What Causes Acid Reflux At Night
Acid reflux happens when the muscles at the lower part of the esophagus , which stop food from leaving the stomach, become weak or relaxed. However, gravity and anatomy play a massive role in the occurrence of nocturnal GERD symptoms.
During the day, you are more likely to be uprightstanding or sitting up. So when stomach acid escapes, gravity and saliva quickly return the content to the stomach. Youre also more likely to manage GERD symptoms by staying upright, swallowing saliva, or taking antacids when youre awake.
Plus, when upright, your esophagus naturally flows down into your stomach. This quick return of acid to your stomach typically makes your symptoms shorter and minimizes the potential harm acid can cause to the delicate lining of your esophagus.
Evidence shows that acid reflux usually happens in the first two or three hours of sleep. It usually occurs when a person lays down soon after consuming heavy meals. Studies suggest that those with GERD are more likely to experience acid reflux when they consume heavy meals late at night .
Elevate Your Upper Body
Lying down can make heartburn worse. When it comes time for bed, adjust your sleeping surface to raise your upper body.
According to the Mayo Clinic, lifting your head with extra pillows isnt usually enough. Instead, the goal is to elevate your body from the waist up.
If you have an adjustable bed, set it at a suitable angle to provide relief. If your bed isnt adjustable, you can change the angle of your sleeping surface by using a wedge pillow.
Symptoms Of Heartburn At Night
Its common for heartburn to become more pronounced in the evening.
People who experience heartburn at night typically report the following symptoms:
- Worse pain when lying down or bending over
- A bitter or acidic taste in the mouth
These heartburn symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours.
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Tips For Nighttime Heartburn Relief
1. Sleep on your left side.This position seems to help reduce nighttime heartburn symptoms, says David A. Johnson, MD, internal medicine division chief at Eastern Virginia School of Medicine, Norfolk, Va. To remember which side to sleep on, Johnson offers this memory trick: Right is wrong.
2. Lose weight, even a little. Heartburn often just gets worse as you gain weight, but losing as little as two and a half pounds can help reduce heartburn symptoms, Johnson says.
3. Sleep with your upper body elevated. When you lay flat in bed, your throat and stomach are basically at the same level, making it easy for stomach acids to flow up your esophagus, causing heartburn. You can elevate your body in two ways:
- Put the head of your bed on 4- to 6-inch blocks.
- Sleep on a wedge-shaped pillow that’s at least 6 to 10 inches thick on one end. Don’t substitute regular pillows they just raise your head, and not your entire upper body.
4. Wear loose-fitting clothes. Tight clothes, especially near your waist, can put pressure on your stomach, leading to heartburn symptoms.
6. Steer clear of late-night meals or big meals. Avoid eating meals two to three hours before bedtime to reduce stomach acid and allow the stomach to partially empty its contents before you sleep, suggests the American Gastroenterological Association. Because large meals put pressure on your stomach, try eating a smaller meal in the evening to help prevent nighttime heartburn symptoms.
Food And Drink Tips For Nighttime Heartburn Relief
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Ways To Prevent And Relieve Nighttime Heartburn
A good percentage of people do not suffer from heartburn or acid reflux throughout the day, rather it hits them at night when lying down to go to sleep. This can be quite aggravating, especially after a long stressful day and looking forward to bedtime. Fortunately there are things you can do to prevent and relieve this common ailment so your slumber can be sweet instead of sour.
Acid reflux is what happens when partially digested food and stomach acids escape back up into your esophagus. This can provide a sour taste in your throat and mouth, aches and burning in your chest, and can be responsible for interrupting much needed sleep.To avoid this nighttime nuisance, try out one or more of these tips:
Eat your last meal of the day at least two hours before bedtime. If you must have a snack before bed, choose something light like a piece of toast and a cup of milk.
Avoid spicy, acidic, and fatty foods especially at dinnertime. If these foods are what you crave, try eating them for lunch instead. Also, try eating a bigger lunch and reduce your portion sizes for dinner. This allows more time for foods to be properly digested before lights out.
