What are the pros, cons, and the differences between a mattress wedge, bed wedge, and under mattress Wedge for Acid Reflux?
So you just left your doctor who told you that you either have Acid Reflux, GERD, Barrett Esophagus, or G-d forbid esophageal cancer.
Your head is spinning. He said you can’t eat fats, chocolate, mints, drink soda or other carbonated drinks, acidic foods, don’t overeat, eat small meals, don’t lay down for at least 3 hours after eating, lift the head of your bed, etc.
You walk out with all the literature and ask yourself, huh? Did (s)he say, this or that? Wow, this is information overload, why didn’t (s)he just tell me what I could eat?
It’s important to understand what is Acid Reflux. According to Webster’s, Reflux means a backward flow of the contents of the stomach into the esophagus that causes heartburn.
The key is keeping the acid and stomach content in the stomach where it belongs. You could learn more on the specifics in an article; I wrote “The Mechanics of Acid Reflux.”
We could address this problem many ways, and in combinations, by first understanding the various forces. There are three forces we will categorize, upward, downward and the force the Sphincter valve applies that assists the downward forces.
Note: The sphincter valve is the valve that’s on top of the stomach, that opens to let food and drinks come in, and closes to keep acid and stomach content in the stomach where it belongs during the stomach’s digestive cycle.
The upward forces that cause acid Reflux, such as;
- Bending over especially with a distended belly
- Lying down on a full stomach
- Sleep apnea. Stick around to the end where I address this huge little-known issue and it’s important to understand.
- Pressures are coming from the inside of the stomach, such as;
a. Carbonated drinks
b. Foods and combination of foods and liquids that build up gas.
The downward forces that mitigate Acid Reflux, such as;
- A weak valve makes it difficult to hold the food down. As discussed above, the valve assists the downward pressure.
The key is to have more downward pressure than upward pressure. The question is simple; the answer is more complicated since taking consistent action is the hardest with the exception of utilizing an under mattress wedge – you don’t need to think about it much once you simply placed under your mattress.
You could go on a diet, stay away from the foods you love, eat slower, eat less, be hungry. What is easy about that till you actually break life-long habits? Unfortunately nothing!
Now the definition of a mattress wedge, bed wedge, and an under mattress wedge.
- Mattress Wedge has two definitions:
A mattress wedge is a wedge that fills the gap between the top of the mattress and the headboard. We won’t be discussing this because it has nothing to do with acid reflux or inclining the bed.
- A mattress wedge is placed under the mattress to lift the bed to a medically recommended angle having a height of 4″ – 8.”
- Tilting the entire sleeping surface means you are not sleeping on uncomfortable foam, which isn’t designed for sleeping on night after night.
- By inclining your mattress, it’s a stable-sleeping surface.
- If the bed has to be moved, you don’t need to disassemble the entire bed.
- A Reflux Guard© comes with a 10-year warranty. You buy it once and don’t even need to think about replacing it.
- Due to its size, it cost more than a bed wedge. The good news is it doesn’t need to be replaced as often; making it less expensive, in the long run, then a bed wedge.
- Again, due to the larger size, it cost more to ship. To mitigate this cost Reflux Guard© has a flat shipping model and we pick up the extra cost.
Bed wedge definition:
- A short narrow wedge that goes on top of the bed.
- It’s a less expensive in the short run only.
- It does lift the body to a medically recommended angle.
- It’s a bit easier to travel with because it’s smaller then a mattress wedge.
- It not as comfortable as a mattress
- It has a reduced sleeping area, leading to rolling off and knocking the bed wedge onto the floor.
- It limits sleeping positions, such as sleeping on the side and/or on the stomach.
- Due to directly sleeping on the wedge it needs to be maintained more such as replaced every year or so (till the discomfort get unbearable) or having to launder with the bed sheets.
- A bed wedge is best for back sleeping only, which increases the incidences of snoring. Snoring tends to promote Acid Reflux. Keep reading until the end where I discuss sleep apnea, which also relates to snoring.
Under mattress wedge or under mattress bed wedge:
- A wedge that goes under the mattress to lift the bed on to a medically recommended angle that has a height of 4″ – 8.”
- We don’t need pros and cons for this because an under mattress wedge is the same as #2 mattress wedge described above, therefore, the same pros and cons.
The questions become which of the above wedges is best for you?
- Which is most comfortable for sleeping?
- Which lasts the longest and, therefore, cost less?
- Which is the easiest to maintain?
As you can see why keeping downward pressure, by using gravity, is universally prescribed by the medical industry. In fact, every piece of literature I have seen for medication recommends lifting the head of the bed. Doctors do tell, just about all, their patients to raise the head of the bed. Reason being, studies show that using gravity reduces incidences of acid reflux, if not completely eliminates it.
Now for that bonus information that I had promised.
Does Sleep Apnea help or hinder Acid Reflux?
According to Dr. Steven Park, the Author of “Sleep Interrupted” snoring can have the esophagus behave like a straw and the upward vacuum pressure can suck out stomach content, all the more so with sleep apnea.
I recommended Dr. Parks book, which I believe should be required reading for every human being who wants to stay healthy. I recommended the book to Mrs. Goldberg, and you could read her story.
As you can see, there is a battle between upward and downward pressure. The are many things in our lives that contribute to that struggle, from snoring, eating the right foods, to sitting up, lying down, stress, etc. The key is to assist the sphincter valve from allowing acid and stomach content from passing in the wrong direction.
Keep in mind in all your activity both short and long term habits, such as being overweight to eating food that will rebel in your stomach an hour or two later adds upward pressure. And oh boy the pain and discomfort begin. Consider a Reflux Guard© as your added insurance for all your mistakes. We aren’t perfect and do tend to eat the wrong foods from time to time, or we make other errors. Like the All-State Insurance’s saying goes “you are in good hands.” Reflux Guard© is better, we strive to steer you clear of acid reflux.
Reflux Guard© the most versatile mattress wedge on the market, which is adjustable, lifts the head of the bed. Dr. Park further states in his book that those that sleep on their back tend to snore more.
Finally, Dr. Park says lifting the head of the bed keeps the tongue from falling back, thereby closing off breathing, which promote snoring. A Reflux Guard© can assist in keeping someone from snoring. Reflux Guard© can help with other drainage issues such as sinus and puffiness in the face.