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Heartburn Keeping Me Up At Night

Can I Die From Acid Reflux In My Sleep

Is Heartburn or Acid Reflux Keeping You Up At Night? Watch This!

Acid Reflux every now and then is not a cause for concern, however, if it is becoming more frequent , it is a sign of GERD and you should check in with your doctor. According to the American Cancer Society, patients with GERD have a slightly increased risk of permanent damage to the esophagus and can also lead to a condition called Barretts esophagus which can increase your risk for developing esophageal cancer. In short, you are not going to die from acid reflux in your sleep. However, if acid reflux occurs frequently and is left untreated, it can lead to higher likelihood of developing serious or life threatening complications such as esophagitis, ulcers, aspiration pneumonia, and Barretts esophagus.

Thankfully, you can act now. There are many ways to treat and prevent acid reflux, such as you can try to pinpoint your reflux triggers and avoid them as much as possible. You can also try to avoid eating meals late at night . If symptoms continue to persist, you may turn to over-the-counter medications that neutralize stomach acid , decrease stomach acid production , or heal the esophagus .

Because many people find GERD to be worse around bedtime, focusing on how to sleep with GERD may help reduce symptoms and improve sleep. Continue reading to learn more!

What Are The Health Consequences Of Gerd

Chronic reflux and GERD can cause serious complications. These include inflammation and ulcers of the esophagus, scar tissue that narrows the esophagus, spasms affecting the airway, chronic cough, damage to teeth, and exacerbated asthma symptoms.

In about 10-20% of cases of GERD, damage to the esophagus from stomach acid becomes a condition called Barrett esophagus. Barrett esophagus is considered to be the primary risk factor for esophageal cancer although not everyone with the condition develops cancer.

Can I Choke In My Sleep From Acid Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition marked by repeated episodes of acid reflux that can affect your quality of life. Most patients with GERD experience an increase in severity of heartburn symptoms while sleeping or attempting to sleep. Beyond just heartburn, if the stomach acid backs up into the esophagus and far enough to reach the throat and larynx, you may wake up coughing and choking at night.

Read Also: Does Heartburn Indicate Heart Problems

Medicines For Indigestion And Heartburn

Medicines for indigestion and heartburn during pregnancy include:

  • antacids to neutralise the acid in your stomach
  • alginates to relieve indigestion caused by acid reflux by stopping the acid in your stomach coming back up your gullet

You may only need to take antacids and alginates when you start getting symptoms. However, your GP may recommend taking them before symptoms come on for example, before a meal or before bed.

If you’re taking iron supplements as well as antacids, do not take them at the same time. Antacids can stop iron from being absorbed by your body.

If antacids and alginates do not improve your symptoms, your GP may prescribe a medicine to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. 2 that are widely used in pregnancy and not known to be harmful to an unborn baby are:

Does Acid Reflux Keep You Up At Night

12 Preventative Tips For Nighttime Heartburn So You Can ...

People with acid reflux disease often feel that their symptoms get worse during the night. Some people wake up in the middle of the night due to regurgitation, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes choking. However, the symptoms depend on how far through the esophagus. The symptoms of acid reflux get worse during the night due to the following reasons:

The stomach acid secretion is usually 2 to 3 times higher at night compared to the day time. As a result, more gastric contractions occur during the night, which ultimately leads to acid reflux.

Most people sleep in an inappropriate position, like lying o the back. In this position, no gravity can hold up the acid in the stomach. Due to lack of gravity, the stomach acid backflows into the esophagus and stays there for some time, which ultimately results in acid reflux symptoms.

Swallowing saliva during the night is important for the acid in the esophagus to go back into the stomach. Some people don’t swallow the saliva, and this causes acid reflux symptoms. The saliva secreted by the mouth contains bicarbonate that plays an important role in the neutralization of stomach acid and changes the esophageal acid’s pH back to normal.

Also Check: Foods To Help Heartburn While Pregnant

Back Sleeping: Avoid Whenever Possible

What may be the best sleeping position for some could actually aggravate GERD symptoms. Back sleeping is the worst for those with acid reflux at night. When acid escapes from your stomach and you are sleeping flat on your back, it is able to flow freely into your esophagus and beyondand stay there. Studies show that in this position, symptoms are often more frequent and tend to last longer 3 because the acid has nowhere to go. The severity of your symptoms may also increase if you have stomach fat, which pushes down on your stomach forcing contents to escape. Back sleeping should be the #1 position to avoid at night, if you suffer from nighttime acid reflux.

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Learn more about your own sleep and getpersonalized advice using the SleepScore app.

When To See The Doctor If You Have Heartburn

When you have heartburn and its terribly worsening gradually with the symptoms like waking up early morning or at the night, you need to see the doctor. Also when your heartburn dont get relieved by a glass of water or is persistant for the long time, you need to worry for its cause. If you have blackish colored stool, gradual loss of weight, vomiting and nausea, then you need to see the doctor immediately.

