SLEEP position and reflux
Reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus and upper aerodigestive tract during sleep poses one of the greatest risks to the individual suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When we lay flat, the protective effect of gravity is lost, and a straight line – or even a downstream tunnel – is created from the stomach, through the esophagus, and straight into the throat. In addition to laying flat, laying preferentially on one’s right side and other factors, such as snoring and sleep apnea, place additional pressure on the stomach that may promote nocturnal reflux. Surprisingly, the innate protective mechanisms we rely on to protect us against reflux are reduced during sleep, just when we need them the most.
SLEEP AND SWALLOWING
Swallowing is an essential protective mechanism we rely on to combat GERD. The esophagus has intricate pressure and chemical receptors that can detect a reflux event and trigger reflexive peristalsis (automatic swallowing) to push the unwanted material back into the stomach. Saliva, the body’s own antacid, is another natural protective mechanism which helps prevent our organs from self-digestion. During sleep, our swallowing frequency and saliva production are both reduced – leaving us particularly vulnerable to the dangerous effects of nighttime reflux. Fortunately, there are things we can do to protect ourselves when we sleep.
Get Gravity on your Side
benefits of an empty stomach
Still curious? Check out these references for even more details.
- Scott DR, Simon RA. Supraesophageal Reflux: Correlation of Position and Occurrence of Acid Reflux-Effect of Head-of-Bed Elevation on Supine Reflux. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2015 May-Jun;3(3):356-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2014.11.019. Epub 2015 Jan 14. PMID: 25609349.
- Albarqouni L, Moynihan R, Clark J, Scott AM, Duggan A, Del Mar C. Head of bed elevation to relieve gastroesophageal reflux symptoms: a systematic review. BMC Fam Pract. 2021 Jan 19;22(1):24. doi: 10.1186/s12875-021-01369-0. PMID: 33468060; PMCID: PMC7816499.
- Huang HC, Chang YJ, Tseng YL, Fang SY. Effect of Head-of-Bed Elevation on Nocturnal Reflux Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer Patients With Esophagectomy and Reconstruction. Cancer Nurs. 2021 May-Jun 01;44(3):244-250. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000769. PMID: 31868819.
- Khan BA, Sodhi JS, Zargar SA, Javid G, Yattoo GN, Shah A, Gulzar GM, Khan MA. Effect of bed head elevation during sleep in symptomatic patients of nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Jun;27(6):1078-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2011.06968.x. PMID: 22098332.
- Kitchin LI, Castell DO. Rationale and efficacy of conservative therapy for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Arch Intern Med. 1991 Mar;151(3):448-54. PMID: 1672062.
- Huang HC, Fang SY. [A Systematic Review of the Literature Related to Elevating the Head of the Bed for Patients With Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: Applications in Patients After Esophageal Cancer Surgery]. Hu Li Za Zhi. 2016 Jun;63(3):83-93. Chinese. doi: 10.6224/JN.63.3.83. PMID: 27250962.
- Hamilton JW, Boisen RJ, Yamamoto DT, Wagner JL, Reichelderfer M. Sleeping on a wedge diminishes exposure of the esophagus to refluxed acid. Dig Dis Sci. 1988 May;33(5):518-22. doi: 10.1007/BF01798350. PMID: 3359906.
RISE ABOVE REFLUX
Reflux Gourmet Pillow is designed by reflux and sleep surgeons to provide the optimal amount of elevation.
Handcrafted in the USA with 100% GOTS-Certified Organic Cotton, as pure as mother nature intended. GOTS-Certified Organic Cotton is held to the highest standards for health, sustainablity, and pesticide free. Rest easy.
The Reflux Gourmet Pillow design is based on years of clinical research to protect against reflux while promoting maximal comfort. The seven inch height has been shown to provide the optimal amount of chest elevation – less is not enough, and more is unnecessary – the Goldilocks Zone.
Due to the anatomic configuration of your stomach and esophagus, sleeping on one’s left side can also further protect against nighttime reflux.
- Handcrafted with 100% GOTS-Certified Organic Cotton; sustainably raised and pesticide free
- Highly permeable to air, allowing your body to easily regulate temperature Super absorbent material wicks away moisture to promote optimal comfort
- Use of additional pillows is optional
- Can be customized to maximize comfort
- 100% GOTS-Certified pillowcases available in three colors