is a ring of muscles that are supposed to keep stomach acid from coming back into the esophagus. When it’s weak or loose, this acid can come back up, which is when you feel the burning pain.
Acid reflux can leave you feeling uncomfortable whenever it strikes, which is often without warning, and when you least expect it. While in most cases, you can control the symptoms and avoid the worst of the discomfort; the reality is that it typically occurs at night, and when you’re trying to get comfortable in bed.
Needless to say, getting any rest can be difficult when you’re suffering from this condition. However, there are things you can do to improve your chances of a good night’s rest. Besides taking over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs, you can also use a wedge pillow for acid reflux (as noted above). No matter what kind of pain you experience – sporadic, occasional or chronic – these pillows can alleviate the symptoms, making it easier for you to get the rest you need.
Causes of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux can happen for an array of reasons, and the heartburn felt can be slightly uncomfortable or extremely painful. No matter what the cause or reason, watching what you eat and how you eat can help reduce your chances of GERD complications. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re suffering from heartburn often.
Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can create acid reflux. If you believe your heartburn is due to a medication, talk with your doctor to see if there is an alternative available.
When you are overweight, the excess weight places more pressure on the organs, causing them to become slightly displaced and push up against your stomach. This can lead to higher cases of GERD, which can lessen when weight is lost.
There are some foods that will cause heartburn more so than others, especially if you lay down soon after eating a big meal. Some of the biggest culprits are spicy foods, carbonated drinks, alcohol, caffeine, citrus, fatty foods, and certain mints.
Smoking can lead to an array of health problems that can also increase one’s chance of suffering from acid reflux. An increase in acid secretion and a decrease in salivation to neutralize it, and the damage to the mucus membranes and throat muscles can lead to heartburn.
Pregnant women often experience acid reflux because of the rising hormone levels and the baby’s growth in the womb, which puts more pressure on the internal organs. This condition usually resolves itself after the child’s birth.
Hiatal Hernia happens when the upper section of the stomach and lower esophageal sphincter move above the diaphragm. By being in close proximity, stomach acid can move easily into the esophagus. A hiatal hernia often needs to be addressed by surgery to correct the problem and alleviate the symptoms.
What Can You Do To Alleviate Your Indigestion?
When you want to reduce your chances of suffering from indigestion, there are things you can do to help yourself – changes in your lifestyle and diet and the way you sleep. You can also use over-the-counter drugs or prescriptions from a doctor that can work to lessen the occurrences of acid reflux and begin your process of healing.
A doctor will consider you to have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) if you experience heartburn two or more times a week. GERD sufferers will need to make changes to their diet and lifestyle and talk with their doctor to come up with a plan that relieves the discomfort.
How Can You Sleep With Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is the most common reason why people are not sleeping as well as they should. It can happen at any point in the day but is well-known for being problematic at night. It usually coincides with eating a big meal before bed or eating right before lying down. If you drink or smoke, it also increases your risk of suffering from GERD.
When the acid hits the larynx or back of the throat, it can cause coughing and choking, which can wake you up from a deep sleep. You could also wake up due to the regurgitate coming back into your mouth. None of this is nice to fall asleep or wake up to.
GERD is a known risk factor of sleep apnea, a respiratory condition in which a person constantly stops and starts breathing during the night while sleeping. It’s thought that the acid causes the voice box to spasm, which can keep air from flowing into the lungs.
Since acid reflux can cause discomfort and pain at night, consecutive days of suffering can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue, leaving you feeling tired and unable to concentrate the next day. For those who go through this every night with no end in sight, surgery is often the best choice. However, it could be as simple as changing your sleeping position to manage your nighttime heartburn.
How you sleep – on your side, stomach, or back – can increase your chances of acid reflux. When sitting upright or standing, gravity keeps the stomach acids from rising. When laying down, the stomach acid can make its way back up into the esophagus.