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How Acid Reflux Affects Your Sleep

So what’s the connection between acid reflux and sleep? As I can attest, heartburn is usually worse at night, and that can make falling asleep more difficult. “Most people are prone to acid reflux when they lie down,” says Scott Huber, MD, gastroenterologist at the Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. When you’re lying down, you don’t have gravity to pull acid back down into your stomach the way you do when you’re sitting or standing up, Huber explains.

According to an American Journal of Gastroenterology survey of 1,000 people with heartburn at least once a week, 79% of respondents said they experience heartburn at night. Three-quarters of nighttime heartburn sufferers said heartburn affected their sleep, while 63% said they believed heartburn negatively impacted their ability to sleep well, and 40% said they believed it made it harder to function the next day. Per the National Sleep Foundation, if you have acid reflux, you could very well wake up in the middle of the night with heartburnand you might even experience middle-of-the-night choking or coughing, depending on how far up your esophagus the acid travels.

How Reflux Influences Sleep Quality

Is Acid Reflux Keeping You Up At Night?

During sleep, a case of reflux may actually allow stomach contents to rise as far as the back of the mouth. This is due to the horizontal position of sleeping.

While upright and awake during the day, gravity can help limit the impact of reflux to the stomach and mid-chest. However, in a reclining position, gravity can no longer push down stomach acid. If the LES is faulty, it may easily fail at its task.

For those who experience reflux during sleep, this means rude awakenings with a sour, burning sensation in the back of the throat. Falling back asleep may require reintroducing gravity at night, either by:

  • sitting partially upright in a reclining chair
  • using a wedge pillow to elevate the upper body, or
  • raising the head of the bed by 3 inches .

Other tactics include:

  • use of over-the-counter acid neutralizing medications
  • sleeping on the left side, as a right-, back-, or stomach sleeping position typically encourages more reflux

GERD and sleep apnea

Research shows that a relationship exists between obstructive sleep apnea and GERD. One report suggests that around 60 percent of patients with OSA also experience GERD. Sometimes, obesity plays a third role in this relationship.

Its beneficial to know that treatment of OSA by positive airway pressure therapy has been consistently shown to result in an improvement to the symptoms of GERD.

Also Check: Can Heartburn Be Related To Heart Problems

Is Gerd Keeping You Up At Night

People with GERD often have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep because of persistent acid reflux. Find out how to cut down on this problem.

Youre trying to get a good nights sleep, but it just isnt happening. In addition to tossing and turning, the burning sensation of heartburn isnt making your sleep efforts any easier.

Whats going on? Was it something you ate? Your sleeping position?

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, are frequent causes of sleeplessness. As many as one in four people who experience sleep disturbances report that they have nighttime heartburn.

For people who have been diagnosed with GERD, the rate is even higher three people out of four report having nocturnal GERD symptoms. These individuals are more likely to suffer sleep problems such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and daytime sleepiness as a result of their nighttime heartburn.

Sleeplessness poses a serious health problem. In addition to the physical and mental effects that stem from lack of sleep, people who experience nocturnal GERD are at greater risk for some of the worst complications of the disease, including erosive esophagitis, dyspepsia, and esophageal cancer.

How Does GERD Disturb Sleep?

Researchers have figured out several ways in which GERD-related acid reflux interferes with sleep:

GERD and Sleep Position: Dos and Don’ts

If you are a GERD sufferer, you can do a lot to improve your quality of sleep by changing your sleeping position. Doctors recommend that you:

Don’t Let Heartburn Keep You Up At Night

I don’t need anything else keeping me up at night – Instagram and TikTok do a great job as it is. So, when nighttime heartburn gets thrown into the mix, it’s frustrating.

According to Dr. Jan P. Kaminski, MD, the director of clinical programs for rectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease at the Digestive Health Institute, heartburn typically feels like a burning in the chest or a bitter or acidic taste in the mouth.

You can also experience chest pain, difficulty swallowing, chronic cough, asthma, nausea, bloating, belching, and pain in the upper part of the abdomen from heartburn, he added.

These symptoms might ring a bell to you. Dr. Kaminski said that heartburn at night is relatively common – some causes include obesity, overeating, pregnancy, and lying down or going to sleep after a meal.

“Commonly, people feel tired after eating a large meal and lay down for a nap, or go to sleep for the night right after eating, which can also worsen symptoms of heartburn,” Dr. Kaminski said.

Certain foods are more likely to trigger heartburn over others, too, like spicy foods, onions, citrus products, tomato products, fatty or fried foods, peppermint, chocolate, alcohol, carbonated beverages, coffee or other caffeinated beverages, and large or fatty meals, he added.

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Waiting to lay down at least three hours after a meal can give your food more time to properly digest, too, he continued.

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The Differences Between Daytime And Nighttime Acid Reflux

While the symptoms of acid reflux are often the same no matter the time of the day, the resulting pain can be less intense during the night.

If you find youre waking up with heartburn in the morning or middle of the night, the burning may be so subdued that you fall back to sleep without addressing the discomfort. However, lessened pain can be a misleading indicator as, contrary to what you may feel, acid reflux at night is more severe and should be addressed as aggressively if not more so than episodes that occur during the day.

