Acid Reflux Sleeping Positions
You dont have to sleep sitting upright to take advantage of the effects of gravity and anatomy on the occurrence of GERD. Still, how you sleep can directly affect how often you feel symptoms, how severe those symptoms are, and how long the acid sits in your esophagus.
The good news is that you can drastically change your nights by changing the way you sleep. But first, consult with your doctor if you suspect you have GERD or any other condition that may be disturbing your sleep.
How To Treat Nighttime Heartburn Symptoms
For nighttime heartburn relief, elevate your head and chest upright in bed, lie on your left side, or try standing up. Raising your upper body can naturally help the stomach acid move down the digestive system and reduce heartburn symptoms.
If occasional heartburn symptoms persist, they can be treated with over the counter medications, such as PEPCID®. PEPCID® is a Histamine-2 blocker, with the active ingredient famotidine, which can help relieve heartburn by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. It works fast and will help to control acid all night*. If you do not have OTC heartburn medications readily available, learn more about easy ways to manage with at-home heartburn remedies.
Youre Eating Your Veggies Raw
While raw veggies can be very healthy and packed with nutrients, Adams warns that they take longer and are more difficult to digest than other foods.
“Eating them at night, like in a salad, can lead to lots of bloating in the lower small intestine, which is usually the most painful or uncomfortable area to experience bloating,” he says.
Fix it: Adams recommends cutting back on raw veggies in the afternoon and evening hours or cooking them so they cause less bloat at the end of the day.
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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.
Sleep On An Incline And On Your Side
When you sleep on an incline, theres a drastic reduction in acid exposure and acid clearance time . And when you sleep on your side, relief comes more quickly than sleeping on your stomach or back. Sleeping on your left side means fewer reflux episodes, while sleeping on your right side allows your stomach to empty more quickly: this is why many people choose to use a specialized acid reflux pillow.
Currently, the only sleep system that keeps you comfortably on an incline and on your side is a heartburn pillow from MedCline. With its 3-part construction, youll rest in the best sleeping position for reflux that helps alleviate the worst symptoms. Your esophagus will have some time to heal and youll have better rest without experiencing reflux disturbances or heartburn in the morning.
Keep in mind that some incline products like wedge pillows and bed risers only prop you up at an angle without securing you on your side. If you roll onto your back, youre not optimally positioned for reflux relief. Or, if you slide down the bed or off the pillow, you wont have the benefit of gravity to help reduce acid exposure.
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What Can I Eat That Wont Give Me Heartburn While Pregnant
Soups, smoothies, yogurt, milkshakes, protein shakes, and puddings are good choices. Look for liquids that offer plenty of protein, such as milk and drinkable yogurt, and aim to make solids a little less so: chew solid foods slowly and extremely well, until theyre almost liquefied, Brandeis adds.
Gerd And Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Research has also identified a link between GERD and obstructive sleep apnea , a sleep disorder that involves blockage of the airway that incites pauses in breathing during sleep. Debate exists among experts about whether GERD causes OSA, OSA causes GERD, or if they simply share similar risk factors.
It is possible that GERD affects the airway and ability to breathe normally, causing more apneas during the night. At the same time, people with OSA wake up frequently at night and may then detect GERD symptoms. Lack of sleep from OSA may make the esophagus more susceptible to reflux.
In addition, factors like alcohol consumption, smoking, and obesity can increase risk for both GERD and OSA, so the correlation between the conditions may be a result of these factors.
While the exact relationship between GERD and OSA is subject to further research, it is clear that the conditions can occur together and create significant complications for a persons sleep, comfort, and overall health.
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And Then Theres Yoga For Acid Reflux Yes Yoga
Yoga acid reflux treatment for seniors
I saw CNNs program Chasing Life, in which its health expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta travels to countries where people live exceptionally long and healthy lives and tries to learn what enables them to do so.
In India, Dr. Gupta interviewed its prime minister, Narendra Modi, who practices and promotes yoga. During the interview, he demonstrated a yogic treatment for acid reflux.
Strange as it seems, this is it. All I can tell you is that Ive used it five times, four while lying on my side about to go to sleep, when I felt a reflux attack coming on. It worked.
My first try, I breathed three times, the second four, the third seven. The fourth time, I inhaled and exhaled about nine times.
I have no idea why this should have worked. But it did. Every time. Next time you feel an acid reflux attack coming on, give it a try.
Worst case, it wont work and you can pop an antacid as usual.
There are many approaches to yoga and heartburn on the Internet. Although I did a form of yoga over forty years ago, most of what Ive looked at is more yoga than I feel like doing these days. That doesnt mean you cant try them. It would be best to join a yoga group and get proper instruction.
Avoid Eating Before Bed
Night-time heartburn is heartburn that occurs at night, and 79% of weekly heartburn sufferers may experience it.1 When you are upright, gravity helps keep stomach acid in the stomach where it belongs, but when you lie down at night, it can become easier for stomach acid to push past your lower esophageal sphincter and leak into your esophagus.
