Does Sleeping In A Recliner Help Acid Reflux?

Have you ever felt an unsettling burning sensation in your chest when you are trying to sleep in your bed at night? It starts from the chest and goes all the way up to your neck, making you want to puke. If you are familiar with such a feeling, you have a GERD condition, commonly known as an acid reflux problem. Anyone with this problem finds it difficult to fall asleep because all they feel is agitation due to acid reflux.

There are many solutions that help you deal with acid reflux or GERD problem. One of the most sought potential solutions is sleeping in a recliner chair. And so, the question arises, does sleeping in a recliner help acid reflux? If you have the same question in mind, then please keep reading.

But before we can answer this question in detail, it is important for you to understand what acid reflux is, what its symptoms are, and what sleeping positions can help you deal with it.

Please note that all content in this article is for informational purposes only and does not undermine a professional’s / doctor’s opinion on the medical problem. It is recommended that you get professional medical advice as soon as possible to help you deal with acid reflux or GERD condition.

What is GERD or Acid Reflux?

The most important thing to understand is what acid reflux exactly is. Acid reflux occurs when the contents of your stomach are forcibly pushed back up to the esophagus, causing problems like stomach pain, burping, heartburn, and vomiting. In medical terms, it is when a muscle called the sphincter muscle situated at the lower end of your esophagus becomes relaxed at the wrong time, causing all the acid in your stomach to flow up to your esophagus. The term GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Acid reflux is a commonly found condition in many people across the world. Regardless of their age or gender, any person can develop the condition and its symptoms, but people after the age of 40 are more at risk of developing it. Although it is not a life-threatening condition, it should not be left untreated as it can develop more serious complications.

What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

Acid reflux has a number of symptoms that can show when you are trying to sleep. Not all these symptoms show simultaneously, and they can differ for different people. Some of the common symptoms of acid reflux or GERD include:

  • Heartburn: a burning pain or sensation that moves from your stomach up to your chest or throat
  • Bitter/Sour Acid taste backing up into your throat: This taste is due to the liquid regurgitation, or the acids in your stomach moving at the back of your mouth
  • Excessive burping: frequent burping with small intervals

Some other GERD symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Black or bloody stools
  • Dry cough or wheezing
  • Difficulty in swallowing or breathing
  • The feeling of having food stuck in your throat

Now that you understand acid reflux or the GERD condition, you need to know its causes and solutions.

What causes GERD or Acid Reflux?

There are a number of causes of acid reflux or GERD. A common cause of this condition is Hiatal Hernia, a stomach abnormality that causes the upper part of the stomach to move your diaphragm. Another cause of the medical problem is when the lower esophageal sphincter has trouble tightening or closing correctly. The diaphragm is responsible for keeping the acids in your stomach, but if you have this stomach abnormality, the acid can move from your stomach up to your esophagus. Some other causes of acid reflux include:

  • Eating close to the time of going to bed
  • Eating a big or heavy meal while lying down
  • Eating citrusy foods on an empty stomach
  • Drinking alcohol, coffee, soda, or tea
  • Smoking

Now that you understand what acid reflux or GERD is, its symptoms, and what causes the condition to develop, it is time to answer the question you have been waiting for the most. Does sleeping in a recliner help acid reflux? Let us find out!

How sleeping in a recliner helps acid reflux

The first thing to keep in mind is that no opinion or statement is more important than a proper diagnosis and a recommendation from your doctor. If you fear you are suffering from GERD, you should contact a doctor as soon as possible.

Now that we are on the same page, the answer to your question is yes, sleeping in a recliner does help with acid reflux. Apart from acid reflux, sleeping in a recliner is known to solve many other health problems, including sleep apnea and body pains.

But how does sleeping in a recliner help with acid reflux? The answer to that is quite simple. When sitting upright in a slightly elevated position, gravity helps keep the stomach contents from flowing up. When you are lying on your recliner with a slightly reclined position, the acid in your stomach can not come up to your esophagus, reducing the symptoms such as heartburn, excessive burping, or vomiting.

Therefore, acid reflux is not a huge problem when you are standing up, but the problem starts to creep in as soon as you lie down horizontally in your bed. The lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, allows the acid from the stomach to escape into the esophagus when not functioning properly.

What is the best position to sleep in with acid reflux?

Doctors recommend certain sleeping positions to people suffering from acid reflux. What are these sleeping positions? Let us find out. According to various studies, sleeping on your left side with a slight recline is the best position to sleep in if you suffer from GERD conditions or acid reflux. Sleeping on your left side with a slight recline has shown better results than sleeping on your right side with a slight recline. This recommended position helps fight all acid reflux symptoms.

