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Why Do I Get Heartburn When I Lay Down

How To Sleep With Acid Reflux And Heartburn

Laying down after eating causes acid reflux symptoms.

Many people dont realize that the position you sleep in can directly affect your acid reflux symptoms at night. Anatomy and gravity play a significant role in heartburn symptom frequency, length, and severity, so learning how to sleep with acid reflux can offer up substantial relief.

In this post, well discuss the relationship between sleep and reflux symptoms, show you how to sleep with acid reflux, and share some tips for optimal sleeping with heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD. To navigate throughout the article, click on one of the links below, or read through for a comprehensive overview.

Anxiety Or Panic Disorder

Sometimes when a person experiences sudden overwhelming anxiety or fear, they may experience a panic attack. The individual may experience:

  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Some people experience extreme anxiety and the effects of anxiety can be disabling. There are available groups or one-on-one therapy that can teach you coping measures. Your doctor may also prescribe medications along with therapy.

Maintain A Moderate Weight

Obesity or overweight can influence the frequency of experiencing acid reflux. This is because extra weight, especially around the abdomen, can put pressure on the stomach and lead to acid spilling up into the esophagus.

Sometimes weight loss can help reduce symptoms. Speak to your doctor to see if they recommend this.

Read Also: Foods That Help Heartburn And Acid Reflux

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.

What Are The Health Consequences Of Gerd

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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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Which Side Do You Lay On To Relieve Heartburn

Due to gravity, the shape of the stomach, and the angle of the connection between it and the esophagus, sleeping on your left side can greatly reduce reflux . Another way to use gravity to help decrease nighttime GERD symptoms involves propping up the head section of the bed by about six inches.

Can Heartburn Go Away

However, if heartburn becomes more frequent, wont go away, or stops responding to OTC medications, it may be a sign of a more serious condition that should be addressed by your doctor. Keep reading to learn what might cause persistent heartburn and how to treat these conditions. Potential causes of persistent heartburn.

Also Check: What Is A Good Way To Get Rid Of Heartburn

Pros And Cons Of The Medcline Acid Reflux Pillow System

I highly recommend the MedCline Acid Reflux Pillow System for anyone with nighttime acid reflux. From my personal experience, I found it to be a great natural remedy for nighttime reflux symptoms like heartburn, regurgitation, coughing, sore throat, nausea and all those other horrible symptoms that go along with acid reflux and GERD.

The Acid Reflux Pillow System is the best of the MedCline products for those suffering from nighttime acid reflux symptoms. The system comes with the MedCline Therapeutic Body Pillow which I prefer over the Advanced Positioning Wedge pillow alone.

PROS of the MedCline Acid Reflux Pillow System:

  • It works! The MedCline Acid Reflux Pillow System puts you on an incline and locks you in on your left side to stop nighttime reflux.
  • Proven clinical studies that the MedCline wedge pillow system works.
  • Its comfortable once you get used to sleeping in the new position.
  • It also helps with snoring, sleep apnea, and shoulder pain. Unfortunately, I suffer from all of these.
  • The MedCline Therapeutic Body Pillow that comes with the Acid Reflux Pillow System helped with my lower back pain.
  • They give you 100 nights to try it out. If you arent happy they will refund your purchase price minus a 10% disposal fee.
  • Machine washable covers. They even have extra covers for sale.

CONS of the MedCline Acid Reflux Pillow System:

Tips For Nighttime Heartburn Relief

Chest Burning Sensation? Causes of heartburn

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.

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Sleeping On Your Back

If you have heartburn, you should avoid sleeping on your back at all costs. Basically, when acid escapes your stomach and you are sleeping on your back, it will be free to flow through the esophagus and not just flow, but even stay there.

Numerous studies have shown that this is definitely the worst sleeping position if you have heartburn. Not only will the symptoms be more severe, but they will also last longer.

Also, if you have stomach fat, it will push down on the acids inside your stomach, forcing them to escape.

If you are used to sleeping on your back, you should try to avoid that at least for a few days until the heartburn passes away. You should also check out the Heartburn No More website if you want to get rid of heartburn quickly.

Elevate Your Head In Bed

Keeping your head up is ideal if you experience acid reflux at night, says Huber. Piling up the pillows isn’t the best way to go about this, though, as pillows are liable to shift. An adjustable bed base might be a better option for you if you have acid reflux, says Huber. Adjustable bases make it easy to get into a sleeping position that will help mitigate symptoms.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Gerd

Heartburn, which involves a painful burning sensation in the chest, is the most common symptom of GERD, but not all cases of GERD involve heartburn.

Another common symptom of GERD is regurgitation, which means a small amount of stomach acid and sometimes bits of food come up into the mouth or back of the throat.

When leaks of stomach acid rise to the mouth and throat, it can cause coughing and a feeling of choking. It may cause a sore throat, including a hoarse voice. Some patients experience difficulty swallowing, known as dysphagia, or the feeling of something blocking their throat.

On top of the discomfort from heartburn, GERD can cause radiating chest pain that can affect the neck, back, jaw, or arms and last for minutes to hours. This symptom is frequently associated with nighttime awakenings for people with GERD.

Do Certain Activities Cause Heartburn

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High-impact sports, such as running, rowing, high intensity interval training, and powerlifting, as well as activities that are done while the body is inverted or flat, like swimming or yoga, can cause heartburn or make it worse . Heartburn is caused by a loosening of the lower esophageal muscle. Exercises that push the stomach or keep the body from being upright may contribute to heartburn and GERD.

