Acid reflux can get in the way of a good night’s sleep. Although symptoms occur at any time of day, they’re particularly troublesome at bedtime. That’s when the condition can cause nighttime heart burn, making you wake up suddenly with a bitter taste in your mouth. To reduce these symptoms, experts recommend sleeping on your side or with your upper body elevated, which means finding the right mattress is especially important. Best mattress for acid reflux are suitable for side sleepers or flexible enough to work smoothly with adjustable beds. When shopping, you should look out for plenty of contouring and cushioning, as well as an equal amount of support.
Best Mattresses for Acid Reflux Buying Guide
Buying a mattress can be complicated. With so many models out there that come in a variety of materials and firmness options, it’s important to find the one that will alleviate your acid reflux symptoms without making them worse. From an equal balance of softness and support to compatibility with adjustable beds, there are plenty of unique factors to consider when you’re shopping for an acid-reflux-friendly mattress.
How Does Acid Reflux Affect Sleep?
Acid reflux is a disease that causes stomach acids to move up higher than they should. Although the muscle at the entrance of your stomach is supposed to close completely, in some people it stays partially to entirely open, causing stomach acid to move up into your esophagus. This causes symptoms of discomfort that include heartburn, the taste of acid in your throat or mouth, bloating, vomiting, nausea, dysphagia (which WebMD defines as the feeling of having food stuck in your throat), unexplainable weight loss, and cold-like symptoms such as a sore throat and dry cough.
What Type of Mattress Is Best for People with Acid Reflux?
To keep acid reflux and nighttime heartburn from interrupting your sleep, experts suggest sleeping on your left side or keeping the upper half of your body elevated at an angle. Doing so prevents the acid from moving up your esophagus and waking you up with a bitter taste. Therefore, when it comes to mattresses, your best choices will be those that work well with side sleepers or adjustable beds. For the former, that means a medium-soft mattress with plenty of contouring and cushioning ability that also offers targeted support. Meanwhile, for the latter, you’ll want to look for something flexible but supportive that can be put on an adjustable bed without introducing a crease, loud noises, or more discomfort. In general, latex, foam, and hybrid mattresses will give you the most relief from acid reflux symptoms.
Memory foam is famous for its conformity. When it comes in contact with a sleeper’s body heat, it quickly contours to all of their pressure points. This gives side-sleepers targeted support and keeps their spines in alignment.
On average, a quality queen memory foam mattress costs between $800 and $1,200. The density, quality, material, and number of layers will all factor into the final cost.
Pros for Acid Reflux:
- Memory foam’s high levels of contouring are essential for comfortably sleeping on your left side, a proven method for treating acid reflux symptoms
- Memory foam offers plenty of motion isolation, which can help you stay asleep and stave off sleep deprivation if you share your bed with a partner
- Due to its flexibility, memory foam should work seamlessly with most adjustable beds
Cons for Acid Reflux:
- All-foam mattresses tend to sag quite heavily in the middle, which may cause issues with keeping your upper body elevated
- Memory foam mattresses are notorious for lacking edge support, which could allow your head and neck to sink lower than your chest when you roll onto the perimeter
- Memory foam traditionally sleeps hot, which can cause added discomfort and make it hard to fall or stay asleep
Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Mattress
Because everyone is unique, the mattresses we picked out might not be the best choices for all people with acid reflux. Other medical conditions, personal preferences, and needs may mean you need different features than the memory foam and hybrid mattresses on our list. In general, mattresses only need to meet a few important requirements to be acid-reflux-friendly, making it possible to customize yours while still treating your symptoms. We’ll walk you through all the factors you need to consider when shopping on your own.
- Support: Because gravity is essential in keeping acid down during sleep, it’s important to find a mattress that provides plenty of support. Not only will this keep your spine aligned when sleeping on your side, but it will also prevent your head, neck, and chest from sinking, which can cause acid to move up.
- Contouring: Sleeping on your left is an effective acid reflux treatment, and contouring is crucial for side-sleeping. A mattress that conforms to your body will allow your pressure points to sink just enough into the bed while still keeping them cushioned and supported. Additionally, it will keep your spine aligned and your head from sinking lower than your chest.
- Firmness: In general, medium-firm mattresses work the best for side-sleepers. That said, firmness level is largely up to individual preferences. Heavier people tend to prefer firmer mattresses, while lighter people tend to prefer softer mattresses. A mattress of any firmness should work for someone with acid reflux, so long as it provides enough support and elevation.
- Motion Isolation: Acid reflux symptoms already make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Tossing, turning, and jolting only adds to the discomfort. If you share your bed with a partner and/or a pet, it’s a good idea to find a mattress that will keep their movements on their side, so as not to wake you up.
- Temperature Regulation: Like with motion isolation, temperature regulation isn’t essential for people with acid reflux, although it can make your sleep environment more comfortable. Sleeping too hot can make it harder to both fall and stay asleep. Therefore, you may want to consider a mattress that stays cool throughout the night and adapts to seasonal changes in weather.