Skip the alcoholic, caffeinated, and carbonated beverages with dinner. These types of drinks relax your lower esophageal sphincter and let acids come traveling back up, causing heartburn. Swap them out for another option like milk, apple juice or caffeine free tea.
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More than 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month. I’m one of them. In fact, I was found to have gastroesophageal reflux disorderaka GERD, more commonly known as acid refluxback in college because of just how frequently I was getting heartburn.
If you have acid reflux, or even occasional heartburn after a spicy meal, you know that it can keep you awake tossing and turning. Here’s what I’ve learned about coping with acid reflux so it doesn’t get in the way of a good night’s sleep.
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- The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used interchangeably, but heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux.
- Pay attention to the foods that trigger heartburn for you and eliminate them from your diet.
Heartburn occurs when the muscular valve between your stomach and esophagus loosens or doesnt completely close, allowing stomach acid to escape into your esophagus. You may be very familiar with the symptoms of heartburn that burning sensation just below your breast bone, that can rise up into your chest. You may also have a bitter or sour taste in your mouth. The terms heartburn and acid reflux are often used interchangeably, but heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux.
If you experience occasional heartburn, there are simple things you can do to identify the cause, and ways to prevent the burn.
If You Must Snack Choose A Balanced Carb
You cant just gorge on #allthecarbs after dark. But Reed says a small, higher carbohydrate snack may be beneficial in the hour or two before bedtime, as carbs can help the brain access tryptophan an amino acid that causes sleepiness faster. Carbs arent created equally though. Look for a complex whole grain, which Reed says can help increase serotonin levels in the body. Simple, sugary carbs, on the other hand, can cause a burst in your energy levels, which can keep you awake.
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Baking Soda Remedy For Heartburn
Sodium bicarbonate or the very common baking soda lying on your kitchen shelf can relieve heartburn in a matter of few minutes by balancing the pH level of your stomach. Baking soda with a pH higher than 7 can effectively neutralize your stomach acid. When your stomach acid will not remain acidic, you wont get the burning sensation, even if it travels up to your lower oesophagal sphincter.
- Baking soda- 1/2 to 1 tsp
- Water- 1/2 to 1 glass
- Add the baking soda to the glass of water.
- Mix and drink this.
- Do this whenever you feel acid coming up into your throat. However, do not consume more than 3 tsp of baking soda in a day.
Do this for a week only and if your heartburn still persists, either use some other remedy or consult your doctor. Prolonged use of baking soda is not desirable for your body.
What Are Some Ways To Sleep Better With Heartburn
Creating a sleep hygiene routine that is easy and comfortable to follow may also help improve your sleep. Taking steps such as setting a sleep schedule, creating a quiet, dark bedroom environment, and avoiding eating in the hours before you go to sleep might help. Choose pajamas that are loose around the waist to prevent any restriction around the stomach that could impact your heartburn symptoms.
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Cut Off Your Drink Intake
Not only can evening fluid intake interrupt sleep because we will need to use the bathroom during the night, but drinks that contain caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep, says Reed. Caffeine is a known stimulant and can be found in many foods such as chocolate, cocoa, ice cream, and even yogurt. Always check the nutritional labels when eating or drinking in the evening. Reed also suggests limiting fluid intake to no more than one cup in the four-hour window before bed to minimize nighttime awakening. If you find that drinking decaf tea or warm milk helps you sleep, Reed says there is no reason to stop this practice. Just dont go overboard with multiple cups.
Dont use alcohol as a crutch Although alcohol can help us fall asleep, it disrupts sleep, says Reed. Thats because as the body breaks down alcohol, it creates a stimulant effect. Its best to limit alcohol consumption to one glass of wine or beer with dinner, three to four hours before bedtime, to help minimize any sleep disruption.
Getting a good nights sleep is all about routine, relaxation, and lack of stimulus. Dont let eating and drinking rev your systems up and keep you awake in the process. Everybody is different, so find what works best for you, but these general suggestions should help.
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Ways To Eliminate Nighttime Heartburn
Disclosure: I am compensated for purchases made through some links on this site. .