For many people, night-time heartburn can be more disruptive than the symptoms they experience throughout the day. Night-time heartburn can make it hard to fall, and stay, asleep.
Suffering from night-time heartburn, even once a week, can cause fatigue, decrease productivity at work, and overall impact to your daily life. This type of heartburn also has been linked to increased snoring.
To manage your night-time heartburn, consider making changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as avoiding eating before bed or sleeping with your upper body slightly elevated.2
Antacids like TUMS work quickly to bring you heartburn relief. Keep a bottle beside your bed, so you can get back to sleep faster. Take medication at night in an upright position, before lying down to resume sleep. If your night-time heartburn doesnt improve, you may want to talk to your doctor about Nexium 24HR , a proton pump inhibitor that requires only one pill for all day and night relief.3
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Nightime Heartburn: The Risks Of Gerd And Barretts
7 mins readQuotesIf your symptoms are worse after you eat a certain food, fried foods can cause acid reflux and exacerbate existing symptoms, is the most common symptom of GERD, Avoid foods that may cause acid reflux, 2017, but not all cases of GERD involve heartburn, which includes episodes that occur several times a week or several times a day, various spine
Can I Die From Acid Reflux In My Sleep
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!
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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.
What Is The Treatment For Heartburn
The health care professional will recommend treating heartburn in a stepwise fashion. For mild or occasional symptoms, simple lifestyle modifications may be enough. The next step is nonprescription antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, or Rolaids. Other treatments include acid blockers and even surgery. In most cases, one or more of these treatments provide relief from heartburn and prevent it from turning into a more serious disease.
I take nonprescription antacids for heartburn, but they don’t seem to help.
Nonprescription antacids are only part of the treatment for heartburn. They can work very well, but these antacids alone usually can’t stop heartburn. A health care professional will probably recommend that the patient make lifestyle changes in addition to other treatments.
What kind of lifestyle changes and remedies can I make to reduce heartburn?
Try any or all of the following:
Will these changes stop the heartburn?
They may. If they don’t, adding a nonprescription antacid can be helpful.
How do antacids work?
What if lifestyle changes and antacids don’t work?
If a person still has symptoms after lifestyle modifications and antacids, a health care professional probably will prescribe a stronger drug. The usual choice is one of the histamine-2 blockers, or acid blockers. These drugs block the biochemical process that creates acid in the stomach.
What are acid blockers?
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When Should You Talk To Your Doctor About Heartburn
Have a conversation with your doctor as soon as you start noticing heartburn symptoms that recur often, since they may indicate youre experiencing GERD or another disorder. If youre unable to manage your symptoms with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication, talk to your doctor about the next steps. If you are experiencing pain in your chest, seek medical intervention immediately to rule out any other illnesses.
Side Effects Of Medicine
Nausea is a side effect of many medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. Some of these don’t affect the GI tract, but rather neural pathways that can be associated with feelings of nausea. These include, but aren’t limited to:
If you’re asking yourself, “why do I feel nauseous at night?”, and you recently started taking one of these medicines shortly before bed, that’s the likely culprit. Talk with your doctor about alternative options, such as adjusting dosage size and frequency or switching medications. You may also start taking your medicine with food, unless you specifically need to take it on an empty stomach.
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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.
Prefer Natural Solutions To Your Heartburn
You may find that natural lifestyle changes can reduce your heartburn.
- Watch what you eat give fatty foods a pass.
- Watch when you eat late-night meals are a no-no.
- Watch how much you eat we all overdo it from time to time, especially at large family celebrations. But if you do, get ready to pay the price.
- Watch your weight obesity increases your risk for heartburn
- Ditch or at least moderate your alcohol and caffeine intake.
If your heartburn is frequent, try raising the head of of your bed. Its got to be a least six to eight inches. Just piling up pillows is not effective and may be uncomfortable. You have to lift your torso, not just your head.
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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.
Common Triggers For Acid Reflux
A little too much wine, BBQd ribs, a late-evening coffee and I know Im in for heartburn the moment I lie down to sleep.
The Mayo Clinic says some of the most common triggers for acid reflux are:
- Even taking a single salicylic acid tablet .
Although there are many common acid reflux triggers, everybody is different.
My son, who started having reflux a few years back when he was in his mid 50s, finds that tea is a trigger, as are some cookies, fatty fish like salmon and soya ice cream . And while he can tolerate a beer, red wine is out.
How about you? What are your reflux triggers?
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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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Why Do I Only Get Heartburn At Night During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the placenta produces a large amount of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the smooth muscles of the uterus. Progesterone also relaxes the valve that separates your esophagus from your stomach, allowing gastric acids to seep back up. This is what causes that uncomfortable burning sensation.
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