For the millions of people suffering from either intermittent or regular heartburn, most have experienced the agony of heartburn at night. Heartburn can leave you tossing and turning for most of the night, making getting a good night’s sleep difficult. In this article, we will discuss some helpful tips for how to stop nighttime heartburn before it takes a toll on your sleep routine.
Why does heartburn seem worse at night?
For most people, it can seem like their acid reflux symptoms—including heartburn—worsen at night. That’s usually because lying down can trigger acid reflux as it makes it easier for stomach acid to rise into the esophagus. Although heartburn can be unavoidable for patients with GERD, there are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of experiencing pesky nighttime heartburn.
TIP #1: EAT DINNER EARLIER
Eating dinner earlier can help diminish symptoms of heartburn before bedtime. A good rule of thumb is to eat and drink no sooner than 3 hrs before bedtime.
TIP #2: EAT SMALLER MEALS
Big meals in general can exacerbate acid reflux and make your nighttime heartburn worse. Eating more smaller meals throughout the day rather than 3 large meals can often help manage symptoms of acid reflux.
TIP #3: AVOID EVENING EXERCISE
Some people with acid reflux will experience an influx in their symptoms after a workout. If you experience a worsening of your acid reflux symptoms after you exercise, avoid exercise later in the evenings as it could trigger nighttime heartburn.
TIP #4: STAY AWAY FROM TRIGGER FOODS
For people suffering with acid reflux and heartburn, many of them have “trigger foods” that will either cause symptoms to occur or make symptoms worse. Some common trigger foods include spicy foods, acidic foods, coffee, high-fat foods, and red wine. So as tempting as it may be to end the night with a bowl of ice cream or a relaxing glass of wine, take a moment to decide whether or not it’s worth the heartache you’ll experience later!
TIP #5: ELEVATE YOUR HEAD WHILE YOU SLEEP
As we mentioned, lying down can make acid reflux and heartburn worse, so try propping your head up with a pillow while you sleep to make it harder for stomach acid to travel up.
Heartburn and sleep don’t have to go hand in hand. Try making some lifestyle and diet changes to ensure you get the good night’s sleep you need. If you continue to experience chronic acid reflux and nighttime heartburn, you can schedule an appointment to see a heartburn specialist at Tampa Bay Reflux Center, who can determine whether or not you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a chronic form of acid reflux.