Nightly Acid Reflux: What You Can Do to Stop It
Nighttime is supposed to be a time for sleep so that we may be able to perform our daily tasks the next day. We won’t be able to sleep if we experience nightly interruptions such as acid reflux and heartburn. Anyone who experiences acid reflux will significantly benefit if they change their dietary and overall lifestyle choices.
The simplest method to avoid acid reflux is to have dinner early instead of having it close to bedtime. Additionally, doctors also advise elevating the head on the bed slightly so that gravity can help prevent the food from backing up the esophagus.
However, it’s an entirely different story if a person experiences it multiple times a week. It’s also best to get it checked if it’s a common occurrence at night.
This article will discuss acid reflux at night—its causes, symptoms, and what can be done to stop it. Read on below to learn more.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is the burning sensation that a person can feel in the stomach, chest, and throat.
Other possible symptoms of acid reflux include:
- Chest pains
- Difficulty swallowing
If the condition happens regularly, it’s indicative of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Below are some explanations regarding why GERD is worse at night:
- Gravity no longer helps keep the stomach acid down, which allows reflux to happen easier.
- Decreased swallowing during sleep reduces the force that pushes stomach acid down.
- Saliva production is lessened during deep sleep (saliva helps neutralize stomach acid).
- A combination of the above effects.
The weakening of the esophageal sphincter is also a significant factor as to why acid reflux happens. The sphincter is a muscle that’s like a valve that allows swallowed food to enter the stomach. If the sphincter is weak, it may not function properly, which allows reflux to happen.
What Weakens the Sphincter
Several factors can weaken the sphincter. These include:
- Hiatal hernia
- Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and those used to treat depression.
Getting Better Sleep
While it can be challenging, there are some ways that those who experience acid reflux can still get better sleep.
A person can ease their acid reflux when sleeping through the following methods:
- Elevating the bed’s head by 6 to 8 inches. Alternatively, using bigger pillows will also work.
- Avoid lying down for two to three hours after a meal.
- Eat smaller meals instead of heavy ones before bed.
Make Significant Lifestyle Changes
As mentioned earlier, making lifestyle changes can help ease acid reflux. You can do so by:
- Reducing your alcohol intake
- Quitting smoking
- Exercising or reaching and maintaining a moderate weight
- Dietary changes
If you’re changing your dietary lifestyle, the foods to avoid are as follows:
- Fatty and fried food
- Tomatoes and citrus products
- Carbonated beverages
If all of the above methods are already followed yet you still experience acid reflux at night, a doctor may prescribe medicines that can reduce the level of stomach acid. These medications help ease symptoms of acid reflux and GERD.
Acid reflux, especially at night, is a rough experience. Luckily, some medicines can help ease the condition. Additionally, there are also methods that you can use for yourself, as stated above, so make sure to follow them to get that good night’s sleep.
Reflux Away aims to provide people suffering from acid reflux with proper acid reflux treatment. The discomfort that people can experience from acid reflux is immense, which is why we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more!