What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux , also called reflux, is when food and acid from the stomach go back up into the esophagus. This causes an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, often called heartburn.
With GER, reflux happens after nearly every meal and causes noticeable discomfort. After eating, people with GER feel a burning sensation in the chest, neck, and throat.
While it’s more common in adults, kids, teens, and even babies can have gastroesophageal reflux.
Why Is Nighttime Heartburn More Dangerous
Day or night, chronic reflux can gradually damage the esophagus. It may lead to inflammation and scar tissue that narrows the esophagus. In some people, chronic heartburn can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, changes in the cells that increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
But nighttime heartburn tends to leave acid in the esophagus longer, and therefore may cause more damage than daytime heartburn.
“A good part of the explanation is gravity,” says Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, co-author of Healing Heartburn and associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. During the day, acids from the stomach may briefly force their way into your esophagus. But gravity quickly pulls them back down to the stomach.
When you’re lying down, gravity isn’t pulling in the right direction. Instead, the stomach contents are pressing on the sphincter muscle that connects the esophagus to the stomach. In people with GERD – which means nearly everyone with chronic heartburn – the sphincter is faulty. It doesn’t fully close. So acids can reflux back up into the esophagus. And because you’re lying down, once acids get into the esophagus, they can sit there for much longer than during the day. That can increase the damage.
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:
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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.
How Do You Get Rid Of Heartburn
Studies show that reducing overall body weight has a positive impact on reducing heartburn symptoms. Eating a diet full of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and vegetables can help lower your overall body mass. Exercising regularly, even just taking a walk around your neighborhood, can also help you lower body weight, and help you sleep . Cutting back on smoking, caffeine intake, and alcohol consumption significantly reduces heartburn attacks and also promotes better sleep.
Antacids, an over-the-counter medication, can manage mild heartburn symptoms by neutralizing the acid in your stomach. They are effective in reducing symptoms but require frequent administering and should not be taken longer than a few days.
Check with your doctor before starting any medication. If over-the-counter medication does not help, your doctor may be able to prescribe additional medication.
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What Causes Heartburn At Night
There are several triggers that may cause heartburn during the day. Nighttime heartburn often occurs while lying down too soon after eating. Lying flat can push acid from the stomach up into the lower esophagus, making it harder for food to properly digest. This can cause a burning sensation in your chest, known as heartburn.
Is Gerd Keeping You Up At Night Everyday Healt
Dr. Ayisha Gani answered. Specializes in Internal Medicine. Reflux: Excessive burping/reflux could be from acid reflux, swallowing air. Indigestion from stomach irritation and gall bladder problems may also cause burpi Read More. Send thanks to the doctor If you’re on Prevacid you could try it at night, or ask for a small top up dose to take at night – or ask if you can take Zantac late at night. If you can get it under control with antacids then that at least confirms it’s part of a reflux type problem When you do need to get up to go, leave a night light on in the bathroom . Flipping on the overhead can be too much of a wake-up call and may make it harder to fall back to sleep. General discomfort When it happens. Throughout pregnancy, but especially in the second and third trimesters. Why it happen Dry eyes at night or in the morning can drive you to distraction. Instead focusing on your computer, a book, or the person you’re talking to, you might end up squinting through blurry vision or.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Finding The Right Medication
Certain medications can help keep your reflux symptoms to a minimum and prevent you from waking up with heartburn in the morning. However, as with any medication, there can be side effects, so its always a good idea to talk with your doctor before using anything to treat your symptoms, especially if you already use other medications.
In general, there are three kinds of medicine that are used to cut down on heartburn and reflux:
- Antacids: These often come in the form of chewable tablets that neutralize the acid in your stomach, and are best suited for calming symptoms as needed.
- H-2 Blockers: This type of medication slows the production of stomach acid, providing relief over a longer period rather than immediate symptom reduction.
- Proton pump inhibitors: PPIs are also used to reduce the production of stomach acid.
If you deal with frequent heartburn and acid reflux, you may be suffering from GERD. Before starting any kind of medication, be sure to talk to your doctor to decide what course of action might be best for you. Because medications can come with troubling side effects, it is also worth it to consider less invasive forms of relieving symptoms often, they can even be more effective.
