Relief for Sufferers of GERD and Acid Reflux While Sleeping

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a very common ailment affecting millions of people worldwide. GERD is known by many names, including Esophagitis, reflux, acid reflux, even (incorrectly) hiatal hernia. Gastroesophageal reflux is the term used to describe a backflow of acid from the stomach into the swallowing tube or esophagus.

Mattress Genie Bed Lifts for Gerd and Acid Reflux are available at

Experts agree: Raising your upper mattress 6-9″ helps alleviate many of the symptoms of GERD, acid reflux and heartburn*4

The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn. Along with heartburn, other symptoms include pain swallowing, chest pain, coughing, sore throat, hoarseness, asthma, aspiration pneumonia, even tooth enamel decay, gingivitis and halitosis.

Treatments of GERD include over-the-counter medications like antacids and prescription strength medications. Heartburn and other symptoms associated with GERD may be mild to severe. If you experience severe discomfort or heartburn several times a week, you should consult a physician.

There are several lifestyle recommendations you can make to help ease the discomfort of GERD and acid reflux:

  • Control your weight / Lose weight if overweight
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Avoid reclining or lying down directly after a meal
  • Eliminate certain foods or food types that may trigger heartburn
  • Don’t smoke
  • Raise the head of your mattress 6-9 inches. Experts recommend elevating the bed by inserting a wedge between the mattress and box spring (raising your head with pillows is not a good alternative) (*source:

The Mattress Genie bed wedge, manufactured by Contour Living, provides a simple solution for raising your mattress and alleviating the pain and discomfort caused by GERD symptoms. With just the touch of a button, you can raise your bed to the angle that best suits your needs. You’ll love reading, watching TV, working or even eating in bed. The Mattress Genie comes with a remote control to raise and lower the mattress with a touch of a button.

The Mattress Genie bed wedge is designed to compliment existing treatments of GERD, heartburn and reflux, including drug therapies and any treatments prescribed by your doctor.

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Quick Facts about the Mattress Genie®:
Fully inflates in less than 1 minute – raising the head of your mattress up to 40° (approximately 26 inches).
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No exposed mechanical moving parts.
Simulates the movement of an adjustable bed, for many hundreds less!
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What Our Customers Are Saying: IGHT: bold”>Thank you so much for your wonderful invention! … I can read, eat, sleep or sit up to… I can read, eat, sleep or sit up to watch TV for hours ..” – Mrs. Lynne McGarity

“… my aunt is now able to get out of bed by herself! She is VERY happy with her Mattress Genie!” – Doris Skiba

“… I travel a lot … and have severe acid reflux … before I had to travel with a large wedge pillow … with your Mattress Genie … traveling [is] so much easier…Thanks again for coming up with the Mattress Genie!” – Gary Dolsey

What the Media is Saying:ress Genie Review at About Us
NBC Affiliate Channel 2 Salt Lake City – “Let Bill Buy It” Review of the Mattress Genie…Read Now/Watch Video
Featured on NBC’s Today Show (March 1, 2005)

Additional resources:
Read about the Mattress Genie at
Recommended diet: Jackson / Siegelbaum Gastroenterolgy
general GERD health information: STS Patient information

Sleep Apnea Syndromes – Snoring

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Seventeenth Edition

A group of disorders in which breathing during sleep stops for >= 10 sec, usually > 20 times/h, causing measurable blood deoxygenation.

Snoring (partially obstructed breathing during sleep) is very common and only rarely indicates sleep apnea. Snoring is three times more common in obese persons; it ranges from being an annoyance to indicating obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring may be worsened by alcoholic beverages, tranquilizers, hypnotics, and antihistamines. Heavy snorers should have a thorough examination of the nose, mouth, palate, throat, and neck.

