How Do You Elevate a Bed for Acid Reflux?

How Do You Elevate a Bed for Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common digestive disorder that can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep. Elevating the bed is one way to manage acid reflux symptoms, particularly at night.

Elevating the bed can help reduce the frequency and severity of reflux episodes by using gravity to keep stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. In this blog post, we will explore various methods and tips on how to elevate a bed for acid reflux effectively.

Understanding Acid Reflux

Before diving into how to elevate a bed for acid reflux, let’s briefly understand what acid reflux is and why it occurs. Acid reflux happens when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach, relaxes inappropriately or weakens. This allows stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation.

  • Common symptoms of acid reflux include:
  • Heartburn: A burning sensation in the chest or throat.
  • Regurgitation: Sour or bitter-tasting acid backing up into the throat or mouth.
  • Difficulty swallowing: A sensation of food being stuck in the throat.
  • Coughing or wheezing: Especially at night or after eating.

Acid reflux can worsen when lying down, as gravity no longer helps keep stomach acid in place. Elevating the bed can counteract this effect and provide relief for many individuals.

Methods to Elevate a Bed for Acid Reflux

Using Bed Risers:

One of the simplest and most effective ways to elevate a bed for acid reflux is by using bed risers. Bed risers are sturdy plastic or wooden blocks that can be placed under the legs or feet of the bed frame. By raising the head end of the bed, gravity can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

Steps to Use Bed Risers:

  • Purchase bed risers from a home goods store or online retailer.
  • Lift one side of the bed at a time and place the risers under each leg or foot.
  • Ensure the bed is stable and secure after elevating it.

Adjustable Bed Frames:

Adjustable bed frames are an excellent option for those looking for more versatility and comfort. These frames allow you to raise or lower different sections of the bed, including the head and foot areas. Elevating the head section can effectively reduce acid reflux symptoms while finding a comfortable sleeping position.

Benefits of Adjustable Bed Frames:

  • Customizable elevation for optimal comfort.
  • Some models offer massage and other features for enhanced relaxation.
  • Suitable for individuals with various sleep preferences or medical needs.

Wedge Pillows:

Another popular way to elevate the upper body during sleep is wedge pillows. These specially designed pillows have a triangular shape that provides elevation to the upper torso, including the head and shoulders. Using a wedge pillow can help maintain a slight incline, reducing acid reflux symptoms without elevating the entire bed.

Tips for Using Wedge Pillows:

  • Choose a high-quality wedge pillow with firm support.
  • Place the wedge pillow under your upper back and head, ensuring a gradual incline.
  • Experiment with different angles to find the most comfortable position.

DIY Inclined Bed:

If you prefer a DIY approach, you can create an inclined bed by using sturdy materials such as bricks, blocks, or wooden boards. The goal is to elevate the head end of the bed while keeping the rest of the bed level.

Steps to Create a DIY Inclined Bed:

  • Gather sturdy materials that can support the weight of the bed and occupants.
  • Place the materials under the legs or frame of the bed to achieve a gradual incline.
  • Test the stability of the inclined bed before use.

Additional Tips for Managing Acid Reflux at Night

Avoid Heavy Meals Before Bed: Consuming large meals or spicy, acidic foods close to bedtime can trigger acid reflux. Aim to have dinner at least 2-3 hours before lying down.

Use Gravity to Your Advantage: Besides elevating the bed, try to sleep on your left side. This position can help keep the stomach below the esophagus, reducing the likelihood of acid reflux.

Stay Hydrated with Water: While avoiding large amounts of fluids before bed is recommended, staying hydrated throughout the day with water can help prevent acid reflux symptoms.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, can put pressure on the stomach and worsen acid reflux. Incorporate regular exercise and a balanced diet to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Consult Your Healthcare Provider: If you experience frequent or severe acid reflux symptoms, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider. They can diagnose underlying causes and recommend appropriate treatments or medications.


Elevating a bed for acid reflux can significantly improve sleep quality and reduce the discomfort associated with GERD symptoms. Whether using bed risers, adjustable bed frames, wedge pillows, or a DIY inclined bed, finding the right elevation angle is key to effective symptom management.

Combine elevation techniques with lifestyle adjustments and medical guidance for comprehensive acid reflux management. Individuals with acid reflux can experience better sleep and overall well-being by taking proactive steps.

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