When the natural acid in your stomach leaks into your esophagus, it provokes the tissues in your throat to become inflamed. The cause is very natural: acid production beyond the esophagus sphincter’s ability to control. In return, the body sends all extra acid back to the esophagus.
Causes of Acid Reflux
There are various causes of acid reflux, and you can avoid it to an extent.
Gravity is the real culprit behind the stomach sending its acid back to your esophagus. If you sit or stand upright, gravity keeps your stomach acids from going into your stomach. But when you lie flat, this advantage is lost, providing a clear path for acid to crawl up your throat.
Weak Esophageal Muscles
Relaxed esophageal muscles are vulnerable to acid. Production of high amounts of acids is beyond the controlling capacity of esophageal muscles. Your swallowing motion and saliva production are also affected during sleep.
The absence of these at night does not let you stop the stomach acid from crawling to your esophagus. Therefore, you keep waking up at night due to chest pain or a burned throat.
How Much Should I Elevate My Bed for Acid Reflux?
Elevating your head off the bed by an inch or two won’t make any difference. This is useless in keeping the stomach acid from accessing your esophagus. Lift your head around six to eight inches above the bed at an angle of 35-45 degrees. Keep your head six inches raised every time you sleep to reap the most advantage out of gravity.
Stacking Pillows for Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is not a disease but rather an unpredictable condition. However, you can control it and enjoy long, peaceful sleep during winter nights without choking. The pillow stacking technique is tried and tested in acid reflux cases.
- Start with piling up pillows under your head and upper back.
- A general tip is to keep your head at least 8 inches higher than your body.
- Based on the size and fluffiness of your pillow, you can require around 4 pillows to be piled upon each other.
- Remember that not only your head but also your torso needs to be elevated.
- Keeping your torso elevated while sleeping can stop the acid from dropping into the esophagus from the stomach.
DIY Bed Risers for Acid Reflux
Many bed risers are available in the market, but you can also put your DIY skills to use. Following is a step-by-step procedure:
- Bricks or wooden blocks
- Measuring tape
- Measure the width and depth of your bed legs to determine the size of the required bed risers.
- Choose wooden blocks that are thick and sturdy and smoothen out any raw edges on their surface. You can paint them too if you want.
- Lift each corner of your bed and slide the wooden block or brick under its leg. Ensure that your bed is stable enough while standing on the blocks.
- Once all bed risers are in place, rock the bed to check the stability.
- Lie down on your raised bed and check if it’s comfortable to reduce acid reflux.
Acid reflux is a common condition anyone can experience. You can try the methods mentioned above to prevent it. However, you can’t neglect the significance of professional intervention. If, after taking all the preventive measures, you still suffer from acid reflux.