For snoring, avoiding alcoholic beverages, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines before retiring; sleeping prone or on one’s side; or raising the head of the bed may help. Special anti snoring pillows are no more effective than regular pillows or raising the head of the bed. The various devices promoted to reduce snoring usually work well only in mild cases and do not relieve sleep apnea. Nasal infections and allergies should be treated. For heavy snoring, surgically correcting obstructive conditions in the nose, pharynx, or uvula (eg, by laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty) may be the only solution if treatment is needed.

Cervical positional effects on snoring and apneas.

Kushida CA, Rao S, Guilleminault C, Giraudo S, Hsieh J, Hyde P, Dement WC.

Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Center, Stanford, California, 94305, USA.

We examined the effects of cervical position on the Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) through the use of a custom-designed cervical pillow which promoted neck extension. Twelve subjects with OSAS were recruited from a tertiary sleep disorder clinic population. Of the twelve subjects, three had mild cases of OSAS, four had moderate cases, and the remaining five had severe cases. The subjects used their usual pillows during two consecutive recorded baseline nights in our laboratory. The subjects then used the cervical pillow for five days at home, and returned for two consecutive recorded nights at our laboratory while using the cervical pillow. During the nights in our laboratory, the subjects completed questionnaires, were videotaped to record head and body position, and had their breathing parameters recorded during sleep. Subjects with mild OSAS cases had a non-significant improvement in the severity of their snoring and a significant improvement in their respiratory disturbance index with the cervical pillow, while subjects with moderate OSAS cases showed no improvement in these parameters. Subjects with severe OSAS cases showed slight improvement in some measures of their abnormal respiratory events during the experimental period.

Sleep Res Online. 1999;2(1):7-10.

PMID: 11382876 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea: does head posture play a role?

Makofsky HW.

State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA.

The aim of this article is to present scientific and clinical evidence to support the role of proper head and neck posture in the management of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Obstruction of the upper-airway during sleep is a serious medical condition often associated with severe daytime somnolence, morning headache, and a host of cardiopulmonary complications, including but not limited to systemic and pulmonary hypertension, nocturnal cardiac dysrhythmias, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Though anti-snoring pillows are occasionally mentioned in the literature, the role of proper head-neck support during sleep has been largely neglected. In this article the effect of head-neck position on upper-airway obstruction during sleep is discussed from the perspective of both causation and treatment. Based on the evidence presented by the author, it is recommended that the use of cervical-support pillows be considered as an adjunctive treatment modality in patients suffering from snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

Cranio. 1997 Jan;15(1):68-73.

PMID: 9586490 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Esophageal Disorders

THE MERCK MANUAL, Sec. 3, Ch. 20, Esophageal Disorders

Treatment – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Management of uncomplicated GERD consists of (1) elevation of the head of the bed 6 inches; (2) avoidance of strong stimulants of acid secretion (eg, coffee, alcohol); (3) avoidance of certain drugs (eg, anticholinergics), specific foods (fats, chocolate), and smoking, all of which reduce lower esophageal sphincter competence; (4) use of an antacid 30 mL 1 h after meals and at bedtime to neutralize gastric acidity and possibly increase lower esophageal sphincter competence; (5) use of H2 blockers to reduce gastric acidity (sometimes with other drugs); and (6) use of cholinergic agonists (eg, bethanechol 25 mg po tid, metoclopramide 10 mg po 30 min before meals and at bedtime, or cisapride 10 mg qid–Caution: Risk of serious drug interactions with cisapride) to increase sphincter pressure. The hydrogen-potassium ATPase inhibitors omeprazole 20 mg/day for 4 to 8 wk or lansoprazole 30 mg/day for 4 to 8 wk are the most effective agents for rapid healing of peptic esophagitis. Omeprazole has been approved for long-term use to prevent the recurrence of erosive esophagitis.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease during pregnancy

