This post was most recently updated on June 7th, 2021
Do you suffer from acid reflux?
Does the acid reflux keep you up at night? Do you struggle with getting enough sleep so that you feel fully rested?
It turns out that your sleeping position can actually treat your nighttime acid reflux!
When you sleep on your left side, and your upper torso is elevated at the right angle, it actually hinders the stomach acid from traveling up and through your esophagus.
But how do you sleep on your left side, while also maintaining an elevated sleeping position?
We’ve researched quite a number of acid reflux treatments, pillows, routines, etc.
Some will raise your head, others will prop up your back. The one thing that they all have in common is that they just don’t work.
While doing our research, we found that for nighttime acid reflux, it’s hard to beat the MedCline Acid Reflux Bed Wedge and Body Pillow System.
This “system” includes a wedge – which is designed with the proper angle – and a body pillow.
It does take an adjustment period, but once you are accustomed to the system, it might be hard to go back to a traditional pillow.
The body pillow hugs the contours of your entire body, and you do get acclimated to the wedge within a few nights.
Has this been professionally tested?
Yes, it has.
It has been proven, in independent clinical trials, to reduce nighttime heartburn, regurgitation, and acid exposure in the esophagus, as well as to improve overall sleep quality.
What exactly is the system?
There are two basic components here:
- The wedge
- The body pillow
This is a “system”, not just a pillow. The individual pieces work in conjunction with each other to not only treat nighttime acid reflux, but to ensure that you are comfortable enough to actually fall asleep.
Let’s take a quick look at each component.
The wedge portion
The wedge portion is the part of the system that actually treats your acid reflux.
The wedge is designed with the optimum angle to keep your stomach acid down, while actually providing you with a comfortable sleeping position.
It also has an opening for your arm to fit through, to reduce the pressure placed on your shoulder joint. Because of this feature, this system can also be used for chronic shoulder pain as well.
The body pillow
The body pillow provides you with somewhere to rest your head, but it actually does much more!
It’s designed in a way to keep you on your left side – which is the optimal position for proper acid reflux relief – and it is shaped to hug the contours of your body to ensure comfort.
It creates a cocoon of comfort, which helps make you forget that you’re actually elevated on a wedge. It also keeps you from sliding off of the wedge.
How and why does it work?
The key here is in the 15-20 degrees of elevation which the wedge provides. The fluctuation of 5 degrees is based on whether you rest your head on the wedge, or on the body pillow.
This angle is sufficient enough to keep your stomach acid from traveling up and causing acid reflux.
Most pillows designed to treat acid reflux symptoms just lift your head or your neck. Not only do these pillows not work, they usually just result in a stiff neck.
The system also takes advantage of gravity by keeping you on your left side. By doing so, the stomach acid has to travel up to get into your esophagus, as opposed to having direct access when you’re on your right side.
How do you use it?
Using the MedCline system is fairly straightforward. It might take a few nights to get accustomed to the routine, but it really isn’t rocket science.
It’s 50% instructional, and 50% experimentation.
Step 1 – Set it up
The wedge portion comes with an inner cushion. You’ll place the cushion in the opening. After that, place the body pillow on top, and the set up is complete.
Step 2 – Place your arm inside
Place your arm inside of the opening, and situate your arm to your comfort preference. Some people prefer their arm to be extended. Others will prefer a bend at the elbow.
Step 3 – Find your comfort zone
You’re almost done!
Now you just have to find the right position for you. This is where you might need a night or two to find your sweet spot.
What does it feel like?
When you look at the system, your first thought might be – “How will that be comfortable?”.
Which is a valid question, because sleeping on a hard surface is definitely not comfortable. But this system isn’t actually “hard”.
It’s firm, but not hard!
The wedge itself is made out of 4 layers of foam. The bottom three layers provide support, while the plush top layer is soft – to provide comfort.
Other than the elevated angle, it really is not different from laying on a memory foam mattress.
Sizes and specs
The wedge is made from 4 different types of medical-grade foam. The body pillow is filled with shredded memory foam.
The body pillow includes a washable 80% Cotton /20% Polyester pillowcase.
The right size for you
MedCline’s Reflux Relief system is available in 3 different sizes. They are:
- Small – measures 40″ long, 27″ wide and 10″ tall.
- Medium – measures 50″ long, 30″ wide and 12.5″ tall.
- Large – measures 52″ long, 30″ wide and 14″ tall.
(The length is from the body pillow).
You can refer to the following chart to find the right size for you. If you are on the borderline, MedCline recommends you choose the smaller of the two sizes.
You might need to acclimate to the elevation. You might need to adjust to having a wedge-cushion underneath you. Or you might need to get used to having the body pillow following the contours of your body.
If you’ve been sleeping with just a traditional pillow your entire life – this system will definitely place you out of your comfort zone.
The trick here is to stick with it. Give yourself a few nights to acclimate to the system.