Sleeping upright and waking up flat

Stage 3 esophageal cancer survivor. I have an adjustable bed that i use to sleep at a 30 degree angle, when i wake up in the morning,  im flat, bed is still at 30 degrees,   Has anyone found a way to prevent this. 


  • LorettaMarshall
    LorettaMarshall Member Posts: 662 Member
    edited July 2016 #2
    Congrats~Just 2 say hello 2 a fellow Stage III EC survivor!

    Well good afternoon “Fellow Stage III EC survivor” 

     My husband is now in his 14th year of surviving EC Stage III (T3N1M0), so all of us are thankful that we all were blessed to have “woken up this morning”, are we not?

     Now as to your bed problem, I had to chuckle when I read your note.  My husband and I first bought “bed risers”, you know the kind that some people purchase to raise the bed to a level so other things can be “stuffed—stored—thrown-hidden)  underneath.  Well that may be fine for “stuff” but not for “people!” 

     We put two risers, one on either side at the head of the bed.  We both woke up each morning “sleeping at the foot” of the bed, all the while the bed was still at an angle.  So it seems that your bed is still elevated but you are not.  Now we know this is not conducive to good sleep, as the stomach acids can often work its way back to the throat, and create an awful sour taste in your throat that takes a long time to get rid of.  It’s a bile acid reflux, but similar to “heartburn!”  So sleeping elevated is a prerequisite to having a good night’s sleep. 

     After the bed-riser failure, we bought a 7-in foam bed wedge.  That didn’t work either.  It pressed flat when my husband laid his upper torso on it.  Now we have a 12-inch foam wedge, and still put some pillows on top of that. 

     Now the only problem is one of “midnight snacking”—that can’t be fixed by sleeping at a high elevation. I don’t know how much you paid for the bed, but sounds like it’s not working for you.  I know that my friend “Paul61” has an adjustable bed and is completely satisfied with it.  He checks in here on a regular basis and may give you some tips.  Our “wedge” works well now.

     So I hope you can reach a solution, because none of the post-op instructions advise “sleeping in a flat position at the foot of the bed!”  Frown

     But glad to talk to another survivor.  We’re celebrating “Independence Day” every day of the year by being a survivors.    

     Loretta Marshall (Wife of William Marshall, EC Stage III (T3N1M0) who had the Ivor Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy (MIE) surgery on May 17, 2003 performed by Dr. James D. Luketich @ the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (UPMC)


     P.S.  This is just for Country music lovers who remember “Little Jimmy Dickens”.  It has nothing to do with Esophageal Cancer, but “when I hear the words “sleeping at the foot of the bed, this song comes to mind.”


  • paul61
    paul61 Member Posts: 1,389 Member
    Learning to sleep on your back can be a challenge

    When I first got my adjustable bed it took me a while to learn how to adjust it so I would not move around at night and get myself in a "flat" position. Up until my Ivor Lewis surgery I had always slept on my side. I found that if I didn't adjust the bed to prevent me from moving onto my side in my sleep I would have the same problem you are describing. 

    Two things that might help:

    1. First I found that I had to raise not only the head of the bed but also the foot of the bed. This kept me from turning over on my side at night.
    2. Second, I have also heard that some people who tend to move around at night in their sleep place a pillow on each side of their body so they can't roll over on their back.

    I think if you block yourself in at your feet and on each side it should help you to stay in the right position. After a while I did get used to sleeping on my back and it now seems natural but it did take a while.

    Hope this helps,

    Best Regards,

    Paul Adams

    McCormick, South Carolina


    DX 10/2009 T2N1M0  Stage IIB - Ivor Lewis Surgery  12/3/2009
    Post Surgery Chemotherapy 2/2009 – 6/2009 Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
    Six Year Survivor