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Waking Up With Heartburn In The Middle Of The Night

What Do Night Sweats Mean When You Have Gerd

8 Reasons Why You’re Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night

Sweating is one of your bodys natural responses to heat. It helps you cool yourself off when youre in a hot environment or exercising. You can also sweat in response to other stressors, such as illness.

If you have GERD, you may experience night sweats along with more classic symptoms of the disease. For example, you might wake up in the middle of the night with both heartburn and excessive sweating. If this happens on a regular basis, make an appointment with your doctor. You may have GERD that isnt well controlled.

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:

Remedy For Heartburn At Middle Of The Night

Sleep with head elevated: Sleeping with the head elevated can decrease the heartburn at night as there is less chance of regurgitation of acids while sleeping.

Avoid the triggering foods at night: Heartburn at night worsens if you take certain triggering foods at night. Alcohol, spicy and oily foods, caffeinated drinks like coffee, milk tea can provocate the heartburn at night. SO its better to avoid such foods 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 symptoms. So try to reduce your weight.

Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated: Water can some extent help to reduce the heartburn symptoms. A glass of lukewarm water may help for providing a temporary relief.

OTC antacids: If you are taking any antacid gels for the heartburn relief you can take one that helps to relief the symptom temporarily.

Recommended Reading: Best Foods For Heartburn Relief

Sleep On Your Left Side

Stomach sleepers, take note: This is the worst position to sleep in if you have acid reflux, says Besser. “Sleeping on your stomach puts pressure on your stomach and can cause food to come back up,” she says. The best sleeping position for acid reflux is on your left side, says Huber, although he notes that no one’s entirely sure why. A JAMA Internal Medicine review of studies did find that the lower esophageal sphincter is relaxed for longer when patients lie on their right side. If side sleeping isn’t for you, sleeping on your back is suitable too if you have acid reflux, Besser says.

Avoid Tight Fitting Nightwear

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Some people have reported that being mindful of what nightwear they choose can impact whether they get their much-needed beauty sleep.

Opting for looser clothing that doesnt put any restrictions or add additional pressure to your body can help it to function better and reduce any pain or discomfort caused by acid reflux.

Also Check: What Can I Eat When I Have Heartburn

Consider Avoiding Certain Foods Drinks And Large Meals

Some foods and drinks may make reflux worse in some people. It is difficult to be certain to what extent specific foods contribute to the problem. Let common sense be your guide. If it seems that a food is causing symptoms, try avoiding it for a while to see if symptoms improve. Foods and drinks that have been suspected of making symptoms worse in some people include:

  • Peppermint.
  • Coffee.
  • Alcoholic drinks.

Also, avoid large meals if they bring on symptoms. Some women find that eating smaller meals more frequently is helpful.

Understanding The Oesophagus And Stomach

When we eat, food passes down the gullet into the stomach. Cells in the lining of the stomach make acid and other chemicals which help to digest food.

Stomach cells also make mucus which protects them from damage caused by the acid. The cells lining the oesophagus are different and have little protection from acid.

There is a circular band of muscle at the junction between the oesophagus and stomach. This relaxes to allow food down but normally tightens up and stops food and acid leaking back up into the oesophagus. In effect, the sphincter acts like a valve.

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Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal Of The Day

Eating a big meal can put pressure on your stomach and allow acid to travel back up into your esophagusand that will only be compounded if you lie down soon afterward. To prevent a major case of acid reflux at night, Huber recommends eating a heavier lunch and a lighter dinner. I’ve started to spend a few hours on Sunday meal prep so that I can get more substantial lunches ready for the week.

Sleep Stealer: Your Late

How to Soothe Heartburn

If your bedtime routine involves scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, your updates may be messing with your sleep. Exposing eyes to light during the evening stops the body from making melatonin, the sleep hormone, explains Richard L. Hansler, Ph.D., of the Lighting Innovations Institute at John Carroll University in Ohio. From tablet screens to smartphones, electronic devices are light sources people tend to hold close to their faces, which may make them potent sleep disrupters.

