Left Side: Reduces Reflux
Sleep on your left side. Gravity will work in your favor on your left side as your stomach is now positioned below your esophagus, which makes reflux more difficult. Should stomach acid escape, gravity is able to return it to your stomach quicker than when on your right side or on your back which is why the left is usually the best side to sleep on to avoid acid reflux. Where the right side often produces liquid reflux, when on your left side, reflux symptoms tend to be more gaseous in nature 6, which may be annoying but much less distressing. Studies show that symptoms are less frequent and less severe when on your left side as compared to on your right side or on your back7 making it the most desirable flat sleep position.
Tip 1 For Nighttime Heartburn Relief: Elevate Head And Chest
For people who sleep on their back, heartburn symptoms may occur if stomach acid leaks from the stomach back into the esophagus as they lay down. In these cases, one can try to reduce their symptoms by using gravity and elevating the head and chest higher than the lower abdomen.
Using specifically designed wedge pillows is one way to keep the upper body more upright during the night. Alternatively, you can try raising the upper half of the bed slightly by safely placing cinder blocks, bricks, or wood beams under the head of the bed.
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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When To See A Gastroenterologist
Sometimes its difficult to know when your symptoms are severe enough that you need to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, and we understand that. Here are some indications that its time to call a gastroenterologist:
- Symptoms that continue for more than two weeks
- Heartburn that persists after taking over-the-counter medications
- Heartburn episodes that change in frequency or intensity
- Nighttime symptoms that affect your sleep quality
- Acid reflux that interferes with your daily activities or affects your quality of life
- Unexplained weight loss or decreased appetite
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Heartburn accompanied by nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic hoarseness or wheezing
If you experience any of the symptoms above, its time to see one of our gastroenterologists. After performing a complete medical exam, your gastroenterologist may recommend that you undergo an upper endoscopy to evaluate your symptoms and see if you have suffered any damage to your esophagus, or provide you with the peace of mind that everything is all right. During your visit, the doctor will examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach and duodenum to determine the cause of your digestive symptoms and the appropriate treatment.
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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Otc Medicines For Heartburn
If changes to your lifestyle don’t ease your nighttime heartburn, over-the-counter medications may do the trick, Cheskin says. The tried and true treatments — the ones your mom always gave you — are antacids, which neutralize the acid in the stomach. These include liquids like Maalox or Mylanta, and solid tablets like Rolaids or Tums. “They can be very effective,” Cheskin says, “but the problem is that you have to take them more frequently, since they only last a couple of hours.”
But Spechler is skeptical. In cases of GERD that are bad enough to require them, he thinks that medicine is usually more effective and easier to live with. “Frankly,” Spechler says, “unless the condition is especially severe, or there’s some very compelling reason why a person shouldn’t take medicine, I don’t see any reason to torture patients with very tight dietary restrictions or elevating the head of the bed.”
Studies show that over-the-counter medications can help with symptoms in 60% to 70% of people with chronic heartburn or GERD.
Elevate Your Head In Bed
Keeping your head up while sleeping can be useful in preventing the symptoms of acid reflux. You should keep your head at least 6 to 8 inches elevated during sleep to prevent acid reflux. An elevated head maintains the gravity and prevents acid reflux. You can use some pillows or adjustable devices to keep your head elevated while sleeping.
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What Are My Options If These Treatments Don’t Work
If a person continues to have heartburn, a health care professional may recommend adding a drug such as metoclopramide . This drug empties food and acid quickly from the stomach so less can back up into the esophagus. Reglan also helps tighten the lower esophageal sphincter.
If a person still have symptoms, a health care professional will then recommend one of the drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Examples of these drugs are omeprazole , lansoprazole , esomeprazole , rabeprazole , and pantoprazole . These tablets prevent the stomach from secreting acid. They are very effective and are typically taken only once a day. These drugs usually are prescribed if other drugs have not helped. They may have to be used indefinitely.
What Is Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
People use the terms heartburn and acid reflux to mean the same thing. But they have different definitions:
- Acid reflux refers to the LES not tightening as it should. This allows the stomach acid to travel from your stomach up to your esophagus.
- Heartburn, the feeling of pain or burning in your chest, is a symptom of acid reflux.
Women may have acid reflux during pregnancy and experience heartburn due to changing hormone levels and the baby growing.
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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:
Your Microbiome Is Out Of Balance
Certain foods we eat, including processed meats, red meat, dairy products and sweets, can disrupt the balance of bacteria in our microbiome, leading to more “bad” than “good,” Gans says, which can lead to bloating.
Fix it:“Adding fermented foods, such as kimchi, miso and sauerkraut, may help balance your microbiome,” Gans says, although she admits these foods can be difficult to fit into your everyday diet, especially for those who don’t enjoy them.
If, for whatever reason, fermented foods aren’t in the cards for you, Gans suggests taking a postbiotic, like EpiCor, a fermentate ingredient made from plant materials, to help balance your gut bugs.