- Edge Support: Edge support is another feature that won’t necessarily relieve acid reflux symptoms, but could make it easier to get a good night’s sleep. If you toss and turn in your sleep, a mattress that sags around the perimeter could keep your head and neck from staying supported above your chest, allowing acid to flow up your esophagus.
- Noise: A noisy mattress can cause enough disturbance to jolt you awake, keeping you from entering the deep sleep stage necessary to alleviate acid reflux symptoms. If you toss and turn or share your bed with a partner, it might be a good idea to find a mattress with silent springs or no springs at all.
- Price: You don’t have to break the bank to find a suitable mattress for acid reflux. Although hybrid and latex mattresses tend to be the most expensive, foam mattresses have all of the features necessary for symptom relief while remaining relatively affordable.
Sleep Help and Tips for Acid Reflux
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to relieve overall symptoms of acid reflux. Healthy sleep hygiene reduces the risk of obesity, nicotine use, and overeating—all of which can trigger symptoms. Additionally, deep sleep has been shown to suppress reflux, while sleep deprivation can actually make your esophagus more sensitive to acid. Although acid reflux itself is a major cause of disturbed sleep, there are tips you can follow to improve your sleep health and stop this cycle in its tracks.
- Change your diet and portion sizes: In general, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine are all substances to avoid if you want to get a good night’s sleep, especially before bed. This is doubly true for people with acid reflux, as they’re common heartburn triggers. Other known trigger foods include acidic foods like citrus and tomato, spices like garlic and onions, chocolate, dairy products, fried foods, chocolate, peppermint, and more. Portion sizes and meal-times are important as well. Keep meals small, to avoid putting pressure on your stomach, and eat 2-3 hours before bed-time, to cut down on stomach acid.
- Don’t nap or sleep after eating: The 2-3 hour rule applies to naptime as well. Napping after meals not only triggers reflux, but disrupts your sleep schedule, making it harder to fall asleep at night. As a rule of thumb, the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorderssuggests avoiding naps after 3 pm. Due to work schedules and health needs, this may not be possible for everyone. If you must nap, WebMD suggests doing so in a chair, to keep you upright.
- Avoid lying in bed when you’re not sleeping:A study by the IFGD found that the longer someone spent lying in bed awake, the longer their esophagus was exposed to stomach acid. Therefore, the Foundation suggests cutting down on the amount of time you spend in bed if you’re not sleeping. If you find yourself spending more than 20 minutes in bed before falling asleep, you should get up and return when you feel sleepy again. Keeping your sleep environment clear of electronics and other distractions can help, as can incorporating relaxation into your bedtime ritual.
Please remember that while our guide is thorough and well-researched, it is not a replacement for medical advice. Always consult your doctor or qualified physician with any questions or concerns you have regarding medical conditions, treatments, and advice.
Additional Sleep Accessories for People With Acid Reflux
For people with acid reflux, a new mattress is the best place to start if you want to improve your sleep health. Other sleep accessories can help as well. When paired with an acid-reflux-friendly mattress, pillows, mattress toppers, and adjustable beds are all quite effective at easing symptoms and helping you get a good night’s sleep.
While a mattress is responsible for most of your sleep quality, pillows can play an important role in helping you sleep deeply throughout the night. Head pillows keep you comfortable and your spine aligned, while body pillows add cushioning and provide support for essentially any body part that needs it. Both can be especially helpful for people with acid reflux. The former can prop your head up and prevent acid from coming up your throat, as long as you keep in mind that WebMD suggests “wedge-shaped” pillows measuring 6-10 inches on the thick end, instead of regular head pillows. Meanwhile, body pillows have a number of uses, including:
- Allowing you to keep your spine aligned if you’re not used to sleeping on your left
- Keeping your knees separated and cushioned when you’re sleeping on your side
- Providing added elevation for your upper body
If you experience acid reflux but aren’t in a position to purchase a brand-new mattress, a good mattress topper could help alleviate your symptoms. Available in a variety of thicknesses, materials, and firmness levels, mattress toppers can help you sleep on your side or keep your body elevated. If you want to treat your acid reflux by sleeping on your side, then you should look for a mattress that provides plenty of contouring—memory foam and latex typically work the best. This will relieve all of your pressure points by allowing them to sink in to the cushioning, while keeping your spine aligned with the support of the mattress underneath. Meanwhile, if you want to treat your symptoms by elevating your upper body, there are many toppers out there designed specifically for this purpose—they typically feature an incline that keeps one end several inches thicker/higher than the other.
If changing your mattress or supplementing with a pillow or mattress topper isn’t enough to alleviate your symptoms, then you might want to consider purchasing an adjustable bed. They won’t necessarily help you sleep on your side, but they will elevate your body far more than a pillow or topper ever could. Typically made out of a metal frame with segmented parts, they can be raised at either the head, the foot, or—more commonly—both, often with just the click of a remote. In general, they can add anywhere from 6 to 20 inches to your incline. Additionally, many come with built-in features that can help you fall and stay asleep. Massage modes and zero gravity positions are both common features that you might find in an adjustable beds.