Incidence and epidemiology

Heartburn is estimated to occur in 30% to 50% of pregnancies, with the incidence approaching 80% in some populations [1] . Uncommonly, it represents an exacerbation of preexisting disease. Usually, symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) begins during pregnancy and ceases soon after delivery [2] . Marchand [3] found that most women first experience reflux symptoms after 5 months of gestation; however, Castro [4] suggested that many women report the onset of symptoms only when they become very troublesome, long after the symptoms actually began. After detailed interviews of 60 patients, he noted that 52% first experienced heartburn in the first trimester of pregnancy, 24% in the second trimester, and 9% in the third trimester. Heartburn was more frequent and more severe in the latter months of gestation. Almost all the women had experienced heartburn during previous pregnancies that had improved rapidly after delivery. In a study of 607 pregnant women by Marrero and colleagues [5] , the prevalence and severity of heartburn also progressively increased during pregnancy; 22% complained of heartburn in the first trimester, 39% in the second trimester, and 72% in the third trimester.

Treatment during pregnancy

The challenge of treatment during pregnancy is the potential teratogenicity of common antireflux medications. For mild symptoms, lifestyle and dietary modifications may be all that are required. These modifications include avoiding eating late at night or before retiring to bed, raising the head of the bed by 6 inches, and avoiding foods and medications that cause heartburn. Abstinence from drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco is encouraged to reduce reflux symptoms and to avoid fetal exposure to these harmful substances.

Gastroenterology Clinics
Volume 32 • Number 1 • March 2003
Copyright © 2003 W. B. Saunders Company

Joel E. Richter, MD
E-mail address:
PII S0889-8553(02)00065-1
Center for Swallowing and Esophageal Disorders
Department of Gastroenterology/Hepatology

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
9500 Euclid Avenue A30
Cleveland, OH 44195, USA

Current approaches in the medical treatment of esophageal reflux

Drugs. 1981 Apr;21(4):283-91.

Richter JE, Castell DO.

Gastro-esophageal reflux and its complications are a common clinical management problem. Medical treatment revolves around the use of physical and mechanical methods in prevent reflux, dieting and drug restriction, acid reduction, mechanical foam barriers, and drugs to increase lower gastro-esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure and improve acid clearance. It is recommended that patients elevate the head of their bed at night, eliminate alcohol and smoking, and avoid food known to decrease LES pressure or irritate the esophageal mucosa. Antacids are effective in the control of reflux symptoms in most patients with mild to moderate reflux esophagitis. ‘Gaviscon’ is also effective but no better than antacids. The histamine H2 receptor blocker, cimetidine, alleviates symptoms and may also improve endoscopic and histological oesophagitis. Cimetidine and drugs which augment sphincter pressure (bethanechol, metoclopramide, domperidone and prostaglandins) may be helpful in treating patients with severe reflux oesophagitis.

PMID: 7014172 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Evaluation of elevation of the head of the bed, bethanechol, and antacid form tablets on gastroesophageal reflux

Dig Dis Sci. 1981 Aug;26(8):673-80.

Johnson LF, DeMeester TR.

To ascertain how elevation of the head of the bed, bethanechol, and antacid foam tablets affect gastroesophageal reflux, we used prolonged intraesophageal pH monitoring in 55 symptomatic patients. Acid exposure was separated into reflux frequency and esophageal acid clearance time and recorded during the day in the upright posture and recumbent at night. Values before and during each therapy were compared to physiologic reflux in 15 asymptomatic controls. Ten patients slept with the head of the bed elevated and had a 67% improvement in the acid clearance time (P less than 0.025); however, the frequency of reflux episodes remained unchanged. Twelve patients given 25 mg of bethanechol 4 times a day had a 50% decrease in recumbent acid exposure only (P less than 0.05), due to a trend towards decreased reflux episodes and acid clearance in time. Bethanechol combined with head of bed elevation in 19 other patients decreased both reflux frequency (30%) and acid clearance time (53%, all P less than 0.05). Antacid foam tablets failed to significantly diminish acid exposure. Nocturnal reflux responded the best to those therapies tested. Here is an excellent sleep improvement for acid reflux.

