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Why Is Heartburn Worse At Night

Blood Type Does Dictate The Acid In The Stomach

How to fix Heartburn (GERD) at Night. Acid Reflux at Night Causes

Blood Type A’s are natural vegetarians. What that means is that they do not naturally digest meats as well as other blood types. For example, Blood Type O’s can digest meat, especially red meat better, and actually thrive on red meat.

In addition eating heavy protein meals, like chicken or turkey at night could cause acid reflux later on in the night, or even during sleep.

While Trying To Sleep

The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders note that 79% of individuals with GERD experience symptoms after bedtime.

As many as 75% of those with the condition say the symptoms have an effect on their sleep, and 40% claim the loss of sleep affects their ability to function when they get up.

While GERD influences sleep, sleep deprivation also has an impact on GERD. A lack of sleep can cause increased sensitivity to acid in the esophagus.

A person with acid reflux after bedtime may have more acute symptoms than a person experiencing it mainly during the day.

This combination of sleep disturbances and more severe symptoms means that experiencing acid reflux while trying to sleep can worsen the quality of life for people with the condition.

Tips For Nighttime Heartburn Relief

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 thats at least 6 to 10 inches thick on one end. Dont 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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Does Acid Reflux Keep You Up At Night

People with acid reflux disease often feel that their symptoms get worse during the night. Some people wake up in the middle of the night due to regurgitation, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes choking. However, the symptoms depend on how far through the esophagus. The symptoms of acid reflux get worse during the night due to the following reasons:

The stomach acid secretion is usually 2 to 3 times higher at night compared to the day time. As a result, more gastric contractions occur during the night, which ultimately leads to acid reflux.

Most people sleep in an inappropriate position, like lying o the back. In this position, no gravity can hold up the acid in the stomach. Due to lack of gravity, the stomach acid backflows into the esophagus and stays there for some time, which ultimately results in acid reflux symptoms.

Swallowing saliva during the night is important for the acid in the esophagus to go back into the stomach. Some people don’t swallow the saliva, and this causes acid reflux symptoms. The saliva secreted by the mouth contains bicarbonate that plays an important role in the neutralization of stomach acid and changes the esophageal acid’s pH back to normal.

Why Is Acid Reflux Gerd Worse At Night Time

DOCTOR’S VIEWS ARCHIVE

A viewer wants to know why his acid reflux usually is worse at nighttime?

Dr. Marks:Acid reflux is worse at night for three reasons. First, the concentration of acid in the stomach is higher at night. Second, in the lying position, it is easier for acid to reflux and to remain in the esophagus., Gravity does not take the acid back down into the stomach. Third, while we are sleeping, we don’t swallow. Swallowing is important because it carries the acid that has refluxed into the esophagus back into the stomach. When we swallow we also carry saliva through the esophagus and into the stomach. Saliva contains bicarbonate, which neutralizes and counters the acid in the esophagus.

The published answers represent the opinions and perspectives of the doctors and pharmacists of MedicineNet.com and are for educational purposes only. They should not be used to replace or substitute for timely consultation with your doctor. Accuracy of information cannot be guaranteed.

Please remember, information can be subject to interpretation and can become obsolete.

Back to Doctors’ Dialogue Index

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What Are Some Ways To Sleep Better With Heartburn

Creating a sleep hygiene routine that is easy and comfortable to follow may also help improve your sleep. Taking steps such as setting a sleep schedule, creating a quiet, dark bedroom environment, and avoiding eating in the hours before you go to sleep might help. Choose pajamas that are loose around the waist to prevent any restriction around the stomach that could impact your heartburn symptoms.

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.

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Avoid Eating Before Bed Time

Don’t eat and drink anything three hours before bedtime. The foods that should be especially avoided before going to bed are late-night snacks, late-night dinner, and drinking beverages . , therefore eating anything in the late-night hours can be troublesome. Avoiding the habit of late-night eating can reduce the symptoms of acid reflux to a large extent.

Do I Need To Visit My Doctor About My Heartburn

Jingeshkumar Patel, MD – Why is my heartburn worse at night?

If youre experiencing heartburn every once in a while, youre probably ok to go without a visit to Cary Gastroenterology. There are over the counter medications you can take that should give you relief pretty quickly. Over the counter medications are not intended for long term use and, should you find yourself taking them frequently, you should do so under the supervision of a physician. If you start to notice that youre experiencing the pain more often or that its getting increasingly more uncomfortable, make an appointment to come see us. There are a number of things we can recommend that dont require medication, including weight loss, an adjustment in diet and exercise, changes in medications, and even different sleeping positions.

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Why Do You Get Reflux More At Night

You may experience more reflux at night than during the day. The reason for this is gravity. When you sit or stand, gravity helps move the food through your esophagus and into the stomach. When youâre laying down, you lose the effect of gravity on the food traveling through your digestive system. Laying down also prevents gravity from keeping bile and acids from traveling up into the esophagus, causing heartburn. Because of this, many people find their heartburn is worse at night.

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.

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How To Ease Acid Reflux At Night

Many people with an under par digestion find that symptoms of acid reflux keep them awake at night. To help ease these symptoms I’ve compiled a list of dos’ and don’ts.Do:

  • Incline the head of your bed
  • Sleep on your left side
  • Keep a food diary
  • Sleep on your back or right side
  • Eat in the three hours preceding bedtime
  • Wear tight clothes
  • Hunch

Throughout the blog I explore these themes in more detail, plus offer some remedies to help.

If I Have Heartburn Should I See My Health Care Professional

That depends. If a person has heartburn more than three times a week for at least two weeks, he or she should see a health care professional. On the other hand, if a person only has occasional bouts of heartburn, he or she may find that taking nonprescription antacids and making some simple changes in lifestyle can resolve the heartburn. If these measures do not help, then a visit to a health care professional is warranted.