Exercise is an important part of staying healthy. If you struggle with heartburn, opt for lower impact, upright activities, like walking, light jogging or easy cycling. If you prefer to engage in high-intensity workouts, it could help to adjust when you eat. Try to eat a few hours before your workout to prevent heartburn.

Also Check: Best Foods To Eat With Bad Heartburn

Incline And Left Side

When you combine all this info, it seems that sleeping on your left side while at the same time being propped up on an incline is the best possible position.

This is the best possible sleeping position if you suffer from heartburn. Your stomach acid will be almost unable to reach the esophagus since the stomach is below it, but even if it does, it will quickly go back down because you are on an incline.

What if you are used to sleeping on your back in a flat position? In this case, you have two choiceseither continue to suffer from heartburn or change your sleeping position. Note that you can apply this change for just a couple of days until the heartburn passes, and then you can return to your normal sleeping position.

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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Switching To A Better Side

When it comes to preventing acid reflux and heartburn, sleeping on the left side appears to be most beneficial. Studies have shown that left-side sleeping has a tendency to calm heartburn, perhaps because it keeps the LES above the level of acid in your stomach. Sleeping on your back is also preferential to right-side sleeping, especially if you use pillows to prop your head up.Of course, you arent always cognizant of your sleeping positionyou are unconscious, after all. Changing the side you sleep on is not always easy, but like any habit, you can adopt a better sleep position by making gradual changes until a better position becomes your new normal. If youre having trouble switching sides, try tips like:

  • Camping out on the couch. Though it might not seem like the most elegant solution, your sofa is likely much narrower than your bed, and this will make it difficult to sleep on your stomach. Spend a few nights sleeping on your left side on the couch, then transition back to bed.
  • Piling up the pillows. If you simply find left side sleeping uncomfortable, it might be time for a little more padding. Try hugging a pillow in front of you, or sleeping with one between your legs. There are even pillows made specifically for side sleepers, which may have special contours or an opening to slip your bottom arm through.

Is Gerd Keeping You Up At Night

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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:

Read Also: Cures For Heartburn And Indigestion

Instead Sleep At An Incline

A simple boost in elevation can produce positive results when it comes to nighttime acid reflux. Studies have shown that sleeping at an incline decreases the frequency of reflux episodes and allows your body to clear reflux at a quicker rate5.

As long as your entire torso is elevated, the incline gives gravity a little encouragement in its effort to return reflux to your stomach.

Preparing For Your Appointment

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What are your main symptoms? Report any symptoms, such as abdominal pain, a change in bowel habits, or vomiting.
  • How long have you had heartburn?
  • Have you had this problem before? If so, do you know what caused the problem at that time? How was it treated? How did you respond to that treatment?
  • Have you had any signs of bleeding from your digestive system?
  • Have you had any difficulty swallowing when you eat or drink?
  • How much tobacco do you use? How much alcohol do you drink? How much caffeine do you drink?
  • Has your weight increased or decreased more than 2 kg recently?
  • Have there been any changes in your diet? Are you eating certain foods more often?
  • Have there been changes in your daily schedule, such as when you eat and when you go to bed?
  • Are you taking any non-prescription or prescription medicines? Bring a list of all the medicines you are taking to your appointment.
  • What home treatment measures have you tried? Did they help? Be sure to include lifestyle changes you have made.
  • What non-prescription medicines have you taken or used to treat your heartburn? Did they help?
  • Do you have any health risks?

Remember to take your heartburn symptom record to your doctor visit. Be sure to note any lifestyle changes you have made or non-prescription medicines you use.

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Don’t Lay Flat When You Sleep

Lying down flat presses the stomach’s contents against the LES. With the head higher than the stomach, gravity helps reduce this pressure.

You can elevate your head in a couple of ways:

  • Place bricks, blocks, or anything that’s sturdy and securely under the legs at the head of your bed,
  • Use a wedge-shaped pillow under your head and shoulders.

Positions You Should Avoid To Prevent Nighttime Heartburn

Why Do I Get Upper Back Pain When Lying Down?

HomeBySteve Hood

Disclosure: I am compensated for purchases made through some links on this site. .

If youre like the millions of people suffering from heartburn at night, you probably dread laying down each night fearing what your night will bring. Nighttime heartburn can also be accompanied by other painful symptoms, such as coughing, choking, regurgitation, sore throat and even chronic sinus issues.

People searching for relief from nighttime acid reflux often turn to OTC or prescription heartburn medicine. These medications work for some but not for others. With the recent research linking PPIs to serious side effects, such as bone fractures, kidney failure, heart disease, pneumonia, Clostridium difficile, dementia, Alzheimers, and increased mortality risk, many people are searching for natural remedies for nighttime reflux.

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Heartburn: Nothing To Do With The Heart

Occasional heartburn is among the commonest of symptoms. Ask any group of adults if they have had heartburn in the last year, and a third will put up their hands.

There are a number of things you can do to avoid simple heartburn that occurs now and then.

It is important to distinguish simple heartburn from long-standing heartburn that keeps recurring. This could be a sign of an underlying condition such as gastroesophageal reflux disease .

If the heartburn is frequent, or persistent its important to see a doctor so that you receive an accurate diagnosis and the right treatment.

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