PMID: 7261830 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Heads up for the Common Cold

By Kelly Conklin

Its that time of year again when the sneezing, congestion, aches and pains keep you up at night! Chances are that you picked up your cold from touching objects that other people with a cold have touched such as books, towels, door handles, ATM machine buttons and pens at the post office or grocery store. Considering the fact that there are over one billion colds in the United States each year chances are pretty good that you will catch a cold sometime this year. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the four most common cold symptoms are nasal congestion, runny nose, scratchy throat and sneezing.

Some common sense solutions for helping to prevent catching someone elses cold may include wearing light weight gloves when out on the town so you are protected when going in and out of stores and looking at merchandise. There are now even smart gloves you can wear that will work with your iPhone touch screen! Other common sense solutions for helping prevent a cold are: wash your hands often and use an air dryer when possible, take vitamin D and or C supplements and get a little bit of daily exercise.

If its too late, and you have already caught a cold this year, read on for some great ideas to help alleviate your common cold symptoms. You may find relief from the following food items: Chicken Soup, Garlic, Ginger, Cranberries, Black or Green tea. Also, make sure you are drinking a lot of extra fluids and get extra rest each day!

Unfortunately, lying down to rest at night often makes your congestion worse! For a better nights rest and to help with the drainage of your nasal passages, you may want to consider using a bed wedge to raise your head while you sleep. Often stacking pillows do not work that well and end up all bunched up under your head or on the floor. The gradual slope of a bed wedge is a perfect solution for helping the natural flow of gravity move your bodily fluids away from your head and chest. Raising you head while you sleep will help keep your nasal passages and sinuses open, allowing you to breathe a little easier while you sleep. People who suffer from asthma, COPD, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and GERD often use a bed wedge every night to help alleviate their breathing problems.

If you just need a quick nap during the day then you may want to consider using an ergonomically designed cushion set that fits on your recliner or sofa which allows you to rest comfortably in an anti-gravity position; both your knees and head up. The anti- gravity position is also used as a natural way to help relieve lower back pain, improve your circulation, and help tension and stress on your back and throughout your entire body.

The sooner your body is well rested and relieved of the aches and pains that accompany the common cold the sooner you will start feeling like your self and back to enjoying life again!

Rationale and efficacy of conservative therapy for gastroesophageal reflux disease

Kitchin et al. Arch Internal Med (1991).

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux disease or in mild cases heartburn, is an increasingly common condition in the developed world, characterized by frequent regurgitations of stomach acid into the lower esophagus. GERD can often be caused by a hiatal hernia, a condition where part of the stomach slips above the diaphragm to contact the esophagus. If left untreated, damage caused by severe GERD can cause replacement of the normal cells lining the esophagus by other tissue types (a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus), eventually leading to an increased risk of esophageal cancer. While acid-suppressive medications can be used, their potential side effects and complications can be avoided through a variety of simpler treatment measures. This review article finds significant clinical evidence for the efficacy of lifestyle-based treatments for heartburn and GERD, including elevation of the head of the bed.

Sleeping on a wedge diminishes exposure of the esophagus to refluxed acid. Hamilton et al. Digestive Dis Sciences (1988).

Using continuous monitoring of pH (acidity) within the esophagus among several alternative positions at rest, this randomized clinical trial detected a significant decrease in the time that the esophagus was exposed to highly acid conditions when using a foam wedge to elevate the head, and also showed a decrease in the time necessary for the acid to be cleared. Interestingly, use of a wedge-shaped mechanism was significantly more effective than elevation through the use of standard bed blocks.

Davis C. Ryman

MD/PhD candidate, Case Western Reserve University

Lamb lab,Departments of Neuroscience and Genetics

Complete information on benefits of lifting and raising your upper bed and mattress. Medical Studies of bed lifts for GERD, Acid reflux, Sleep Apnea and more