This is a personal blog article. I generally try to keep this to professional matters, but I would like to record this for those of us suffering from acid reflux. I've been dealing with it for over a decade now and mostly control it via mechanical means - sleeping on an incline. After a couple of hours sleeping flat, I get referred pain from my esophagus which feels like back pain. I try really hard to figure out how to sleep on an incline so I can get 6-8 hours of sleep instead of 2-3 hours of sleep and then 2-3 hours sitting up until the pain subsides, rinse, repeat.
I was camping last weekend, first time since I've started noticing my acid reflux. I generally suffer when away from home and try all sorts of tricks with setting the bed on blocks to create an incline, build a mound of pillows, or sleep in a recliner. I wasn't looking forward to sleeping on the ground for a couple of nights.
I tried to find a spot on a bit of a slope, but that had to be balanced with the desire to not slide down on a slippery tent floor in a slippery sleeping bag. The first night was absolutely miserable. I did manage 5 hours or so I think. I woke up somewhere between 3-4am in pain and left the tent so I wouldn't disturb my campmates. Being in pain, cold, and really tired doesn't make for a lovely camping trip.
I was absolutely dreading the coming night and trying to find a nice spot of ground (shaped like a recliner) to set up my sleeping bag and pad and praying that it wouldn't rain. My wife fortunately found the right spot and not something I would have thought of. It was a hole about 2 feet deep, 2 feet wide and 3 feet long in a U shape. It turned out to be a perfect, recliner-like, shape. I tried it out and immediately felt comfortable. Long story short, I had a great night sleeping in the hole. I heartily recommend digging a hole to sleep in if you have trouble sleeping on your back or sleeping flat due to acid reflux issues.
This experience started me thinking about using a hammock when away from home as it would provide the same shape.. Looking on Google, there are a LOT of articles on using baby hammocks for babies with acid reflux and very few about adults using hammocks to manage acid reflux. I took the plunge anyway and bought a hammock to try out. I slept in it last night, and it worked great. I was able to sleep for a very long time (about 10 hours - trying to catch up on missed sleep). It was very comfortable all night, and I had no pain indicative of acid reflux this morning.
It seems to be a successful experiment - though I do need a few more data points to fully confirm it of course. Assuming that additional data points confirm this approach, I need to figure out how to take the hammock with me when traveling. Hotels don't generally provide hammock hooks in the wall. Travel-wise, hammocks don't take up much room which is good as I hate checking bags when I fly. The hammock I tried out was the ENO Double Nest Hammock which doesn't take up much space or weight (about the size of a grapefruit and less than two pounds).
These straps are handy to hang the hammock with: ENO Slap Straps
I'd recommend getting two carabiners to replace the ones that come with the hammock based on reviews I saw on Amazon: Black Diamond Neutrino Carabiner - Grey