A wedge pillow is a specially-designed triangle-shaped pillow that raises the top half of your body during sleep.
This can make sleeping easier and also aid with some health issues, including acid reflux. They come in a wide variety of sizes and materials, so they fit everyone’s needs and tastes.
But how does a wedge pillow actually help your acid reflux?
Why Is A Wedge Pillow Good For Acid Reflux?
A wedge pillow helps acid reflux in various ways, one of the main ones being that it raises the upper half of your body. This may prevent stomach acid from rising up your esophagus, thus stopping uncomfortable symptoms, such as heartburn, from occurring, especially at night. They may also be a better alternative to many acid reflux and GERD medications.
How does a wedge pillow help acid reflux?
Most people suffering from GERD and acid reflux choose over-the-counter or prescription medication. Some even choose herbal and natural remedies, such as ginger, eating an alkaline diet, and drinking plenty of fluids.
But studies show that a lot of people taking medication for the symptoms of acid reflux or GERD do not actually experience any improvement in their health. Because of that, it’s a good idea to try something that doesn’t cause any side effects but might help, such as a wedge pillow.
A wedge pillow lifts up your head and chest, preventing gastric acid from refluxing up your esophagus. This is one of the best ways to combat the unpleasant symptoms of acid reflux at night.
On the other hand, it’s important to remember that if you use a wedge pillow, your acid reflux symptoms won’t get less severe during the day – a wedge pillow only helps your symptoms at night.
By preventing stomach contents from flowing back into the esophagus, you can also get more rest. This is because you won’t wake up during the night due to unpleasant, painful symptoms.
Interrupted sleep leads to sleep terrors, severe health issues, and even chronic pain. To combat these health risks, investing in a quality wedge pillow can prevent acid reflux symptoms that wake you up in the middle of the night.
Wedge pillows work perfectly for all sleepers – from the side through the stomach to back sleepers. It helps even out pressure points and align your spine correctly, which not only eases acid reflux symptoms but also helps prevent neck and back pain after sleep.
On the other hand, studies found that sleeping on your left side can help naturally return the gastric acid back to your stomach, preventing heartburn and other issues. So, if you find it easy to sleep in various positions, choosing to sleep on your left side might be very beneficial for the health of your digestive system.
Aside from a wedge pillow, experts say that elevating your head, in general, might bring relief to people suffering from acid reflux and GERD. For instance, not sleeping for at least three hours before bed and sitting up instead of lying down when relaxing might help you reduce everyday symptoms of acid reflux and GERD.
If you do choose to lie down during the day, make sure to prop your head up with a firm pillow to prevent heartburn and other issues.
How to choose a wedge pillow for acid reflux?
When choosing a wedge pillow to help with your acid reflux symptoms, there are a few things you should consider, such as the incline, size, material, and firmness level.
Generally, wedge pillows’ incline levels range between 30 to 45 degrees (or about 6 to 12 inches). But, for acid reflux, the best wedge pillows should have a mid-level incline, between 35 to 40 degrees. This is the best level to help you sleep comfortably while preventing heartburn and other issues.
Choosing the size of your wedge pillow is also important if you’re looking to ease your acid reflux. In general, wedge pillows are bigger than regular pillows, so you have to account for the size of your bed. What’s more, if you tend to toss in bed when you sleep, you might want to choose an even larger wedge pillow to ensure that you won’t fall off of it.
Most wedge pillows are made with memory foam, poly-foam, or a mixture of both. Both of these foam types help contour the body and keep it in a comfortable position, which relieves pressure and helps keep your stomach contents where they should be. As a result, these two types of foam are the best for people with acid reflux.
Wedge pillows have varying levels of firmness, from extra soft to extra firm. For those with acid reflux or GERD symptoms, the best choices are medium-firm to firm. These firmness levels work best at keeping the upper half of your body elevated, thus preventing acid reflux symptoms.
Can a wedge pillow make your acid reflux worse?
Since a wedge pillow raises the upper half of your body, it’s very unlikely to worsen your acid reflux. Most symptoms of GERD and acid reflux are caused by stomach contents rising up your esophagus and inflaming it.
So, using a pillow that lifts your body and prevents stomach acids from gathering in your esophagus will only soothe your stomach and prevent the symptoms from occurring, particularly at night.
What’s more, unlike other treatments for acid reflux and GERD, such as medications, there are no risks or side effects to using a wedge pillow. Because of that, it might be one of the healthiest options for treating acid reflux, especially if your acid reflux symptoms aren’t too severe and you can cope without medication.
Using a wedge pillow for acid reflux can help you prevent various health risks, including heartburn, pain in your stomach, and even other health conditions.
Because of their shape and incline, they can also improve your sleep quality. So, along with some over-the-counter medication, a wedge pillow can help you control your symptoms even better.
Alicia is the senior content editor and writer here at Food FAQ. She has extensive experience with acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, and various supplements. When not eating food for “research”, she’s watching “Friends” for the 100th time.