If you experience acid reflux at night, using a wedge pillow can help tremendously until you can identify the root cause of your acid reflux or GERD. Read on to find the best wedge pillow for acid reflux/GERD because not just any wedge pillow will do.
Possible Causes Of Acid Reflux/GERD
There are some common causes of acid reflux and some uncommon reasons too. To understand a few the dynamics of what is happening you’ll want to know what the sphincter muscle is.
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a ring of muscles between the esophagus and stomach. The LES is usually tight and taut so the contents of your stomach stay out of the esophagus. When you eat food or drink the sphincter muscles relax so the food and drink can pass through to the stomach. The sphincter muscles tighten up again after all the food reaches the stomach.
People who suffer from reflux/GERD have sphincter muscles that are weak or too relaxed. When acid flows back into the esophagus, pain and burning is the result.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy is a very common reason why you may be experiencing heartburn. Not only is the fetus pressing on your digestive organs causing acid to back up into the esophagus, the hormones related to pregnancy relax the sphincter muscle.
- Obesity. Being obese also results in a more relaxed sphincter due to the pressure exerted on the stomach organs.
- A Hiatal hernia. This condition also causes pressure on the diaphragm and loosens the sphincter muscles.
- Many medications. Including Ibuprofen, aspirin, osteoporosis drugs, iron supplements, high blood pressure medications, anti-anxiety drugs and some antidepressants.
- Tight garments. Tight fitting clothes put pressure on the abdomen.
- Certain foods. These foods cause the esophageal sphincter to relax during their digestion. They include coffee, chocolate, fatty foods, whole milk, peppermint, and spearmint.
- Too little stomach acid. If your body is not producing enough stomach acid, you are not digesting your food. The contents of the stomach which under normal circumstances will propel into the small intestine, now back up to the esophagus.
Using a wedge pillow is an inexpensive and effective way to help manage the condition and symptoms of heartburn until you can work on the root causes(s).
Why a Wedge Pillow?
Experts say that elevating the upper torso and head by 6 inches when going to bed is an effective way to keep the acid from backing up into the esophagus. It takes gravity to keep acid out of the esophagus and keeping the upper part of your body elevated is a necessary thing to do.
An effective wedge pillow will gently raise the head by sloping the upper torso gently into an elevated position. Some pillows are uncomfortable and raise the head too much, some too little. Some don’t elevate the torso or don’t start at the part of the body that will be effective in combating the acid from traveling up.
A wedge pillow has other benefits too. It can help with snoring, asthma, colds, upper respiratory illnesses and allergies by keeping the airways more open.
You can sleep on your side comfortably with a wedge pillow too.
Things to look for in your Wedge Pillow
- Should be at least 28 inches long to allow for a gentle climb.
- Should have a removable cover so it can be washed.
- No latex or volatile organic compounds or flame retardants.
- No mercury, lead or other heavy metals.
- No formaldehyde, no ozone depleters, and no phthalates.
- Medslant pillows are made in the USA. Products that are made outside of the USA may be manufactured with volatile organic compounds and strong vapors that can make you sick.
- Medslant wedges are one of the widest in the industry. Almost the half size of a queen bed so you can move around at night comfortably.
- The Medslant pillow gradually inclines to 7 inches for a more comfortable sleeping position.
- Dimensions provide the necessary height for GERD relief- 30-inches wide X 32 inches long x 7-inches high.
- Weight: 4 pounds.
- Memory foam is 1 inch thick.
- An Amazon.com best seller
$$$$ Expensive at $99.95
- Miracle Wedge is made in the U.S.
- 100% High-Density ECO Memory Foam
- Dimensions are acceptable as being effective For GERD relief – 24″ long x 24″ wide x 7.5″ high
- Includes a washable removable zippered cover pillow case.
- Doesn’t shift during the night. Good for side sleeping.
- 3 ½ Star rating from Amazon
- The memory foam can smell and has to be aired out before use.
- Some complaints about the product losing its shape after a few uses.
$$$ Moderate price @ $67.97
- Avana is made in the USA
- Perfect for side sleepers.
- Memory foam layer atop a base of firm polyurethane foam. Provides comfort and support
- Cover is both removable and machine washable
- Product dimensions provide the necessary height for GERD relief – 35L x 24W x 8H
- Height is more than other wedge pillows, so if you suffer from moderate to severe GERD, this may help better.
- Some complain that it is too firm
- Not as wide as the Medslant, which may be an issue if you move a lot in your sleep.
$$$$ Expensive @ 99.00 Amazon
- Back Support Systems is made in the USA and Eco-Friendly.
- Ideal for back and side sleepers.
- The one inch memory foam on top supports your weight comfortably.
- Dimensions are suitable for GERD symptom relief –
- 32 Inch width making it long enough to move around when sleeping.
- Not many reviews on Amazon, but the product is quality.
$$$$ Expensive at $119.97 @ Amazon
In conclusion, GERD and reflux symptoms can be reduced at night with a wedge pillow specially designed for these health conditions. If the slant of the pillow is too short or the height is not at least 7 inches, then you will not get the benefits of relief of symptoms.
My favorite is the Medslant. The founder created the pillow for relief of her GERD symptoms and she designed a highly effective product.
I would love to hear how the pillow you choose works for you, please leave a comment below!
Linda is a Certified Integrative and Functional Health Coach