Does Sleeping in Recliner Help Acid Reflux?

Robert Bernal
Robert Bernal
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Last updated: September 02, 2023
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Have you ever experienced a strong and uncomfortable burning in your chest when you go to bed? Well, you could most possibly suffer from acid reflux. Acid reflux is a common disease that manifests itself in the form of heartburn and abdominal discomfort, affecting the quality of the sufferer’s sleep.

Improving sleep quality for people who experience acid reflux requires certain changes in not just their eating habits and routine but also in their sleeping position. So, this often begs the question, does sleeping in a recliner help acid reflux? To answer the question briefly, yes, it does!

You can learn about the physiological reasons as to how sleeping in a recliner helps with acid reflux, how to do it properly, and the benefits of sleeping in a recliner by reading the detailed article below.

What Is Acid Reflux?

Does Sleeping in Recliner Help Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux Trusted Source Acid Reflux Disease Symptoms, Causes, Tests, and Treatments WebMD provides an overview of acid reflux disease, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatments, and helpful diet and lifestyle tips.  is a stomach abnormality known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in medical terms. The muscle at the entrance of your stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter, is supposed to close as soon as the food passes. When this muscle fails to close all the way due to hiatal hernia or other reasons, it causes stomach acid to move up to your esophagus and cause a burning sensation in your chest.

Occasional heartburn and chest discomfort can be caused by eating certain foods, drinking carbonated drinks, eating a heavy meal before bed, or obesity. However, if the symptoms of acid reflux become a common occurrence, you most probably suffer from GERD.

The most common symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn, chest and abdominal pain, and  regurgitation Trusted Source Regurgitation: Causes and Treatments in Babies and Adults Regurgitation is pretty common in infants. It also occurs in adults with acid reflux, GERD, and other conditions. . However, other symptoms can include bloating, nausea, burping, and hiccups. These symptoms can be most common during nighttime and after dinner, which means that they will considerably impact your sleep quality adversely.

Does Sleeping in a Recliner Have any Benefits?

Does Sleeping in Recliner Help Acid Reflux?Sleeping in a recliner allows you to maintain a posture that keeps your trunk upright and helps in keeping your airways open, which can have several benefits for a number of medical and physical conditions. Let’s consider all the situations when sleeping in a recliner can be beneficial.

Beneficial for Alleviating Symptoms of Acid Reflux

The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle is a valve that serves as a gateway between your esophagus and your stomach. When the LES doesn’t close completely, stomach acid comes back up into the esophagus, which manifests in the form of chest burn, a common symptom of acid reflux.

When you are upright, gravity keeps your stomach contents down. However when you lay down, stomach acids can come back up, and the open LES lets them into your esophagus. Therefore, sleeping in a recliner is better for acid reflux because the slightly upright position of your spine helps in keeping the acid down, thereby alleviating symptoms such as heartburn.

Studies on nocturnal acid reflux have shown that 65 percent of the participants experience a decrease in acid reflux symptoms when sleeping with their heads elevated by 20cm.

Beneficial for Alleviating Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder, with the most common type being obstructive sleep apnea, whereby throat muscles relax during sleep, causing your airways to block. This causes snoring during sleep that results in restlessness and sleep disruptions, like night awakenings.

Sleep apnea can disrupt daily routine and function due to a lack of proper rest and poor quality of sleep. Sleep apnea also causes symptoms of GERD because the pressure on your chest results in acid reflux.

Sleeping in an elevated position considerably reduces symptoms of sleep apnea because it keeps your airways open. Studies have shown that sleeping at a 30-degree to 60-degree elevation helps with sleep apnea, a position that can be accurately achieved by sleeping in a recliner.

Comfort during Pregnancy

Does Sleeping in Recliner Help Acid Reflux?It is a commonly understood fact that pregnant women require more rest and a night of good sleep to help their bodies nourish the baby growing inside. However, pregnancy is also a time of great discomfort due to hormonal and other bodily changes. These hormonal changes can be difficult to get accustomed to, especially when they can potentially cause conditions like GERD, sleep apnea, and frequent backaches.

Gynecologists recommend against sleeping on one’s back during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, because the weight of the fetus can compress the inferior vena cava and cause serious blood pressure and heart complication.

Compression of the inferior vena cava can also restrict blood circulation to the fetus. Sleeping on your side is the ideal sleeping position during pregnancy, and this can be most comfortable in a recliner. Sleeping in a recliner allows pregnant women to get a good quality sleep that ensures the healthy growth of the fetus and reduces fatigue in pregnant mothers.

Relief from Back Aches

Sleeping in an awkward position or the wrong mattress can cause frequent backaches. Once these pains settle in, they cause further sleep disruptions due to the constant discomfort.

