Sleeping with acid reflux

Acid reflux, also referred to as heartburn, is no stranger to most of us and is something many people live with daily. Four out of five people who suffer with regular heartburn are also affected during the night time.

As we wind down and prepare our bodies for sleep, there are many factors contributing to the quality of sleep we'll receive. However, sleeping with acid reflux can cause pain, discomfort and ultimately fatigue.

We all know the importance of getting some decent shut eye, so Rennie are laying down some facts and tips to ensure you get quality sleep, even with acid reflux.


The benefits of getting a good night’s sleep are endless. Alongside the emotional satisfaction of a great sleep, the physical and mental benefits are what really count.

Sleep assists:

  • Immune function: Helping you avoid common colds and illnesses
  • Physical health: Repairing sore muscles and recovering other ailments
  • Memory: Giving you the power to retain information
  • Concentration: Allowing you to function and focus throughout the day
  • Metabolism: Boosting your gastrointestinal system and supporting digestion
  • De-stressing: Calming and relaxing your body and helping to limit stress

Humans require sleep to function properly, so when acid reflux strikes we need ways to fight the restless nights.



It’s advisable to sleep on your left side. Sleeping on the right has been found to relax the connecting muscles between the stomach and the oesophagus. When these muscles are contracting they help to control the process of acid reflux.


Try to avoid sleeping on your front. This can put pressure on your stomach which pushes acid upwards to cause heartburn. This is more likely to happen if you are overweight or obese, but you should try other positions to see what’s best for you, regardless of your weight.


When lying in bed, raising your head and shoulders a few inches can stop acid rising towards your chest and causing heartburn. A wedge shaped pillow or a few blocks that elevate the whole upper body can work wonders when you’re trying to sleep with acid reflux.


  • Don’t eat just before bed – try to wait at least three hours before settling down
  • Eat small meals regularly to aid digestion – this will prevent your digestive system being overwhelmed
  • Acid reflux remedies – try caffeine-free herbal teas that soothe digestion. There are many sleep-specific teas that can ease your acid reflux
  • Wear comfortable clothes in bed – tight clothing can add to pressure in the body, stopping regular function and causing pain that is heightened by acid reflux
  • Don’t smoke – as well as supporting poor health, smoking can make sleeping with heartburn worse by relaxing the muscles that keep acid in the stomach
  • Relax and de-stress – stress leads to contracted and tense muscles which in turn disrupt regular bodily functions. Try meditation or time out before bed so you can release tension and slumber peacefully

Acid reflux is a common problem but trying to sleep with heartburn can be even more distressing. Try these tips to ease your symptoms and if the pain doesn’t subside see your doctor for further advice.