Different Stages Of Sleep
A sleep cycle goes through stages that consist of two basic states: non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement sleep. Each stage of the cycle is vital to getting a good nights rest.
- Stage 1: This is a brief stage a sleep between being awake and fully asleep. This stage is characterized by slowed muscle activity.
- Stage 2: The second stage of sleep is when the body temperature drops, brain waves become slower, and the breathing and heart rate stay regular.
- Stage 34: The most restorative sleep occurs during these stages. The breathing slows down, the blood pressure drops, and activity stops in the muscles. Energy is restored and repair to tissue occurs. Hormones for growth and development are also released in this stage.
- Stage 5: The only stage of REM sleep is stage 5. Breathing becomes rapid and irregular. The heart rate increases and the blood pressure rises. This stage gives energy to the body and the brain as the muscles are even more relaxed. It is in this stage that dreams occur. Studies also suggest that REM sleep stimulates the part of the brain used for learning and memory.
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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.
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Additional Tips To Control Acid Reflux At Night
You can also make some lifestyle changes that may help you manage the occurrence of acid reflux at night and promote a well-rested night.
Some of these lifestyle recommendations include:
A doctor may also prescribe medications or recommend surgery to treat GERD when appropriate. Talk with your doctor about your symptoms so they can prescribe treatment or lifestyle recommendations to manage your condition and improve your sleep health.
If you have GERD, youre not sentenced to a lifetime of sleepless nights from acid reflux at night. By making simple tweaks to your sleeping positionchoosing the Incline + Left-Side sleepingyou can take control of your symptoms and get the recovery sleep everyone deserves.
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How To Combat Heartburn & Indigestion At Night
Going to bed or waking up with indigestion or heartburn can be very annoying and uncomfortable, and there can be several reasons why this might happen. So, if you find yourself starting the day with heartburn or you often get indigestion at night, here are some tips and advice for relieving the symptoms, or ways you can try to prevent these conditions from occurring in the first place.
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Best Sleep Position For Acid Reflux: Incline + Left
Sleeping on your back is generally not recommended for most people with GERD. You may also want to avoid sleeping on your right side. So whats the best way to sleep to reduce nighttime acid reflux?
What if you take the best sleeping position, the left side, and add an incline? Could the benefits be more than the sum of its parts?
A 2015 study suggests that this is indeed the case.
The compound inclined, the 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 can quickly return the contents to your stomach. This sleep position may decrease your GERD symptoms and protect you 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.
Find relief with the ideal position that maximizes the power of gravity and anatomy. Choose the MedCline Reflux Relief System, specifically designed to create and maintain the inclined, left-side position, clinically proven to be effective for natural relief from nighttime acid reflux or GERD.
Consider talking to your doctor if you experience symptoms that may be disturbing your sleep, who can best recommend treatment appropriate for your case.
Surprising Facts About Heartburn And Gerd
You may have experienced that burning sensation that signals heartburn after a large meal or if you eat right before bed. The cause is stomach acid leaking up into your esophagus, called acid reflux.
When heartburn happens frequently or is the cause of inflammation in your esophagus, itâs called gastroesophageal reflux disease . You might be surprised to learn that the cause isnât always food.
Here are 14 surprising facts about heartburn and GERD:
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Wake Up Gasping For Air
A good night’s sleep is important for daily performance. However, many people have some issues with sleep and may actually wake up several times a night, with or without some other symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, etc. Do you find that you often wake up breathless? There are a number of reasons why this may occur, ranging from simple nasal congestion to a life threatening condition such as heart failure. Read on to find out what may be causing this symptom and what you can do to alleviate it.
Indigestion And Heartburn In Pregnancy
Indigestion, also called heartburn or acid reflux, is common in pregnancy. It can be caused by hormonal changes and the growing baby pressing against your stomach.
You can help ease indigestion and heartburn by making changes to your diet and lifestyle, and there are medicines that are safe to take in pregnancy.
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