If you are wondering how sleeping on your left side with a slight recline helps reduce acid reflux symptoms, we will explain that to you in detail. When you sleep on your regular bed in a horizontal position, the contents of your stomach can easily flow into your esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn, nausea, and vomiting, making it difficult for you to fall asleep. The recline will help keep your head up, and due to gravity, the content will not flow into your esophagus.

If you are thinking of buying a recliner to cater to your GERD or acid reflux problem, ensure that you are buying the right type of recliner. Having so many options to choose from can seem overwhelming at first, but with the right research and questions from manufacturers and retailers, you will find your ideal recliner.

Get into the ideal position to sleep

Once you decide what recliner you want to buy, ensure that you are sleeping in the right position. Although sleeping in a recliner is good for acid reflux, it can cause other health issues like back pain due to spinal strain or neck stiffness if you do not sleep in the correct position.

Make sure you are sleeping with your back straight to ensure proper weight distribution. The recliner should be reclined at a proper angle to avoid a stiff neck. It should not be reclined too low or too high. With the ideal angle of reclination, your stomach’s contents will not overflow into your esophagus.

Does sitting in an upright recliner help acid reflux?

The answer to this question is a bit complicated, as there are a variety of factors that can contribute to acid reflux. However, in general, sitting in an upright recliner may help reduce acid reflux symptoms by keeping the stomach acids from flowing back into the esophagus.

Additionally, it’s important to avoid trigger foods and beverages, as well as eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day to help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.

Other Benefits of Sleeping In a Recliner

Sleeping in a recliner may offer other health benefits besides relieving acid reflux.

  • Alleviate Back Pain. If you suffer from back pain, sleeping in a recliner may help to alleviate some of the discomforts. A recliner can take the pressure off your lower back and improve your overall sleep quality by elevating your upper body and keeping your spine in alignment.
  • Reduce Snoring. If you or your partner snores, sleeping in a recliner may help reduce the noise. By keeping your head elevated, you can open up your airway, allowing you to breathe more easily and reducing the chances of snoring.
  • Post-surgery Recovery. After surgery, it’s often recommended that patients sleep in a recliner to help with the recovery process. By keeping your body elevated, you can reduce swelling and minimize pain. Plus, sleeping in a recliner can help prevent complications such as pneumonia by making coughing and clearing your lungs easier.
  • Help Sleep Apnea. If you suffer from sleep apnea, sleeping in a recliner may help to improve your condition. By keeping your head and torso elevated, you can open up your airway and reduce the risk of interrupted breathing during the night. Generally, some people find that sleeping in a recliner is more comfortable than lying flat on their back.

Frequently asked questions

Are there any other benefits of sleeping in a recliner?

Some benefits of sleeping in a recliner include relaxation of core muscles, healing of muscles, improved blood circulation, reduced back pain, and easier breathing.

Are there any side effects of sleeping in a recliner?

Sometimes sleeping in a recliner for a prolonged time may result in side effects including joint stiffness, deep vein thrombosis, stiff neck, loss of balance, and swelling in the legs.

Is it safe for my children to sleep in my recliner?

Recliners are best suited for people who are bigger in size compared to children. If your child is really young, it is not safe for him or her to sleep in a recliner since younger children have poor head control. Children can also fall off the recliner, resulting in accidents like fractures or concussions. It is recommended that you supervise your children when they are using the recliner to ensure that they do not fall asleep or jump on the recliner as it can cause damage to the recliner parts.

Can GERD problems cause blood to come in my vomit?

If your GERD symptoms are becoming worse, then it is possible that you can see small amounts of blood in your vomit or stool. If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to call your emergency healthcare provider as soon as possible. If you have large amounts of blood in your vomit or stool, then this is a severe symptom, and you need to go to your nearest emergency room.

Can acid reflux give me a migraine?

According to various studies, acid reflux and migraines or headaches can happen together. If you are experiencing migraine along with acid reflux, you should see a doctor who will give you the best medicines to deal with the problem.


Sleeping is the only time when your body relaxes and heals at the same time. It is important to get a good night’s sleep without any interruptions or disturbances. GERD or acid reflux problems can keep you from getting a comfortable night’s sleep, causing you to feel sick and preventing you from falling asleep.

The first thing you need to do is get an appointment with a doctor who will examine the problems you are facing and recommend medicines to help you deal with your issue. If you are thinking of buying a recliner for a better sleeping experience after following your doctor’s instructions, then you should go for it! Recliners can help keep the acid in your stomach from entering your esophagus, preventing symptoms like heartburn, a bitter taste in the back of your mouth, and nausea.

Last updated: 8/10/2022

About Karen Miller

Hello! I'm Karen Miller, an interior designer from Chicago with a passion for creating beautiful and functional spaces. After leading designer at Chicago Interior LLC in 2010-2020, I started to share my expertise on home comfort. I'm excited to help you transform your home into a place of comfort and joy. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

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