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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.
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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Pharmacy First Scotland: Indigestion Treatment From Your Pharmacy
Most people will not need to seek medical advice for their indigestion. However, your pharmacist may advise you see your GP if you have recurring indigestion and any of the following apply:
- you are 55 years old or over
- you have lost a lot of weight without meaning to
- you have increasing difficulty swallowing
- you have persistent vomiting
- you have a lump in your stomach
- you have blood in your vomit or blood in your stools
An endoscopy is a procedure where the inside of the body is examined using an endoscope .
Severe indigestion can cause long-term problems with parts of your digestive tract, such as scarring of the oesophagus or the passage from your stomach. Read more about the possible complications of severe indigestion.
Prone To Heartburn At Night Here Are 4 Ways To Avoid It
Youre tossing. Youre turning. And your chest is achy and burning. The haunt of nighttime heartburn strikes again, robbing you of the solid nights rest you need. Ugh, why did I eat those nachos right before bed?!
If youve ever experienced nighttime heartburn, you know that it can be quite a nightmare. Not only are you suffering through those uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms, but youre also losing precious shut-eye, which can leave you groggy and tired the next day.
Why Is Heartburn More Common at Night?
Acid reflux occurs when the digestive acid thats naturally in your stomach backs up into the esophagusa condition that can often be caused by heartburn-triggering food and eating habits. Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux.
Heartburn is more common at night because when youre lying down you dont have gravity to pull the acid down and keep it in your stomach, which is why many people experience nighttime symptoms, says Roshini Raj, MD, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Health and co-founder of healthy living brand Tula.
Tips to Avoid Nighttime Heartburn
Experiencing heartburn at night can affect how well you sleep. Sleep deprivation is associated with a whole host of health issues, so you really want to make sure youre doing everything you can to ensure a good nights sleep, says Dr. Raj. Here are Dr. Rajs tips on how to deal with nighttime heartburn.
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How To Relieve Heartburn At Night
Waking up with heartburn in the middle of the night? Youre not alone. Studies show about 20 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from heartburn at least once a week, and among those, 75 percent experience heartburn at night. The discomfort of having heartburn at night often results in problems falling or staying asleep. Learn about the possible causes and treatment options for heartburn.
Waking Up With Heartburn At Middle Of The Night Here Are Some Solutions
Why Do You Want To Recommend this Blog?
Heartburn is the common symptoms among many of us. It is generally due to underlying acid peptic diseases like gastritis, gastro oesophageal reflux diseases, barret oesophagus and so on. Heartburn is commonly seen at early morning or late night. Sometimes, the symptom of heartburn is so terribling that it makes us awake at the middle of the night.
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How To Sleep With Acid Reflux
Nights are a different story, even with the best bedtime rituals. And, depending on how you are sleeping, your esophagus can actually be below your stomach allowing acid to freely flow out and then just sit in your esophagus, lungs, throat, and sinuses. This is not good for your body. Over time acid pooling in your esophagus can cause severe damage, such as peptic ulcers, strictures, and in more extreme cases Barretts Esophagus. In fact, if you have acid reflux at night, there is an 11-fold increased risk of developing esophageal cancer than those without nighttime acid reflux2.
You dont have to sleep sitting up to take advantage of gravity and anatomy at night. You arent a giraffe after all. How you sleep can directly affect how often you feel symptoms, how bad 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.
Big Meals And Eating Certain Foods
The occasional episode of acid reflux may also just be the result of a little more acid production than usual perhaps brought on by a particularly large meal or your sensitivity to certain foods.
And if you lie down before all your food is digested, you run the risk of having some of that excess acid leak through the sphincter.
Regardless of the cause of your acid reflux, lying down whether its at night or during the day is bound to worsen symptoms and prolong the time it will take your body to digest your food completely.
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What Can You Do About Your Heartburn
A good rule of thumb is to seek medical attention if you have more than two episodes of heartburn a week especially if you notice difficulty swallowing, weight loss or anemia, Dr. Gabbard says.
Your doctor may help you lose weight or adjust your medications.
A change in blood pressure medicine may help reduce your heartburn symptoms, for instance. Or your doctor may suggest a proton pump inhibitor such as Prilosec OTC® or Nexium® to help control your GERD.
If your heartburn is worse at night, changing your sleeping position may help. Dr. Gabbard recommends using a body pillow or sleep-positioning device that helps keep you on your left side with your head elevated.
Finally, he has a warning for men over 50 who have chronic heartburn.
If at least two of these conditions apply you are Caucasian, have abdominal obesity, are a former or current smoker you may have a higher risk for Barretts esophagus, a precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.
Even if you are feeling fine, you should see your doctor. He or she may recommend a one-time scope examination to make sure there are no signs of the condition.
There is no pill to strengthen and restore your sphincter muscle to its younger days. But you can work with your doctor to reduce that burning sensation as you age.