Sleep solution: Dim your room lights and aim to make your last hour before bed screen-less. Too hard? Research suggests the blue light emitted from smart phones is the most problematic. Dimming your phone or tablets light, and holding it at least a foot or two from your face, makes it less likely to mess with your slumber.

Also Check: What Can Heartburn Be A Symptom Of

Sleep Stealer: A Less

The more favorably you look upon sleepbelieving it makes you happy and that you feel refreshed after a full night of restthe longer youll actually sleep every night, says Hannah Peach, Ph.D., a lecturer in the psychology department at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. When she recently asked people questions to rate how favorably they viewed sleep , she found that for every point higher their scores averaged, the time they spent in slumber increased by nearly 40 minutes.

Sleep solution: If you have trouble convincing yourself that sleep is something your body needs, which can help ensure that you get enough, try keeping a sleep log. Include how much sleep you got and how you felt throughout the day: how happy you were, how easy it was to concentrate, how hard the afternoon slump hit you. Sleep isnt a luxury, says Peach. And seeing the truth in black and white can help you understand the impact sleep has on your mood and energy.

Like what you just read? Youll love our magazine! Go here to subscribe. Dont miss a thing by downloading Apple News here and following Prevention. Oh, .

Why Is Gerd Worse After Going To Bed

There are several explanations for why GERD is commonly worse at night after going to bed:

  • When lying down, gravity no longer helps keep stomach acid down, making it easier for reflux to occur.
  • Saliva can help neutralize stomach acid, but production of saliva is reduced during deeper stages of sleep.

A combination of these effects can facilitate the leakage of stomach acid into the esophagus and allow the acid to remain in place for longer, potentially causing more severe GERD symptoms, including those that can disturb sleep. The problem may be even greater if a person goes to bed soon after eating and/or eats foods that trigger GERD.

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What Are Acid Reflux And Heartburn

Your esophagus contains a small muscle that constricts when youre not eating, keeping stomach acid from splashing out of your stomach back up into your esophagus. However, sometimes this muscle is weakened or doesnt work properly, allowing acid to move from the stomach into the esophagus. This is the cause of acid reflux and heartburn.

Acid reflux has a number of symptoms:

  • Heartburn: a feeling of burning pain in the abdomen or chest that usually occurs after eating, while bending over or exercising, or when lying down.
  • A sour-sweet and irritating feeling of acid splashing up into your esophagus
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing, a feeling of something in your throat, and regurgitation

Note: Heartburn is not directly related to the heart, though pain can occur in the chest because of the location of the stomach and lower portion of the esophagus. However, severe heartburn and heart attack symptoms can sometimes be difficult to tell apart. If youre experiencing abnormally severe chest pain, its important to seek emergency medical attention especially if you have a personal or family history of heart disease.

Acid reflux and heartburn in the morning can be both a nuisance and moderately painful. However, if left untreated, they can also cause serious damage to your esophagus in some cases, this can even lead to esophageal cancer.

Do Certain Foods Cause Heartburn

Waking up with heartburn at middle of the night? Here are ...

Certain foods and drinks, such as fried foods, high-fat foods, soft drinks, and tea , increase your likelihood of experiencing heartburn. Eating meals late at night, no matter what theyre composed of, can also increase heartburn and negatively impact sleep as a result.

Drinks that tend to stimulate stomach acid production, such as coffee and alcohol, contribute to the onset of heartburn . Coffee itself may also affect sleep quality. Although it might feel like alcohol helps you fall asleep, alcohol can cause frequent night wakings which disrupt sleep.

Read Also: What Home Remedy Stops Heartburn

When Does Acid Reflux Become Gerd

Those with an ongoing condition are typically diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease .

GERD is considered a chronic form of acid reflux. It may require a more proactive treatment strategy than those who experience heartburn less frequently.

