People often experience heartburn at night while they were asleep. As per a study, as many as 1 in every 4 Americans may suffer heartburn at night. It is also estimated that around 7 million Americas suffer from GERD and 75% of them experience heartburn at night.
The meal you consume, flow through the esophagus (food pipe) down to the stomach. Lower esophagus sphincter (LES) is a muscle which connects esophagus and stomach. LES opens when you have a meal to let the food pass through to the stomach. As soon as food passes to the stomach, LES closes. It makes sure that stomach acid will remain in the stomach. Experts believe that while sleeping the LES gets relaxed and allows refluxing of stomach acid.
During the day time, you usually stand and gravity helps keep the stomach acids in the belly. But when you sleep, you lose the assistance of gravity and stomach acid easily flows backwards into the food pipe. Here are 5 simple tips for sleep to ease your heartburn at night:
1. Sleep in an Inclined Position
You may place 4 to 6-inches blocks under the bed posts at the head of the bed. This will elevate the head of your bed placing your head and chest higher than your feet. This will keep your stomach acid where it belongs. You can also sleep on a special wedge pillows designed to help you sleep in an inclined position.
2. Don’t eat immediately before sleep
To avoid heartburn while you sleep, don’t eat anything for at least 3 hours before bedtime. This will give food time to digest and acid levels to drop down.
When you lied down, gravity pulls the stomach acid in to your food pipe. So, be eating earlier, there will be less food to come back up and trigger heartburn.
There is no specific reason which triggers heartburn, there are different things that can cause heartburn. Lifestyle habits and food sensitivities are the common triggers for heartburn or acid reflux in majority of people. Foods which needs to be avoided to minimize the symptoms of heartburn include:
- Spicy Foods
- Fried foods
- Carbonated beverages
- Citrus fruits (acidic Fruits)
- Dairy Products
4. Sleep on your Left Side
Always sleep on your left side. That’s because sleeping on the right side will position your stomach high than your esophagus. This means that the stomach acid will tend to travel back up to the esophagus and can trigger heartburn.
Studies have also confirmed that sleeping on the left side helps with digestion, simply because of a quirk of the body’s design.
5. Wear Lose Cloth while sleeping
Always wear clothes in which you feel relaxed. Don’t wear clothes that are tight around your stomach, as it can lead to the heartburn.
Instead of wearing a pair of yoga pants and T-shirt, you shall try wearing a loose nightshirt or nightgown that doesn’t put pressure on your stomach.