An estimated 15 percent of Americans suffer from GERD, according to CNN Health. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease. It occurs when stomach acid flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus resulting in symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. While GERD sufferers experience symptoms throughout the day, the disease makes it difficult for many to get quality sleep.
“The interplay between sleep problems and GERD seems complex, but our finding of a link between the two cannot be dismissed," reports Catarina Jansson, Ph.D. of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and lead author of a study about the interplay between GERD and sleep disorders. "This finding may be of clinical relevance since a separate randomized controlled trial showed that sleep problems were improved after GERD therapy.”
Finding Relief Through Positional Therapy
As anyone suffering from nighttime GERD knows, your sleep position can make a difference in the severity and frequency of GERD symptoms like acid reflux, heartburn and even apnea. Positional therapy—using sleep posture to manage symptoms—is key to improving nighttime disturbances due to this disease. The following sleep positions can aggravate symptoms:
Back sleeping: Flattens out the digestive tract, allowing stomach acid to reflux easily.
Right-side sleeping: Places the stomach above the esophagus, causing liquid to drain into the esophagus.
Avoiding these two sleep positions can be an important part of finding more comfort. The goal is to let gravity work for you. Left-side sleeping helps lessen GERD-related symptoms by placing the stomach below the esophagus. In this position, gastric juices must work against gravity to rise up through the esophagus. Many sleepers suffering from GERD also know that elevating the torso by sleeping on a gentle incline provides significant relief. Elevating the upper body ensures gastric juices stay where they belong–in the stomach. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, the upper body must be elevated at least 6 inches off the bed to be effective.
The European Sleep Works Solution
European Sleep Works offers sensible, effective products to help GERD sufferers sleep comfortably in the most beneficial sleep positions. Sometimes adjusting to a new sleep position feels uncomfortable or unnatural. We believe that any improvement to sleep quality—big or small—is important and contributes to overall better health. Using products that aid positional therapy can be part of a lifestyle dedicated to improving sleep and well-being.
Our all-natural latex sleeping wedge permits comfortable side sleeping while providing the benefits of sleeping elevated. Our wedge is 36’’ long, covered in stretch-knit organic cotton and sits on top of your mattress. It's both convenient and easy to use. The sleep wedge can also help improve symptoms of sleep apnea.
Incorporating products like our sleep wedge into your sleep habits can pay off in fewer GERD or apnea-related sleep disturbances. Fewer disturbances means better sleep—which translates into a major improvement in quality of life.