Associations Between Sleep Position and Nocturnal Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Study Using Concurrent Monitoring of Sleep Position and Esophageal pH and Impedance

Am J Gastroenterol. 2022 Feb 1;117(2):346-351. doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000001588.


Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of spontaneous sleep positions on the occurrence of nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux.

Methods: In patients referred for ambulatory pH-impedance reflux monitoring, the concurrent sleep position was measured using a sleep position measurement device (measuring left, right, supine, and prone positions).

Results: Fifty-seven patients were included. We observed a significantly shorter acid exposure time in the left (median 0.0%, P25-P75, 0.0%-3.0%), compared with the right lateral position (median 1.2%, 0.0%-7.5%, P = 0.022) and the supine position (median 0.6%, 0.00%-8.3%, P = 0.022). The esophageal acid clearance time was significantly shorter in the left lateral decubitus position (median 35 seconds, 16-115 seconds), compared with the supine (median 76 seconds, 22-257 seconds, P = 0.030) and right lateral positions (median 90 seconds, 26-250 seconds, P = 0.002).

Discussion: The left lateral decubitus position is associated with significantly shorter nocturnal esophageal acid exposure time and faster esophageal acid clearance compared with the supine and right lateral decubitus positions (see visual abstract).

MeSH terms

  • Electric Impedance
  • Esophageal pH Monitoring / methods
  • Esophagus / metabolism*
  • Esophagus / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / metabolism
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Sleep / physiology*