Sleeping in a recliner has proven useful in relieving backaches for many people. Back pain can cause difficulty in getting up and out of bed due to the painful pressure on the sufferer’s spine. This is because it allows an optimal spinal position for the back and also allows ease of getting up.

Sleeping in a recliner with a support pillow can be very beneficial for your spinal health and reduce back pains.

Beneficial for Post-Surgery

People often find it uncomfortable to sleep during the night after surgery. Getting out of bed is another challenge because the pressure on one’s back is felt more severely after surgery.

Sleeping in a recliner provides a comfortable and less stressful sleeping position that ensures your back remains upright during the night and makes it easier to stand up from a lying position. All you need is a back support pillow for sleeping in a recliner after surgery.

What about Side Effects?

We are all for sleeping in a recliner. However, doing it incorrectly can cause complications that one should be aware of. Sleeping in a recliner is not the best option for people with certain health conditions, so make sure you don’t have the following problems before you start sleeping in a recliner every night.

Breathing Issues

Sleeping in an awkward position, like with a hunched over the back, results in the blockage of airways to your lungs. Sleeping in a reclined position every night can also cause blood congestion, limiting the amount of oxygen that reaches the lungs.

People who have lung complications must consult their physician before sleeping in a recliner.

Joint Problems

Sleeping in a recliner means that your knees will be bent throughout the time you sleep. Prolonged episodes of sleeping in this position can cause tight hips, calves, and hamstrings. Stiffness in these areas results in a bad posture due to constant discomfort, increasing your risk of physical instability.

Does Sleeping in Recliner Help Acid Reflux?Deep Vein Thrombosis

Sleeping with your legs hanging and bent joints can increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). This condition is a type of blood clotting in the deep veins that can take serious and life-threatening forms. You can consider wearing compression socks to reduce the development of blood clots.

Impaired Blood Circulation

The functioning of your blood vessels in the lower body can be impaired if the knees are bent for long periods, such as the entire night. This restricts the blood flow to the arteries behind your knees, causing knee problems. Sleeping in a recliner with your knees bent can cause this issue; therefore, you must ensure your legs are straight when you sleep in a recliner.

How to Sleep in a Recliner Properly?

When sleeping in a recliner, make sure you follow the tips provided below to ensure a well-rested sleep and avoidance of any negative side effects.

Does Sleeping in Recliner Help Acid Reflux?A Position that Keeps Your Spine Neutral

People often tend to hunch when sleeping in a recliner, which can have side effects. Make sure you sleep with your back straight and spine at a natural curve to have minimal spinal strain and healthy sleep.

Weight Distribution

When you sleep on your back, your body weight distributes to a larger surface area. This position is optimal since it prevents bedsores and maintains the natural curve of your spine.

Lower Back Strain

Sleeping in a reclined sitting position can cause strain on your lower back and hips. This will lead to frequent neck stiffness and lower backaches. Make sure the recline is set at a proper angle to avoid this issue.

Sleep on Your Left Side

Sleeping on your left side is best for your spinal posture and for reducing symptoms of acid reflux. This position keeps your stomach contents below the esophagus, alleviating symptoms of acid reflux.

Get a Recliner for Sleeping

Make sure that the recliner you have is suitable for sleeping. Some chairs are not wide enough to support your body properly when sleeping. You can buy some excellent recliners for sleeping that will allow a healthy and well-rested sleep.

Neck and Head Support

The head needs adequate support in order to provide comfort during the night. You can use a pillow for your head or get a headrest pillow for a recliner. You can consider buying the Neck Pillow Headrest Support Cushion for better head support during the night.

Final Thoughts

Sleeping in a recliner can considerably improve your sleep quality, body posture and help with acid reflux, given that you sleep in the correct position. There are several benefits of sleeping in a recliner. However, you must be careful of the side effects that can be caused by an improper posture.

Sleeping in a recliner can help with acid reflux, helping you improve not only your sleep but also your daily routine by getting the well-deserved rest your body requires.

The best thing here is that sleeping in recliners help acid reflux so that you can finally have a good night’s sleep. They come with some great features. If you suffer from a sore body and muscles, you can choose from some of the best massage recliners that will retort this issue.

If you are looking for a new recliner to sleep in, you can consider the Mcombo Electric Power Lift Recliner Chair Sofa, which is also suitable for the elderly. We hope you found this article useful. Feel free to share your sleeping in a recliner experience with us!


Acid Reflux Disease Symptoms, Causes, Tests, and Treatments
WebMD provides an overview of acid reflux disease, including symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatments, and helpful diet and lifestyle tips.
Regurgitation: Causes and Treatments in Babies and Adults
Regurgitation is pretty common in infants. It also occurs in adults with acid reflux, GERD, and other conditions.
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