Acid Reflux and Sleep
Acid Reflux and Sleep
It can be difficult to experience symptoms of acid reflux and sleep, but there are ways to stop acid reflux at night, or at least minimize your symptoms. We've got tips for nighttime heartburn, how to sleep with acid reflux, as well as ways to sleep better with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What is acid reflux and what is GERD?
Acid reflex is really called gastroesophageal reflux. It's commonly referred to as acid reflux because it describes what happens, which is when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus causing pain and irritability. Anyone may experience acid reflux at night every once in a while, but if it's a chronic issue, it may be GERD.
Research indicates as many as 20% of adults in the United States may be affected by GERD. If you consistently experience heartburn or other more severe acid reflux symptoms that stop you from sleeping, like coughing, choking, or major chest pains, you may have GERD.
How to sleep with acid reflux.
Now when it comes to sleeping with acid reflux, one of the best things you can do is sleep on your left side. There are many scientific studies where researchers have concluded the left side to be the best side to sleep on for acid reflux. This happens because when you lay on your side, your stomach moves below your esophagus, making acid reflux less likely. Check out our best mattresses for side sleepers to help support sleeping on your side.
How to sleep better with GERD.
If your acid reflux occurs regularly, you may have GERD and should consult with your primary care physician about your concerns. These tips for nighttime heartburn and sleeping with acid reflux, like sleeping on your side, can help people with GERD sleep better. However, you may do better with certain medications for GERD that can be recommended by your doctor. In some severe cases of GERD, surgery may be recommended as the final solution.
Tips for avoiding nighttime heartburn.
Not everyone has GERD and most of us will likely experience an episode of nighttime heartburn at some point in our lives. That's why we've collected these tips for avoiding nighttime heartburn altogether.
- Don't eat large meals before bed. Give your stomach at least three hours to fully digest your last meal before lying down for bed.
- Avoid foods and beverages before bed known to cause heartburn, like alcohol, foods with a lot of hot spices, citrus fruits, and other acidic foods like tomatoes. Instead, try these best foods for sleep.
- Quit smoking cigarettes. Smoke from cigarettes is known to irritate your bowels and make it harder for your esophageal muscles to keep stomach acid from backing up into your esophagus.
- If you are overweight, lowering your weight to a lower and healthier level is another tip to avoid nighttime heartburn.
- Experts recommend elevating your head six to eight inches using an adjustable bed with an incline feature, or by using a wedge pillow.