GERD can have a dramatic impact on sleep, leading to risks of:

These chronic symptoms may signal something more serious than occasional distress caused by overeating.

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.

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Try Sleeping On Your Left Side

Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when the upper portion of the digestive tract is not functioning properly, causing stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular tube linking the mouth to the stomach. In normal digestion, a specialized ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and then quickly closes to prevent backflow into the esophagus. The LES can malfunction, allowing contents from the stomach, including food and digestive juices, such as hydrochloric acid, to push up into the esophagus. In GERD, this backflow is ongoing.

When you are standing, or sitting upright, gravity helps prevent stomach contents from rising up into the esophagus. However, reflux can become much worse while you are sleeping or lying in bed without the aid of gravity, it is much easier for stomach contents to spill through the malfunctioning LES and flow into the esophagus. This leads to an increase in symptoms, such as a burning in the chest, the feeling of food or liquid rising into the mouth, a sour or bitter taste, a sore throat, and coughing, which can make getting a good nights sleep a difficult task.

First published in the Inside Tract® newsletter issue 201 2017

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What Is The Treatment For Night Sweats From Gerd

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If youre waking up with heartburn and excessive sweating or experiencing other symptoms of GERD, your doctor may prescribe medications to help control your symptoms. For example, they may encourage you to take antacids or histamine H2 blockers. Also simply called H2 blockers, this class of medications works by decreasing your stomach acid production. They may help reduce your night sweats, as well as other symptoms of GERD.

Examples of H2 blockers include:

  • famotidine
  • cimetidine
  • nizatidine

H2 blockers work differently than antacids, including those based on aluminum/magnesium formulas and calcium carbonate formulas . H2 blockers block the action of histamines in certain stomach cells, which slows your bodys production of stomach acid. In contrast, antacids neutralize stomach acid once its been produced.

Its important to keep in mind that H2 blockers and proton-pump inhibitors only provide short-term relief. Your doctor may advise you to take them in the evening to help prevent night sweats and other symptoms of GERD.

While GERD can be the cause of night sweats, not all patients with GERD have them. And even if you have GERD, your night sweats might be caused by something else.

Other possible causes of night sweats include:

  • menopause

Read Also: Best Way To Treat Heartburn

Other Things You Can Work On Day

There are other ways to tackle your night-time acid reflux that include making small changes to your lifestyle. Below are a few common changes that are known to help:

  • Eat smaller meals more often, rather than three big meals
  • Lose weight our Top Tips for Keeping Active Around the Home outlines small exercises that you can incorporate in your everyday routine.
  • Having a balanced and healthy diet can help reducing the amount of triggering foods mentioned in the above section is advised.
  • Reduce stress levels.

Finally, if you are really struggling to manage with your symptoms, its always best to seek consultation from your GP.

At HSL, your comfort is our main priority and we hope this article has been of use to you. If reading this article has inspired you to get an adjustable bed, or if you already have one, our advice guide covers instructions-for-use, along with safety and maintenance tips.

Sleep Stealer: Thyroid Problems

An overactive or underactive thyroid gland could be setting off a domino effect of hormone imbalances that make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. When a thyroid is overactive, your heart races, your adrenaline surges, and you can have insomnia and anxiety, says Amy Myers, M.D., medical director of Austin UltraHealth and author of The Thyroid Connection. When the gland is underactive, a condition that becomes more common after age 50, youre up to 35% more likely to have sleep apnea.

Thyroid problems hit women especially hardtheyre up to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems, and up to 60% dont realize their insomnia is thyroid-related. It can be tough to pinpoint a thyroid disorder as the underlying cause of sleep problems, says Dr. Myers. Thats because the other symptoms that accompany such disordersdepression, weight loss or gain, anxiety, and gastrointestinal issuescan seem unrelated to sleep.

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How Reflux Influences Sleep Quality

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.


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