Acid Reflux And Sleep
Heartburn is a painful and uncomfortable condition often caused by acid reflux. Unfortunately acid reflux often increases at night when you are trying to sleep. This is often due to the food you ate, when you ate, mixed with laying down to go to sleep. We are going to go over different lifestyle changes, as well as food and drink that you should avoid in order to stop experiencing acid reflux at night. There are even a few bedroom accessories that you can add to your bed in order to help sleep comfortably without heartburn.
Eat More Frequent Smaller Meals:
Many will say that you simply need to eat less food. However, if you are not over eating it may actually mean that you simply need to split up what you’re eating into smaller portions. Instead of having three full meals everyday, split up your eating into 5 or 7 eating periods throughout the day instead. Then eat smaller portions during those time frames.
This way you can eat the same amount of food throughout the day instead of over filling your stomach in one sitting. Which can lead to back up and stress on your digestive system. By eating smaller portions more frequently, it gives your body time to fully digest without over filling.
Don’t Eat Right Before Bed:
If you are eating smaller portions, like we suggested earlier. Then you might be able to get away with this. However, if you have a sensitive stomach and trouble with acid reflux. Then it is important to try and allow your body to fully digest food before you lay down to go to sleep.
After you eat a meal your stomach is full and actively producing gastric juices in order to digest your food. This is when you will be most likely to experience acid reflux, especially if you lay down afterword. Which is why we suggest eating small meals and sitting up while digesting for several hours before you plan to go to sleep.
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Positions To Sleep In To Avoid Acid Reflux:
Gravity can play a big role in how much acid reflux we experience. It is the main reason we always suggest sitting up instead of laying down while you are digesting your food. However, at some point you’re going to have to lay down to go to sleep. We have two sleeping positions that we suggest trying out if you struggle with acid reflux.
The first is on your left side instead of your right. With how our stomachs are angled in our bodies, sleeping on your left hand side will allow for your gastric juices to lay more comfortably in your stomach. While laying on your right hand side can cause gastric juices can make it’s way back up your esophagus causing acid reflux an heartburn.
The next position is laying on your back at an incline. There are several ways to comfortably accomplish this sleeping position. Adjustable bed frames have become very popular for this. While wedge shaped pillows work well too and are a more cost effective solution.
Avoid These Foods To Prevent Acid Reflux:
High Fat or Fried Foods
Rich foods that are high in fat content or are fried in fat tend to slow down the digestion process. Which leads to food staying in your stomach longer than other foods.
Which means you are more likely to experience acid reflux because the food is remaining in the stomach for a longer period. It also means if you choose to eat fatty foods you need to wait a longer period of time in order to digest it properly before you lay down to go to sleep.
When it comes to spicy food and acid reflux it is an all or nothing situation. If you rarely eat spicy food and have a plate of hot wings one night. Then you are likely going to experience a lot of pain and discomfort.
However, if you love spicy food and you eat it on a regular basis, the discomfort caused by capsaicin will subside with exposure. Which is why we either suggest avoiding spicy food all together, or eating it often enough to where you are no longer sensitive to it.
Foods High In Acid
Foods that are high in acid can cause a lot of discomfort and increase the acidic burns to your throat and esophagus when acid reflux occurs. Even healthy fruits and vegetables can be so high in acid that it is important to either eat them in small amounts with other foods or completely avoid them (especially before bed).
Tomatoes, pineapples, lemons, oranges, and limes are all very high in acid. Many tomato based products will also be high in acid like tomato based sauces and salsa’s you should also be wary of.
Drinks To Avoid Before Bed to Prevent Acid Reflux:
Alcoholic beverages can absolutely trigger acid reflux. However some may experience a lot of acid reflux from the smallest amount of alcohol. While others may be able to enjoy much more than others with only noticing very little change in their symptoms.
Overall limiting the amount of alcohol you consume should help most people who experience acid reflux, to lower their symptoms. Keep in mind that mixers and different types of alcohol may also contribute to your acid reflux as well. (acidic mixers, especially harsh alcohol, or acidic wine vs smooth sweet wine etc.)
Coffee & Tea
Coffee and black tea can both be difficult on your digestive system. Different types of coffee and tea can also be high in acidity. While high fat additives like heavy cream or whole milk can also increase your acid reflux.
If you are going to drink coffee or tea, we suggest doing so in the mornings and with food. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach before you eat food can be especially disruptive to your digestive system. So be sure to drink water and eat something before you have your coffee.
Most carbonated beverages are disruptive to your digestive system. Some claim that bubbles in carbonated drinks calm their stomach. However, with acid reflux burbs and added gases to your stomach is likely to bring gastrich juices with it. Leading to increased acid reflux symptoms.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) & Sleep:
If you have chronic acid reflux it could be that you have Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While occasional bouts of acid reflux are uncomfortable and painful, having acid reflux on a regular basis can cause a number of complications that should be addressed early or else it can lead to a lot of more severe health conditions.
Thankfully many of the treatments to avoid GERD symptoms are similar to the diet and lifestyle changes we have mentioned for treating acid reflux. If you believe you may be suffering from GERD, talk to your doctor for further guidance.
Esophagitis: Inflammation of the esophagus.
Esophageal stricture: Narrowing of the esophagus which can make it difficult to swallow.
Barrett’s esophagus: This is when the calls that make up the lining of the esophagus change. They can mutate into cells that are similar to the lining of your intestine.
Esophageal Cancer: Barrett’s esophagus can continue to change and mutate into cancer cells.
Best Sleep Products To Ease Acid Reflux:
Adjustable Bed Frame
Many different companies are making their own versions of the adjustable base frame now. This is because they have become a very popular luxury bedroom item. Not only can they be used for helping relieve medical conditions like acid reflux, restless leg syndrome, or snoring.
It is also a comfortable and fun way to sit up in bed to read, watch tv, or simply lounge. Many come with a number of other comfort features, like massage zones. This can be a great addition to your bedroom if sitting at an incline helps to ease your acid reflux.
Click to learn more about the Pros & Cons of Adjustable Bases
Similar to adjustable bases, wedge pillows are useful for preventing acid reflux by comfortably supporting the sleeper at an inclined position. However, wedge pillows have a significantly lower price tag.
You can continue sleeping in the mattress and bed frame of your choice with a low cost addition of a wedge pillow that you can easily use or remove at your comfort. Allowing you to sleep at a comfortable incline in order to reduce acid reflux.
Click to learn more about The Benefits of Wedge Pillows
Final Thoughts – Acid Reflux and Sleep:
What you may think of as just a bit of heartburn could be far more damaging to your body than you originally thought. It is important to not only treat the symptoms of acid reflux, but to also avoid it from happening all together. It can be especially difficult to keep acid reflux away as you sleep.
However, by changing what and when you eat a lot of acid reflux can be avoided. By sleeping on your left side or at an incline this can help your digestive system to function properly and avoid heartburn. We hope these tips and tricks help you to sleep better and avoid acid reflux at night!
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