Best Mattresses for Acid Reflux

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.

What Is Acid Reflux?

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:

  • Irritated or inflamed stomach lining
  • Burning sensations in the chest, which are often more pronounced at night (after evening meals)
  • Discomfort when swallowing
  • A ‘lump’ sensation in the throat
  • Chronic coughing
  • Laryngitis
  • Asthma
  • Sleep disturbances

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:

  • Esophageal stricture: Narrowing of the esophagus caused by stomach acid damage to the lower esophagus.
  • Esophageal ulcer: An open sore that forms when stomach acid erodes the esophageal tissue.
  • Barrett’s esophagus: Altered tissue lining in the esophagus that has been linked to risks of esophageal cancer.

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:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Hiatal hernia, which are located at the top of the stomach
  • Smoking
  • Eating large meals late at night or consuming certain foods (such as fatty or dried food) and beverages (such as alcohol or coffee)
  • Certain medications, including aspirin

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.

Sleep Considerations and Strategies for People with Acid Reflux

People with GERD or acid reflux often experience sleep disruption due to the following factors:

  • Nocturnal heartburn pain
  • Coughing or choking due to acid in the throat
  • The unpleasant sensation of regurgitating stomach acid from the mouth

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:

Elevating the head

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.

Sleeping on the left side

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.

Spacing meals and bedtime

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:

Durability

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.

Flexibility

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.

Firmness

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.

Coil Type

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.

Sleep Trial

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.

Important Questions for Mattress Shoppers with Acid Reflux

Here are a few key questions to ask when shopping for a new mattress to be used with an adjustable bed:

  • What is your mattress budget? The average mattress costs more than $1,000 in a Queen-size. However, memory foam models are typically much cheaper than latex, hybrid, or airbed mattresses.
  • Do you sleep on your side? Side sleeping can benefit people with acid reflux. Among all mattress types, side sleepers tend to feel most comfortable and supported on memory foam and latex mattresses.
  • How much do you weigh? Sleeper weight is closely tied to firmness preferences. People who are heavier than average (more than 230 pounds) tend to prefer firmer surfaces that don’t sink too deeply and provide even support. On the other hand, lighter-than-average sleepers (less than 130 pounds) often feel most comfortable on softer sleep surfaces that conform to their bodies.  
  • What is your ideal mattress thickness? Generally, the thinner the mattress, the more flexible and better suited for an adjustable bed it will be. Mattresses that measure 12 inches or thinner are considered the best option for adjustable beds, so sleepers with acid reflux that prefer thicker-than-average mattresses may need to compromise in order to find a workable mattress model.
  • Is your desired mattress compatible with an adjustable bed? Most adjustable beds are compatible with any flexible mattress that measures 12 inches thick or less. However, you should double-check the manual and contact the manufacturer if you are concerned the mattress you want is incompatible with the bed. Likewise, be sure to read the product warranty for any mattress you are interested in buying; some explicitly state that using the mattress with an adjustable bed will void the warranty.
  • What kind of sleep trial and return policy do the mattress manufacturer offer? Most sleep trials last 90 nights or longer, which is a sufficient break-in period for determining if the mattress will work. However, be sure to read the fine print — some brands charge expensive return fees and/or require customers to cover return shipping and handling costs, which can be fairly expensive.
  • Are mattress exchanges available with the sleep trial? In some cases, customers will be able to exchange their mattress during the sleep trial, rather than returning it for a refund. Again, fine print is key. In some cases, the replacement mattress will not qualify for an additional sleep trial — and the purchaser will essentially need to commit to the replacement, even though it still might not be their best option.
  • How long is the mattress warranty? Most mattress warranties span at least 10 years, and a large number extend beyond the 20-year mark. However, warranty length is not as important as the length of nonprorated coverage, during which time the owner can have a defective mattress repaired or replaced at little to no charge. Some warranties are entirely nonprorated, while others offer only one to two years of nonprorated coverage.
  • What defects are covered under the mattress warranty? Mattresses used with adjustable beds are susceptible to more wear and tear than models used with standard frames or foundations. Wear and tear can lead to sagging or indentations in the sleep surface that cause discomfort and disrupt sleep; they can also lead to shifting positions during the night, which can aggravate acid reflux symptoms. Most mattress warranties cover sagging and indentations that measure a certain depth, but this depth varies by brand. Keep in mind that sagging and indentations measuring one inch or deeper cause the most sleep disruption, but this depth falls below the coverable defects listed in some warranties.

Best Mattresses for Acid Reflux: Brands and Models

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.

BrandAvocadoLeesaLoom & Leaf by SaatvaNest BeddingPlushBedsZenhaven by Saatva
Mattress ModelAvocado Green
(Non-pillow-top)
Leesa MattressLoom & Leaf MattressLove & SleepBotanical BlissZenhaven Mattress
Mattress TypeLatexMixed foam (polyfoam and memory foam)Memory foamMemory foamLatexLatex
(Two-sided)
Cost (Queen)$1,399

 

$940$1,099$599$1,699 (9″)
$1,899 (10″)
$2,299 (12″)
$1,899
Thickness11″

 

10″12″11″9″
10″
12″
10″
Firmness OptionsMedium firmMediumMedium
Firm
Medium
Firm
Soft
Medium
Medium firm
Side 1: Medium soft
Side 2: Firm
Sleep Trial Length100 nights100 nights120 nightsLifetime guarantee
(Full refund within 100 nights)
100 nights120 nights
Return FeesNoneNone$99NoneNone$99
Warranty Length25 years
10 nonprorated
10 years
All nonprorated
15 years
2 nonprorated
Lifetime
All nonprorated
25 years
10 nonprorated
20 years
2 nonprorated
Sagging/ Indentation Depth (Warranty)1″1″1″1″1 1/2″3/4″
Tuck Customer Satisfaction Rating76% (678 customer reviews)77% (1,012 customer reviews)72% (113 customer reviews)76% (320 customer reviews)81% (742 customer reviews)80% (924 customer reviews)

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