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Acid reflux is the primary symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition that affects roughly 20% of the U.S. population. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid enters the esophagus, which connects the mouth to the stomach. This backwash can seriously damage stomach lining and may lead to severe discomfort — particularly after evening meals. As a result, people who regularly experience acid reflux often have a hard time falling and staying asleep.
Sleep experts have noted that people who sleep flat on their backs with minimal head support are most susceptible to acid reflux during the night. One potential solution to this issue is an adjustable bed base that allows the sleeper to elevate their head. However, it’s important to note that some mattresses are better suited for adjustable beds than others.
This guide will explore the best mattress choices for sleepers with acid reflux who use an adjustable bed. Below you’ll find some general information about the causes and symptoms of acid reflux, tips for first-time mattress buyers, and our top mattress model picks for sleepers who experience GERD on a regular basis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, frequent acid reflux often leads to GERD. The root cause of most acid reflux cases is a weakened esophageal sphincter, the ring of soft muscle that relaxes when you eat and drink, and then closes when you finish. Weak esophageal sphincters can allow stomach acid to flow into the esophagus, which can lead to the following symptoms:
People who experience acid reflux should consider seeing a physician if their GERD episodes become more severe and/or more frequent, or if they take heartburn medication more than twice per week. Over time, GERD and severe acid reflux can lead to the following complications:
Most people experience acid reflux occasionally. People with GERD typically report at least one or two reflux incidents per week, while those with mild to severe acid reflux usually experience one incident per week. Certain risk factors can lead to more frequent reflux, such as:
Next, let’s look at how acid reflux affects sleep — and effective measures people with acid reflux can take in order to get a good night’s sleep.
People with GERD or acid reflux often experience sleep disruption due to the following factors:
Additionally, GERD has been linked to sleep apnea, a condition characterized by temporary loss of breath while sleeping. The most common form of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (or OSA), occurs when a physical obstruction hinders air circulation in the breathing passages. Many people with OSA experience frequent heavy snoring, but the condition has been linked to more serious conditions such as cancer and chronic heart disease.
Numerous sleep studies have revealed that certain measures can effectively reduce the symptoms of acid reflux, as well as minimize snoring for people with OSA. These measures include:
Stomach acid is more likely to flow into a sleeper’s esophagus when their head is flat or barely raised. By elevating the head at least six inches, gravity controls the backwash and reduces the amount of acid that enters the esophagus. Elevating the head can also cut down on snoring, since many people snore when their breathing muscles relax and the tongue partially blocks the airway.
Back sleepers are at higher risk for both acid reflux and snoring, while side sleeping is considered the best position for both conditions. Additionally, people with acid reflux are urged to sleep on their left side; sleeping on one’s right side triggers more relaxation in the esophageal sphincter.
Because nocturnal heartburn often occurs after evening meals, sleepers with acid reflux are encouraged to avoid eating at least three hours before bedtime. Lighter meals with low amounts of fatty, salty foods and no alcohol or caffeine are often the best option.
For many people with acid reflux, adjustable beds make a world of difference. Adjustable beds allow sleepers to elevate the head of their bed, which (as we’ve discussed) can help prevent both snoring and acid reflux symptoms. Many adjustable beds can also be raised or lowered at the foot, which can aid sleepers with poor circulation.
Not all mattresses are compatible with adjustable beds. When shopping for a mattress that will be used with an adjustable bed, here are a few factors to take into account:
Adjustable beds can cause more wear and tear due to the constant motion. As a result, mattresses with longer-than-average lifespans — such as memory foam, latex, and airbed models — tend to be more suitable for these beds than mattresses with typically shorter lifespans.
Thicker mattresses tend to be the least flexible, whereas lower-profile mattresses tend to offer the most flexibility. The general rule of thumb is that any mattress that measures 12 inches thick or less will be suitable for an adjustable bed.
Finding the right firmness is important for sleepers with acid reflux. Mattresses that are excessively firm or excessively soft may provide inadequate support and cause discomfort. Both of these issues can cause sleepers to shift positions during the night, which can leave them susceptible to more intense acid reflux symptoms.
Sleepers with acid reflux who are committed to a spring-based mattress should consider hybrid models, which have pocketed coils that offer better flexibility. Traditional innersprings with border wires or rods are generally incompatible with adjustable beds. Innersprings also have shorter-than-average lifespans.
Most mattresses sold today come with a sleep trial, which allows customers to test out their new mattress for a certain length of time (typically 90 nights or longer). If they are dissatisfied with the mattress before the trial expires, then they will be able to return their mattress for a full or partial refund. Sleep trials can be a useful way to try out different mattress options before committing to a full purchase.
Here are a few key questions to ask when shopping for a new mattress to be used with an adjustable bed:
Now let’s look at the top-rated mattresses for acid reflux according to the people who use them. The following six models have earned the highest satisfaction ratings among mattress customers and owners with acid reflux who sleep on adjustable beds. To read our reviews for these mattress brands, please visit the links found in the top row of the table.
|Brand||Avocado||Leesa||Loom & Leaf by Saatva||Nest Bedding||PlushBeds||Zenhaven by Saatva|
|Mattress Model||Avocado Green|
|Leesa Mattress||Loom & Leaf Mattress||Love & Sleep||Botanical Bliss||Zenhaven Mattress|
|Mattress Type||Latex||Mixed foam (polyfoam and memory foam)||Memory foam||Memory foam||Latex||Latex|
|Firmness Options||Medium firm||Medium||Medium|
|Side 1: Medium soft|
Side 2: Firm
|Sleep Trial Length||100 nights||100 nights||120 nights||Lifetime guarantee|
(Full refund within 100 nights)
|100 nights||120 nights|
|Warranty Length||25 years|
|Sagging/ Indentation Depth (Warranty)||1″||1″||1″||1″||1 1/2″||3/4″|
|Tuck Customer Satisfaction Rating||76% (678 customer reviews)||77% (1,012 customer reviews)||72% (113 customer reviews)||76% (320 customer reviews)||81% (742 customer reviews)||80% (924 customer reviews)|