When heartburn is your common bedmate, it is difficult to sleep at night. How are you going to remove it? In addition to using a wedge cushion to raise your upper body, avoiding eating right before bed, and using heartburn medication, a tiny study indicates that resting on your left side may be beneficial. On average, each of the 57 chronic heartburn sufferers spent about the same time sleeping on their left, right, or back. The number of times individuals’ stomach acid backed up into their esophagus was not affected by their placements (which causes heartburn pain). However, those who were lying on their left side instead of on their back or right side saw acid clearance much more quickly. Acid exposure can lessen heartburn discomfort while also lowering the chance of tissue damage and other more significant issues.
Although it originated from Ayurvedic principles, the notion that sleeping on the left side promotes digestion and waste disposal is also supported by current studies. According to a 2010 study with 10 participants, lying on the right side causes more cases of heartburn (commonly known as GERD) than lying on the left does. According to research, while we sleep on our left side, the stomach and its gastric juices stay below the esophagus.
According to a 2005 study that appeared in the journal CHEST, up to one out of four Americans may experience nighttime heartburn. The percentage is even greater among those who claim to have gastroesophageal reflux disease or persistent heartburn (GERD).
A similar 2005 survey of 1,900 GERD sufferers in the US and Europe found that 55% reported problems falling asleep at night. The affected individuals calculated that their symptoms reduced their capacity to work by 15% and to engage in leisure activities by 22%, respectively.
Here are some suggestions to assist you in sleeping better if heartburn has been keeping you up at night:
- To sleep with your head and chest lifted, raise the bed’s head by 4 to 6 inches. By placing blocks below, you can raise the top of the bed, albeit your partner might disagree after slipping out of it a few times. You could also use specialized wedge pillows to support your position as you sleep inclined.
- Eat dinner two to three hours before going to bed to lower your chance of experiencing heartburn at night. Avoid eating before bed.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing because it will make your symptoms worse.
- During the evening, chewing gum. Saliva can be produced more easily as a result, and saliva neutralizes stomach acid.
- Consider switching to your left side. Due to a peculiarity in the way the body is built, several studies have demonstrated that this aids in digestion. The position to make symptoms worse is on your right side as you sleep.
- Eat less of the foods that cause reflux or oesophageal irritation. Alcohol, peppermint, chocolate, coffee, carbonated beverages, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, pepper, vinegar, catsup, and mustard, as well as spicy or fatty foods, are some of these.
- Avoid using medications that may make reflux worse. Aspirin, various painkillers, and calcium-channel blockers are a few examples. If you are currently taking any medications that make reflux worse, talk to your doctor about alternatives. Never discontinue taking a prescription without consulting your doctor first.
- Stop smoking if you do.
- Try to shed some extra weight if you are obese.
Try over-the-counter or prescription drugs:
Occasionally, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can aid with heartburn relief:
H2 receptor blockers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet HB) or famotidine (Pepcid AC), can lower stomach acid production while antacids like Tums and Maalox neutralize stomach acid.
Inhibitors of the proton pump, such as omeprazole (Prilosec), stop and lessen the generation of stomach acid.
These are also available in prescription dosages for more severe GERD conditions. If you often use OTC medications, always consult your doctor. PPIs should only be used as prescribed by a physician.
Avoid triggers in food and drink:
It is helpful to understand what meals or drinks make your symptoms worse to prevent GERD. Although every person is unique, some typical causes of acid reflux include:
- alcohol-containing coffee drinks
- spices in food
- citrus foods
- fatty and fried foods
- Observe signs and symptoms.
It may be possible to identify which foods may be problematic by keeping a food diary and noting when you get symptoms. You can avoid them or at least eat fewer of them in this method.
If your symptoms are unrelated to eating, you can keep track of them.
Know the adverse effects of your medications:
There is a chance that some drugs cause GERD. Typical examples include:
- Anticholinergics treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and overactive bladder among other issues (COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease))
- Medications called calcium channel blockers can reduce blood pressure
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, and tricyclic antidepressants (Advil)
- Inform your doctor if any of these or other medications are producing acid reflux or other symptoms. Alternative therapies might be accessible.
Try reducing your stress:
Less heartburn is one of the several health advantages of stress reduction, and it might encourage you to try yoga, meditation, or other stress-reduction techniques.
Hold onto a healthy weight:
Being overweight or obesity can affect how frequently people get acid reflux. This is because carrying additional weight, particularly in the abdomen, can increase pressure on the stomach and cause acid to leak into the esophagus.
Losing weight can occasionally aid in symptom reduction. Ask your doctor whether they advise doing this.
Prevention advises stopping heartburn at night:
- Elevate your head while you sleep. To prevent your stomach contents from rising, use a mattress lifter, a wedge-shaped cushion, or add a pillow.
- On your left side, go to bed. Resting on your left side might facilitate a better transfer of acid and other oesophageal contents into the stomach.
Here are some other tips:
- Frequently eat smaller meals. Instead of two or three substantial meals during the day, eat several smaller ones. In the evening, stay away from high-calorie, high-fat foods.
- Try various cuisines. Oatmeal and veggies are two items that can aid with acid reflux symptoms.
- Chew a lot. Food gets smaller when it is chewed slowly and completely, which may facilitate digestion.
- Time it properly. After eating, wait at least 3 hours before lying down.
- Take better posture. To lengthen your esophagus and give your stomach more room, try standing up straight.
- Give up smoking. Smoking can aggravate the airways and the esophagus, leading to coughing, which can start acid reflux or exacerbate it.
- Avoid wearing anything that will squeeze your midsection. Avoid wearing anything that hugs your waist too tightly.
- Take a short stroll. After supper, consider going for a leisurely walk to aid digestion and lessen the possibility of esophageal reflux disease.
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