If you’re living with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), heartburn, or one of those who often experience hyperacidity in their stomachs, you’ve most likely tried it all. Chewable tablets, quick relief syrups, diet changes, sleeping on your side, and many other ways to relieve your acid reflux.
You’ve probably experienced waking up in the morning, or after sleeping on your stomach, you feel something different in the inside of your esophagus, that’s most likely acid reflux. This can also wake you during the night and make it harder for you to sleep again.
But, did you know that a change to your pillow can significantly reduce the symptoms of the acid reflux that you’re experiencing? Curious? We’ll tell you how you can help alleviate your symptoms by making adjustments in your sleep environment.
Pillows can help with the symptoms of acid reflux
Acid reflux is a common digestive issue that causes heartburn, irritability and other unpleasant symptoms. While a pillow is not a cure, it may still be one way to relieve these symptoms as it helps keep your head elevated while sleeping at night.
Gravity from elevating your head, or to an extent, your upper body, can help keep the stomach acids from reaching the esophagus which significantly reduces the risk of heartburn.
A proper support pillow may also help keep you from gulping air when lying down which can worsen GERD issues and make it more difficult for you to breathe normally during sleep (and this leads us back to our original point: pillows can help give you a good night’s sleep even if you have acid reflux.
What’s the best sleep position for acid reflux
Side sleeping, specifically sleeping with your left side in contact with the mattress is the best way for you to prevent acid reflux while sleeping.
When sleeping on your left side, your stomach is positioned lower than your esophagus which prevents the acids or gastric juices to rise and causes GERD and stomach upset.
Sleeping on your stomach on the other hand is one of the worst ways to sleep if you experience heartburn during sleep, if you have acid reflux, it might be the best time to start training yourself to be a side sleeper.
Adjustable pillows are the way to go.
There are two things that you should look for when searching for a pillow to help relieve your acid reflux – Enough lift for your head while still providing proper neck support. The goal is to lift your head, neck, and your shoulders high enough to make it higher than your stomach – this allows gravity to do its work in keeping your stomach acids out of the esophagus.
Aim for an elevation of at least six inches high for this method to effectively work, too little elevation does nothing to keep the gastric juices from going up.
The Ecosa Memory Foam Pillow does an excellent job with this as the surface of the pillow has a short and tall side. The tall side provides enough lift while still ensuring ample and proper neck and upper body support. Every Ecosa Memory Foam Pillow also comes with height-adjustable pads to ensure that you get the perfect balance of height and comfort. All Ecosa pillows are shipped with a breathable, machine-washable, removable cover for your convenience.
A caveat of sleeping with a higher pillow height is the discomfort that comes along with it initially since not everyone is used to the ergonomics of sleeping with a height-adjusted pillow, it would take some getting used to. Other people find better success by stacking thinner pillows underneath their shoulders for added upper back support, or you may also orient another pillow vertically from your head to your body to create an incline which can make sleeping more comfortable.
What about wedge pillows?
There are instances where a stack of pillows won’t be enough to do the job, a bed wedge pillow (sometimes called an acid reflux pillow) would be a good alternative. The inclined support cushion of the bed wedge allows you to sleep with your head and your upper body noticeably higher than your stomach. The wedge support also allows for lower back and lumbar support which can be an added benefit if you often wake up with lower back pains.
Using a wedge back cushion isn’t a perfect solution though since the flat surface doesn’t provide the best neck support, but if your priority is relief from acid reflux then using an inclined backrest is the way to go.
Wedge pillows are also useful for sleepers with breathing problems, and sleep apnea, and can also serve as leg elevation if you need one after a tiring day for your feet.
Investing in a quality pillow is a great idea when you have acid reflux, it can easily help you feel comfortable overnight, and improve the quality of your sleep if you have GERD. Making the necessary changes to your pillow can help you on your journey to better sleep.