Wedge pillows are designed to keep the torso elevated to prevent stomach acid from burning the esophageal lining during sleep. Most pillows on the market are elevated between 30 to 45 degrees, or 6 to 8 inches.
Using multiple pillows generally isn’t recommended to treat acid reflux or GERD. As time passes, they’ll lose their shape and firmness. Acid reflux pillows keep their firmness and are ergonomically designed.
How It Works
The way that acid reflux pillows work is simple. Acid can easily reflux out of the stomach and into the esophagus when a person sleeps lying on their back with a regular pillow.
A wedge pillow slightly elevates the head, shoulders, and torso. Gravity keeps the contents of the stomach from refluxing back into the esophagus. Wedge pillows can be used for either side-sleeping or back-sleeping without causing any tension on the head or neck.
Medslant is a 32-inch by 24-inch pillow that elevates the torso 7 inches. The incline allows the user to sleep on either their side or their back and can be used with or without a regular pillow. It’s made with 100 percent hypoallergenic polyurethane and comes with a washable travel cover. The Medslant can also be used in the crib for infants suffering from acid reflux.
Comfort Lift wedge pillows are designed for people with moderate to severe acid reflux. Three standard sizes—small, medium, and large—all work to elevate your torso 30 to 40 degrees.
The small pillow features an adjustable 2-inch height, and the medium and large sizes have a 3-inch height adjustment. The pillow is made with memory foam and has a 1-inch topper. Your size and weight will determine which pillow size works best for you.
Posthera also has another model, called the “Comfort Lift Pillow Supreme.” This model is designed for mild to moderate acid reflux sufferers and features “wings” for side-sleeping.
FinallyRelief sells three models of acid reflux wedge pillows. The Prop Up Pillow is made with memory foam and measures 30 inches by 28 inches by 9 inches. The Prop Up Pillow Deluxe has the same measurements and is also made with memory foam, but comes with additional pillows for cervical and lumbar support.
The third model is the Prop Up Pillow Ultimate, which is the same as the Deluxe but includes cases for all three pillows as well as an extra pillowcase. The standard and deluxe models come with a one-year guarantee, and the ultimate model comes with a five-year guarantee.
Risks and Side Effects
Unlike other treatments for acid reflux/GERD, there are no risks or side effects associated with wedge pillows. You may decide to try another pillow or stop using one completely without any negative side effects.
What the Experts Say
The Mayo Clinic advises that you insert a wedge between the mattress and box spring to elevate your body from the waist up if it’s not possible to elevate the head of your bed. Using additional pillows isn’t effective.