How to Get a Better Quality of Sleep If You Have GERD
Sleeping is the best method of resting. For most people, a comfortable bed and pillow are all it takes to get the best quality of sleep possible. While this is true, the same cannot be said for people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD is more commonly known as acid reflux. It refers to when acid flows from the stomach back to the esophagus. Rare episodes of GERD aren’t by any means alarming, but frequent episodes are. It’s even worse if someone who has GERD experiences episodes frequently because it can become the sole obstacle towards getting good sleep. For this reason, it’s essential to understand everything there is to know about GERD, including its causes and treatments.
This article will shed some light on the subject of GERD and sleep. Read on below to learn more.
What Causes GERD in the First Place
The primary cause of GERD is the inability of the muscles located at the bottom of the esophagus to block stomach acid reflux. Aside from that, other factors also cause it to happen. These include:
- Dietary choices: Certain food and drinks can trigger reflux, such as spicy food, fatty food, chocolate, tomatoes, fruits with citrus, coffee, and carbonated beverages.
- Drinking Alcohol: Affects the processes that help empty the esophagus and stomach that help with acid indigestion.
- Hiatal Hernia: A condition where the stomach moves upwards in the body—specifically up the diaphragm and towards a position where reflux is made frequent.
- Obesity: GERD can happen to anyone, but they’re more evident in people who are overweight or obese. Until now, the reason why this is the case is still uncertain.
Why GERD Episodes Are Worse at Night
Episodes of GERD are a pretty bad experience in general, but it’s worse during the night for the following reasons:
- Gravity doesn’t keep stomach acid down since you’re lying on your back, which makes it easier for reflux to happen.
- If a person has GERD, swallowing is decreased during sleep. As a result, the force that pushes stomach acid downward will decrease as well.
- Saliva neutralizes stomach acid. For people with GERD, the production of saliva is reduced during deeper stages of sleep.
If these effects are combined, the event will cause stomach acid to leak into the esophagus, which lets the acid stay there for quite some time. As a result, GERD symptoms can worsen.
How People with GERD Can Sleep Better
GERD is a very unpleasant experience, especially since it gets in the way of restful sleep. The good news is that there are numerous ways to achieve this goal.
The first and foremost treatment option that people with GERD seek is that of the medical kind. GERD symptoms are all complex medical issues; this is where a doctor’s expertise will come in.
Doctors will treat GERD directly or indirectly by treating an underlying condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea. The goal of this treatment is to reduce the patient’s nighttime awakenings.
Even without medical assistance, you can lessen your symptoms by making adjustments to your daily routine. If you have GERD, certain aspects of your lifestyle must be changed to reduce the condition’s symptoms. The easiest ways to do so are:
- Exercising to maintain a healthy weight
- Not smoking
- Avoiding acidic and spicy foods
- Avoiding eating late at least three hours before going to bed (giving the stomach enough time to digest what you ate to reduce the chances of reflux)
- Sleeping on your left side to avoid exposing the esophagus to stomach acid
GERD is a serious condition that must not be left untreated. An untreated GERD only means that you won’t get a good quality of sleep, and there’s also the possibility of it evolving into worse conditions.
At Reflux Away, we understand the hardships of dealing with conditions such as acid reflux. Because of this, we offer various resources related to acid reflux treatment and possible treatment options for heartburn. Simply go to our website to get started!