The Best Sleeping Position for Acid Reflux: The Science of Sleep

SLEEP365 ®

4 min read SLEEP

If you suffer from acid reflux (or GERD), you know that it can feel like the world is conspiring against you. You may feel exhausted and have difficulty sleeping at night. It’s no wonder that so many people struggle with this condition and wonder if lifestyle changes exist that may help to improve their quality of life as well as sleep quality.


In this article, we’ll explore nighttime acid reflux in particular and discuss the best sleep position for this condition, what sleep experts have to say, and how to get proper sleep every night. We’ll start by looking at the nature of gastroesophageal reflux disease and then move on to discuss the best sleeping position(s) to help you get a good night's rest, even if you suffer from daytime or nighttime heartburn issues, or other digestive system issues.


Best Sleeping Position for Acid Reflux


What Is Acid Reflux?


First things first. What exactly is acid reflux anyway?


If you have acid reflux, you may feel a kind of burning sensation internally. This is the result of stomach acids traveling up from your intestines to your chest. This can cause pain and discomfort during the middle of the night, as well as during the day.


Acid reflux is a common problem in the United States and can be caused by many things, but it's most commonly caused by problems with the stomach like eating too much, eating spicy foods or acidic foods, or even drinking alcohol.


Best Sleeping Position for Acid Reflux


How Does Acid Reflux Happen?


Here's a surprising statistic... The Washington Post reports that, "60 million Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month. The burning pain of acid indigestion — commonly called heartburn — affects an estimated 60 million Americans at least once a month and 15 million people daily, according to the American College of Gastroenterology."


That's a lot of people! But there is good news.


Interestingly enough, acid reflux occurs often when people at risk for the condition eat the wrong thing or take over-the-counter (OTC) medications that affect their stomachs, without first checking with their doctor or physician. In other words, it can be reduced or avoided in a number of cases. Put simply: for many people, acid escapes in the wrong way only if they let it.


There are also some things that you can do to help prevent acid reflux, like exercises that help improve balance in your gut, drinking lots of water during the day, and avoiding foods or large meals that make your stomach hurt.


Best Sleeping Position for Acid Reflux


What Are the Treatment Options for Acid Reflux?


That being said, there are a variety of treatments and treatment options available for people who suffer from acid reflux. The only "downside" is many of them involve taking medication.


The other option is trying to find ways to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach (aka, the acidic level of stomach contents), such as eating smaller meals. This way, it doesn't cause problems (aka, tummy issues).


Some people also opt for surgery to remove part of their stomach (an upper body medical procedure called laparoscopy). There are risk factors for all of these, so you need to check with your physician if you're at risk for disease, a pregnant woman, or have any concerns about your health (which is to say, everyone!).


Best Sleeping Position for Acid Reflux


What Is the Best Sleeping Position for Acid Reflux?


Another helpful tip is finding the right sleep position for acid reflux. Some people find that the best position for avoiding poor sleep quality and getting good sleep with acid reflux symptoms is the fetal position.


When a baby's head is on the mother's chest and the spine is in line with the heart, this is known as the fetal position. In our adult life, oftentimes this can be an ideal position for us as well. Sleeping with acid reflux symptoms is one such occasion.


According to The Sleep Foundation, however, the best way is simply sleeping on your left side: "Multiple research studies have found that being on your left side is the best sleeping position for people with GERD. Sleeping with your left side down reduces reflux episodes and exposure of the esophagus to stomach acid. Sleeping in other positions, including on your back, can make reflux more likely."


Another way to put it: at the head of your bed, turn over onto your left side if you experience nighttime acid reflux symptoms. This will allow for the best possible GERD experience for those suffering from liquid reflux.


Finally, the ideal sleep environment (with or without acid reflux) is a cool and dark room with low light levels, moderate noise levels, and plenty of ventilation. You can also try a wedge pillow for a little extra support. If you can get all these in order, you're going to be setting yourself up for the best possible good night's sleep — plus a few essentials of your favorite bedding.


Best Sleeping Position for Acid Reflux




Successfully sleeping for long periods of time is essential for reducing the effects of acid reflux. By avoiding smoking and excess alcohol, getting enough rest, and avoiding dangerous activities at night, you can reduce your chances of having acid reflux.


Thanks to these tips, you can improve your sleep quality and improve your overall health. Additionally, having the right sleep system and sleep environment are vital for getting a better night's sleep, no matter your condition. Make sure you have the right mattress and organic bedding from SLEEP365® today.

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