Heartburn is usually worse at night preventing many of us from getting the sleep we need. By the end of the day, stresses of our hectic lives, anxious thoughts, and stress of work and family have built up and weigh heavily on us. These stresses cause greater sensitivity to stomach acid.
Stomach contents also press against your lower esophageal sphincter when you lay down increasing the possibility of acid reflux. The following are 10 proven ways to lower or eliminate the risk of nighttime heartburn.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heartburn
Heartburn is caused by the contents of your stomach moving back up your esophagus , usually due to a weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter . The LES is a muscle at the end of your esophagus that usually tightens to keep your stomach’s contents in your stomach. However, this muscle can become weak or relaxed at the wrong times .
Heartburn symptoms include :
- a mild to moderate painful sensation right under your breastbone, sometimes radiating into your back or up your neck
- The taste of acid in your mouth, commonly caused by regurgitation
While anyone can experience heartburn after a heavy meal, experiencing heartburn frequently may mean that it is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease . Often, people use the term heartburn interchangeably with GERD. However, heartburn is a symptom of GERD, not the disorder itself.
GERD symptoms are a bit more severe. GERD is marked by any of these symptoms :
- Sensation of a lump in the throat
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.
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How To Prevent Acid Reflux At Night Advice And Guidance
For some people who suffer with acid reflux they may only experience symptoms at night or maybe their symptoms are simply worsened when sleeping. To help you understand why exactly this is the case let me explain further. If you suffer from acid reflux whether that is GERD or LPR the most common cause is related to the valve above the stomach which is called the lower esophageal sphincter .
When the LES opens up this allows the acid to reflux up the esophagus and for someone with LPR it can even reach their throat. The problem when you sleep and lay down is that there is more pressure on this LES muscle which often makes the muscle relax more and causes it to open therefore allowing the acid to reflux up. For further reading the LESs important role in acid reflux.
Luckily there are a host of things that you can do which should help with preventing reflux anytime you are sleeping or laying down. I will cover each of the points below.
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What Helps Heartburn Fast At Night
These tips can quickly help relieve nighttime heartburn.
22. Prop yourself up in bed
Keeping yourself upright in bed can help take some pressure off your stomach and valve and relieve symptoms.
23. Try baking soda and water
Baking soda can help neutralize acid. Try drinking a half teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 4 ounces of warm water.
24. Take antacids
You can buy antacids from your pharmacy. These work by changing your stomach acid that causes heartburn.
25. Try over-the-counter histamine-2 blockers
Histamine-2 blockers help heartburn by changing how much acid your stomach makes. These can relieve symptoms for a few hours.
26. Try OTC proton pump inhibitors
You can try these medications from your pharmacy if nothing else is working. These should only be taken for 14 days at a time and only 3 times a year.
27. Take prescription medications
If nothing helps your heartburn, talk to your doctor. They can give you stronger prescription medications.
Sometimes surgery on your esophagus sphincter can help heartburn that doesnt get better with treatment. Talk to your doctor about ongoing heartburn.
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Sleep Position 1 To Avoid For Preventing Acid Reflux At Night
Nighttime heartburn can be tough for back sleepers making it position #1 to avoid at night.
When laying flat on your back, a poorly functioning LES can allow acidic stomach contents to flow freely into the esophagus.
Studies have shown that in this position, symptoms are often more frequent and tend to last longer.3
The severity of your symptoms may also increase if you have stomach fat, which pushes down on your stomach and LES and can force contents back up into the esophagus and beyond. To reduce your nighttime heartburn and decrease the risks associated with prolonged acid exposure, try to stay off your back at night.
Figure 2: Representation of stomach when youre laying flat on your back.
Make Ginger Tea To Relieve Heartburn
If you want to get rid of nausea accompanying your heartburn, just make a cup of fresh ginger root tea that will soothe your stomach and give you the much-wanted comfort. If nausea and heartburn become a regular feature of your life, you may also consider having a cup of fresh ginger tea before your meals. This helps your stomach in settling down as ginger acts as an acid buffer.
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The Reason Your Heartburn Is Worse At Night
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.