If a person has any of these symptoms, with or without heartburn, call a doctor or go to a hospital emergency department right away:

  • Throwing up blood or passing blood in bowel movements
  • Severe pain, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Difficulty swallowing

With proper understanding of the condition and treatment, relief can be attained.

When I have chest pain, how can I tell whether it is my heart or just heartburn?

Sometimes a person cant tell the difference. Just like chest pain from the heart, heartburn sometimes spreads from the chest to the jaw, shoulders, arms, or back. If a person has chest pain for any reason, seek medical care immediately.

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Do Certain Foods Cause Heartburn

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.

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.

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What Can I Drink To Relieve Heartburn

There are several beverages that you can drink to get some heartburn relief. Herbal teas help improve digestion and soothe stomach issues. Some teas are a great relief for gas and nausea.

Caffeine-free herbal teas are the best for acid reflux. However, it is advised to avoid peppermint and spearmint because these may be triggers to acid reflux.

Chamomile, licorice, slippery elm, and marshmallow may be best for heartburn and help soothe GERD symptoms.

Some people say that milk helps them. However, cows milk is very hard to digest for many people, especially ones who want to know how to get rid of heartburn. It can contain a lot of fat and could make your heartburn worse. Fruit juice is also suggested to help with heartburn. However, many fruit juices are acidic and will make heartburn worse.

The less acidic juices are carrot juice, aloe vera juice, cabbage juice, and freshly juiced drinks like beets, watermelon, and pear juice. If these beverages do not help with your heartburn, there are several ways to treat heartburn and many ways to prevent it.

How Does Heartburn Impact Sleep

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Research shows that over 60% of people suffering from heartburn or another reflux-related disease report disruptions in their sleep. People with heartburn symptoms are often unable to comfortably fall into a sleep state or are unable to stay asleep due to the painful, burning sensation in their chest.

40% of people with heartburn and sleep issues report that their sleep disruption directly impacts their overall functioning the following day. Heartburn may cause a cycle of poor sleep in which heartburn disrupts sleep, which increases fatigue. Fatigue increases unhealthy eating choices. These foods further increase heartburn symptoms, which increases stress and leads to even poorer sleep.

Once youre in the cycle of heartburn-related poor sleep, it can feel overwhelming. However, there are many ways you can reduce heartburn with small, daily lifestyle changes.

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How Acid Reflux Affects Your Sleep

So whats the connection between acid reflux and sleep? As I can attest, heartburn is usually worse at night, and that can make falling asleep more difficult. Most people are prone to acid reflux when they lie down, says Scott Huber, MD, gastroenterologist at the Institute for Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. When youre lying down, you dont have gravity to pull acid back down into your stomach the way you do when youre sitting or standing up, Huber explains.

According to an American Journal of Gastroenterology survey of 1,000 people with heartburn at least once a week, 79% of respondents said they experience heartburn at night. Three-quarters of nighttime heartburn sufferers said heartburn affected their sleep, while 63% said they believed heartburn negatively impacted their ability to sleep well, and 40% said they believed it made it harder to function the next day. Per the National Sleep Foundation, if you have acid reflux, you could very well wake up in the middle of the night with heartburnand you might even experience middle-of-the-night choking or coughing, depending on how far up your esophagus the acid travels.

Don’t Consume Foods And Drinks That Can Trigger The Reflux

Certain foods like coffee, tea, spicy food, meat, fish, oily food, milk products, and alcohol may trigger your symptoms of acid reflux. Consider avoiding these foods as they may lead to acid reflux and regurgitation. Instead, prefer foods that can suppress acid production, such as ginger, honey, peppermint, etc.

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Try Eating Like French People

If you suffer from heartburn after meals, then a few mealtime changes can help. The French can take up to 2 hours to eat a meal that an American can gobble down in 5 minutes. Thats why according to Healthgrades, the USA is #1 for heartburn.

  • Eat slowly
  • Talk to people while you eat
  • Take small bites
  • Chew well

Taking food in large sizes and quantities will lead to heartburn. Sit and relax after a meal to help reduce the risk of suffering from heartburn.

Does Heartburn Impact Mental Health

Heartburn symptoms can be distressing and painful. Although heartburn does not cause mental health disorders, there does appear to be a link between heartburn and an increase in depression and anxiety .

Heartburn symptoms can include chest pains. Heartburn patients report an increase in anxiety when experiencing chest pains. Depression and stress are known to impact the gastrointestinal system, and therefore may make heartburn worse. Additionally, heartburn can cause disruptions in sleep and there is evidence that poor sleep impacts mental health as well.

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Treating Severe Heartburn And Gerd

The newest — and most effective — class of heartburn drugs are the proton pump inhibitors. These work by blocking the effects of an enzyme that produces acid in the stomach. So far, only Prilosec OTC is available over-the-counter. Other proton pump inhibitors, such as Aciphex, Nexium, Prevacid, and Protonix, are available with a prescription from your doctor.

A lot of people find that one prescription medication on its own may not be enough. For severe GERD, Spechler says that you may need not only one to two daily doses of a proton pump inhibitor, but also a bedtime dose of an H2 receptor antagonist. You may need over-the-counter antacids, too. In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the problem that’s causing your symptoms. But surgery isn’t always a complete solution. Some people still wind up needing medication afterwards. Be sure you’re under a doctor’s care if you take heartburn drugs regularly. They can slightly increase the risk of pneumonia.

The key is to get treatment. If you have frequent nighttime heartburn — and lifestyle changes aren’t helping — see your doctor.

“In recent years, we’ve become more and more aware of GERD as a risk for much more serious conditions, even cancer,” says Cheskin. “It’s not just heartburn. So you shouldn’t be complacent about it until you have it checked out.”