Chronic acid reflux is one of the main causes of sleep disturbance in middle-aged Americans. Awakened by the radiating pain of heartburn, many individuals who’ve been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or have been suffering the symptoms, are more likely to experience debilitating insomnia and daytime fatigue.
In fact, the National Sleep Foundation says that adults who do not seek treatment for acid reflux and heartburn have a greater chance of suffering from ailments like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. The main culprit in GERD patients is the backflow of stomach acids into the esophagus and throat – a problem that is painfully exacerbated when lying down at night.
If you’re one of the 15 million American adults who grapple with symptoms of heartburn and GERD, consider the following advice for some nighttime relief.
Acid reflux & sleeping problems – 7 tips for relief
Sleep on your left side – Doctors say this position is the most comfortable in that it reduces chances of acid reflux. Sleeping on your right side relaxes the esophageal sphincter, allowing gastric acids to come up.
Avoid sleeping on your back – this is particularly relevant if you’re very overweight, as obese individuals are more likely to suffer heartburn as stomach pressure pushes acids up the esophagus.
Wear loose, comfortable clothes to bed – Avoid any garments that are tight-fitting, especially around the waistline, which can put added pressure on your stomach.
Elevate the head of your bed – at least 6 to 9 inches to help prevent gastric acids from refluxing. This can be achieved with an adjustable power bed or using a special, wedge shaped pillow that gently lifts your upper body.
Avoid late night meals – It’s no secret that late-night meals or heavy snacks can lead to painful bouts of heartburn. Give your digestive system plenty of time to work and allow at least 3 to 4 hours after dinner before heading to bed.
Give up smoking – the smoke from cigarettes is a known irritant to the GI lining, and only adds to painful GERD symptoms.
Keep a food journal — that tracks foods and beverages that trigger your heartburn symptoms. Known culprits may include highly acidic foods, meals heavy in spices, onions, sodas, alcoholic drinks and deep-fried foods. Avoid these acid reflux triggers to enjoy a more restful night’s sleep.
Best mattress for heartburn & acid reflux
There’s no doubt that acid reflux and heartburn can greatly reduce your quality of sleep, which has a ripple effect on the rest of your life. To learn more about beds that can help mitigate your symptoms, come see the Sleep Specialists at Mattress World Northwest. Customers may benefit greatly from adjustable mattress bases that can be elevated just the right amount for uninterrupted sleep.