According to various studies, the best way to stop GERD symptoms is to elevate your torso, which can be done with the use of a wedge pillow. The key is to stop stomach acid from traveling back up the esophagus and causing the discomfort. With an elevated torso, this acid is unable to come up towards the throat. Thus, with the right acid reflux pillow, you can sleep better and feel ready for the next day.
Do Wedge Pillows Help?
There are a number of treatments available to combat heartburn – with the more popular methods being over-the-counter and prescription medications. Surgery is often seen as the last-ditch effort to stop regular GERD symptoms. Of course, most of these don’t give immediate improvement and can come with an array of side effects.
The best way to address your acid reflux problem is to use a wedge pillow that can prop you up and keep the stomach acid where it belongs – in the stomach. Of course, elevating your torso when lying down can be problematic for some. However, it is the quickest answer to address the problem. According to various studies, elevating your head or your upper body can immediately alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux.
If you don’t have a wedge pillow for acid reflux just yet, you can take several pillows, stacking them on top of each other to elevate the head of the bed. Be aware that doing this can also strain your neck and back and put additional pressure on the stomach, which can, sometimes, increase the symptoms of acid reflux. While it’s the most popular way people will elevate their head, it doesn’t always do the trick.
A wedge pillow is a better option since it is specifically designed to keep the head upright and still support the rest of the body. As the name suggests, the pillow is shaped like a wedge and is a bit firmer than a regular pillow, giving the user more support.
Wedge pillows are also ideal for anybody who suffers from snoring or sleep apnea, as well as pregnant women who need additional support for their growing bodies. They are great for side and back sleepers and can be used with or without other pillows.
Best of all, it’s a low-cost and risk-free solution to alleviate your GERD symptoms. It’s not going to eliminate the problem entirely, but it will make sleeping at night a lot easier. There are no pills you have to take, and you don’t have to go through surgery. You can buy wedge pillows at major bedding stores or online at any time.
What To Be Mindful Of When Choosing An Acid-Reflux Pillow
While elevation is pertinent to reducing acid reflux, there are several things you can do to help you out:
- Be sure your whole body is supported while you sleep. If your spine, shoulders, and neck are not properly aligned, your posture will suffer, and you will be in pain when you wake up. This can be just as painful as acid reflux.
- When in the market for a wedge pillow for acid reflux, you want to buy one that inclines your torso at least 6 to 8 inches or greater to keep your stomach acid from coming back up into your esophagus. The higher the angle, the better results you will have. However, be mindful of your comfort level when choosing the GERD pillow. Sitting straight up would provide great results, but what a super uncomfortable sleep position!
- Be aware that back sleepers are also at risk for GERD. They put pressure on the stomach that causes acids to travel back into the esophagus. If you’re overweight or obese, the risk is even greater.
- Sleeping on your right side can also lead to acid reflux problems. Why is that? The right side sleeping causes the lower esophageal sphincter muscle to relax (it’s supposed to stay tightened to keep acids from traveling back up the esophagus). Even if you don’t have heartburn, you should still practice sleeping on your left side. In various studies, it has been found that left-side sleeping allows for a better quality of sleep. No matter the reason you have for poor sleep quality, left-side sleeping may change things for the better and reduce your chances of sleep disruptions thanks to GERD, sleep apnea, and more.
- Wedge pillows for acid reflux are ideal for side and back sleepers. However, if you suffer from hip or back problems, you may or may not be able to use them. If you have any back or hip problem – lumbar damage, fused vertebrae, scoliosis, spinal cord compression, arthritic hips, etc. – you may find it difficult to tolerate the angles of many wedge pillows. It could be that an under-mattress wedge or an adjustable bed is a far better solution for you.
What To Keep In Mind…
Although heartburn is common, it doesn’t mean you have to live with it and its symptoms. This condition can be managed simply by making lifestyle changes and using a wedge pillow for acid reflux – a pillow that will elevate your torso and allow you to get a good night’s rest today, tomorrow and in the future.