There are enough differences between acid reflux when youre awake versus asleep to be classified into daytime and nighttime GERD. Compared with daytime GERD, nighttime reflux occurs less frequently but the episodes last longer. The longer the stomach acid lingers in the esophagus, the greater the risk of inflammation and erosive damage. Not too surprisingly then, long-term health complications are more likely with reflux that occurs while you sleep.

Why the difference? The reasons have to do with physiological changes from day to night. During the day, an upright posture contributes to better digestive efficiency with your stomach emptying more quickly. When theres nothing in your stomach, then theres nothing to reflux. Also the normal process of swallowing makes use of saliva thats formulated to neutralize acid, while also helping to clear refluxed acid from the esophagus.

The Reason Your Heartburn Is Worse At Night

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Whether after eating food with tomato sauce or wearing tight pants, you dread that unpleasant burning sensation in your chest. If youâre suffering from heartburn, youâre not alone. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month, and 15 million experience it every day. Elderly people and pregnant women are more likely to experience symptoms of heartburn.

Heartburn, or acid reflux , occurs when liquids in the stomach flow back into the esophagus. This happens when the lower esophageal sphincter , the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach, relaxes. During eating, the LES relaxes to let food into the stomach and contracts to prevent backflow into the esophagus. Even in people who donât experience acid reflux, stomach acid may travel into the esophagus for brief periods without symptoms.

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How Are Gerd And Sleep Related

GERD is often cited as a cause of sleeping problems, including in the National Sleep Foundations 2001 Sleep in America Poll. In a more recent survey of people with frequent heartburn, nearly 60% said it affected their sleep, and more than 30% said it hurt their daytime functioning.

Flare ups of GERD symptoms after lying down can make it hard to fall asleep and can cause nighttime interruptions from heartburn, chest pain, and coughing. Studies in sleep clinics of people with GERD have found that these symptoms are correlated with lower sleep quality.

Does Heartburn Impact Mental Health

Heartburn symptoms can be distressing and painful. Although heartburn does not cause mental health disorders, there does appear to be a link between heartburn and an increase in depression and anxiety .

Heartburn symptoms can include chest pains. Heartburn patients report an increase in anxiety when experiencing chest pains. Depression and stress are known to impact the gastrointestinal system, and therefore may make heartburn worse. Additionally, heartburn can cause disruptions in sleep and there is evidence that poor sleep impacts mental health as well.

Recommended Reading: Ways To Help Heartburn During Pregnancy

Heartburn Keeping Me Up At Night

To prevent acid reflux at night: sleep with your head elevated try a mattress lifter, a wedge-shaped pillow, or add a pillow to help keep your stomach contents from moving upward. Heartburn keeping me up at night. Avoid tight clothings: wear loose fitting clothings than tight one at night which will help to some extent to lower the heartburn symptoms at night avoid late night heavy meals: keep at least time of 2-3 hours after having dinner for your sleep avoid having heavy meals reduce your weight: obese individuals are more likely to have heartburn.

Best Sleep Position For Acid Reflux: Incline + Left

My cough is keeping me up at night

So, what if you take the best flat sleeping position, aka the left side, and add an incline? Could the benefits be more than the sum of its parts?

Recent studies show that this is indeed the case 9,10. The compound inclined, left-side sleeping position makes acid reflux at night virtually impossible because your esophagus is now positioned well above the level of stomach contents, even if your stomach is full. And, if you do reflux, gravity is able to quickly return the contents to your stomach. Whew. This ideal sleep position provides a double whammy of decreasing your GERD symptoms and providing protection from prolonged acid exposure to your esophagus, throat, lungs, and sinuses.

So, whats the secret to controlling your acid reflux symptoms at night and finally getting good, quality sleep? Proper sleep positioning. Discover relief with the ideal position that maximizes the power of gravity and anatomy. Discover the MedCline Reflux Relief System, specifically designed to create and maintain the inclined, left-side position, clinically proven to be the most effective for natural relief from nighttime acid reflux or GERD.

  • Fass, Ronnie. PPI bashing drives use of alternatives. gastoendnews.com, Sept. 2011.
  • Lagergren J, Bergstrom R, Lindgren A, Nyren O. Symptomatic GER as a risk factor for esophageal adenocarcinoma. N Engl J Med 1999 340:825831.
  • Stanciu C, Bennett JR: Effect of posture on gastroesophageal reflux, Digestion 1977, 15: 104-109
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    Tip 1 For Nighttime Heartburn Relief: Elevate Head And Chest

    For people who sleep on their back, heartburn symptoms may occur if stomach acid leaks from the stomach back into the esophagus as they lay down. In these cases, one can try to reduce their symptoms by using gravity and elevating the head and chest higher than the lower abdomen.

    Using specifically designed wedge pillows is one way to keep the upper body more upright during the night. Alternatively, you can try raising the upper half of the bed slightly by safely placing cinder blocks, bricks, or wood beams under the head of the bed.

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