Does Sleeping in Recliner Help Acid Reflux?

Do you have ever had a heartburn feeling? This uncomfortable feeling could interrupt your sleep from time to time. In most cases, acid reflux is the culprit of this syndrome.

To make yourself sleep better, you are always looking for ways to treat acid reflux, and one question many people will ask is, “does sleeping in a recliner help acid reflux?”

Yes, sleeping in a recliner does help to reduce the chances of acid reflux. This article will dive into this subject to help you understand why and how to sleep in a recliner for acid reflux.

What is acid reflux?

what is acid reflux

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, about 15 million Americans experience burning pain of acid indigestion daily.

If you are one of them, you are likely to have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and the main cause of this disease is acid reflux.

There is a muscle ring called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Typically, after the food passes, it will close to prevent content in the stomach go back to the esophagus. Sometimes, this muscle can’t work correctly, causing the stomach acid to travel back up the esophagus, and we call it acid reflux.

Acid reflux could result in heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, and other symptoms. If it is untreated, it will cause more health complications.

Acid reflux often happens when we sleep in bed. These discomforts make us wake up feeling exhausted and groggy.

What causes acid reflux?

There are an array of factors that may cause acid reflux. We will enumerate below:

Eat a heavy meal

Large meals can expand your stomach and increase the upward pressure against the LES, causing it can’t close properly. 

You’d better eat small meals a few times a day and not lay down just after the meals.

Foods and drinks 

Some foods and drinks tend to cause acid reflux easier. These often include carbonated beverages, spicy foods, oranges, and so on. The situations for each person varies. You can take notes and avoid these foods in your daily life.


Obesity seems to affect our health in a few ways negatively. The fat around your middle increases the pressure to the stomach and pushes the content and the acid back to the esophagus. Obesity also increases circulating estrogen, which is associated with acid reflux to some extent. 

Hiatal hernia

Hiatal hernia happens when the upper part of your stomach bulges through the diaphragm. It is a common problem for seniors and bariatric people. 

A large hiatal hernia could cause acid reflux and lead to heartburn. Usually, some medication could help to relieve the symptoms. 


A plethora of discomforts you may go through during pregnancy, and one of them is acid reflux. Our hormone levels change when our baby grows in our body, causing LES to become relaxed. Then the acid could pump up to the esophagus easier. Many people choose to sleep in a recliner while pregnant to get relief from these pains.


The nicotine from tobacco makes the LES relax, which causes the acid to go back to the esophagus.  Nevertheless, quitting smoking is quite hard. You should make your mind, have a support group, or even take some medicine. You should consult with the specialist to get a plan.

Best positions to sleep with acid reflux

sleep with acid reflux

Is there any way to alleviate acid reflux? Yes, there are a few. Sometimes, you will feel much better by changing your sleeping position.

Thanks to gravity, acid reflux doesn’t often happen when we stand up or sit upright. The gravity keeps the content of the stomach down, so the acid can’t go upward. However, when we sleep on our back, our stomach lines up with the esophagus, limiting the effect of gravity. 

Another reason why acid reflux gets worse at night is due to the decrease of saliva secretion. Saliva works to neutralize acid and swallow acid back to the stomach. 

The best position to sleep with acid reflux is sleeping on the left side. When we sit upright, our stomach is located on the lower left of the esophagus. When we rest on the left side, the stomach will stay below the esophagus, and the acid can turn back to the stomach quicker. 

Another good sleep position to relieve acid reflux is sleeping at an incline which is also called elevation therapy. When you sleep with your head and torso raised, the gravity will keep the content of the stomach down and make the acid back to the stomach faster.

This explains why sleeping in a recliner is so popular among people who suffer from acid reflux because you can get these two best positions while sleeping in it.

How to sleep in a recliner for acid reflux?

As we said, sleeping in a recliner can ensure you have a good position for treating acid reflux. But there are a few things to consider while sleeping in it.

If you have a relatively wide recliner, you can try sleeping on the left side with a slight incline. If your recliner is relatively small, sleeping at an incline will also help you to reduce acid reflux. 

While sleeping in an upright position works effectively on reducing acid reflux, it will lead to uncomfortable experiences and other health conditions. 

Therefore you can choose to sleep at a larger angle so that you can treat acid reflux without sacrificing your comfort.

Outside of that, remember to get some blankets to keep your body warm and do stretching exercises to prevent joint stiffness.

You can check other pros and cons of sleeping in a recliner here.

Other ways to prevent acid reflux

Except for sleeping in a recliner, there are a few solutions to deal with acid reflux at night.

For those who don’t have a recliner at home, you could opt for buying a wedge pillow so that you can sleep with an elevated torso. This pillow also works for side sleepers.

Don’t eat large meals at night plays a role too. Too much content in the stomach could cause reflux at night easily. You should also avoid some specific foods and drinks.

For people with obesity, losing weight could help them to fight acid reflux. We know it is hard but it is something you need to do.


People who suffer from acid reflux are all over the world. The heartburn feeling could heavily affect your sleep quality.

Sleeping in a recliner can help acid reflux since it could help you to sleep at an incline or rest on the left side. These positions are proved to prevent acid reflux or make the acid back to the stomach faster. 

Remember to talk to your doctor before sleeping in a recliner. 

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Rachelle is the founder of Best Chair Finder. She is a fanatic of home improvement, and as an engineer, she knows well about each chair's mechanism. You can find her story on the About page.