Get The Best Sleep Of Your Life
Tired of not getting enough sleep? Living with GERD doesnt have to be a nightmare. At Gastro Center NJ, we do everything we can to help make GERD a manageable part of your life.
Whether its sleeping on a foam memory pillow or prescribing a specific diet, were here to give you solutions that will improve your nighttime reflux, facilitating better sleep.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about nighttime reflux and how the gastroenterologists of Gastro Center NJ can get you the best sleep of your life.
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Whats The Worst Sleep Position When You Have Heartburn
There are actually two positions that arent so great for heartburn. One of the worst sleep positions when you have heartburn is lying flat on your back, Dr. Chen says. This, she says, leads to the most episodes of reflux.
She adds, when youre lying down this way, positionally youre more likely to have reflux occur because it predisposes gastric contents to go up into the esophagus. But Dr. Chen also cites research that found lying on your right side is also a reflux trigger. Right-sided is the worst in terms of acid exposure time in the esophagus, she says.
How To Do It
1. Elevate your head
Elevating your head while sleeping on your left side can improve nighttime digestion. Studies show that this position helps ease heartburn as the lower esophageal sphincter the muscle ring/flap valve that controls the stomachs intake of food from the esophagus is kept above the level of gastric acid. In the event of a reflux, the acid should go back quickly to the stomach because of gravitys pull.
Remember that whatever the case may be, its a must to keep your neck and spine in a neutral position. Ideally, youd want a plush and supportive pillow that can give you comfort and support simultaneously.
2. Add a pillow in between the knees
If #1 still doesnt do the trick, try sandwiching a pillow with your knees. Any discomfort felt may be coming from a misaligned spine or a strained neck when you bend your knees in this position. Placing a pillow in between them could prevent discomfort and keep the spine in a neutral position.
3. Dont eat large meals THREE hours before sleeping
Familiarise yourself with the three-hour rule. This allows your body to digest the food with ample time, so you dont wake up to a rumbling and painful stomach. Were also certain no one wants to feel nauseous late at night anyway. Give your digestive system time to do its job of absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste.
Its probably time to get some snooze now. Go on and try facing left it might just make your sleep a little more special tonight.
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Pro Tips For Sleeping On Your Back
Changing your sleep position isnt easy, as our bodies have grown accustomed to our sleep ritual for years, Fish says. But using a pillow in different ways can help jump-start the change.
Here are some pro tips to consider:
Mix Baking Soda With Water
You might have a heartburn remedy at hand in your kitchen without even knowing it. Baking soda can calm some episodes of heartburn by neutralizing your stomach acid. To do this, dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it slowly.
To be safe, only use this baking soda remedy every once in a while, not frequently. Talk with your doctor about how to use baking soda safely. According to a
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Acid Reflux Sleeping Positions
You dont have to sleep sitting upright to take advantage of the effects of gravity and anatomy on the occurrence of GERD. Still, how you sleep can directly affect how often you feel symptoms, how severe those symptoms are, and how long the acid sits in your esophagus.
The good news is that you can drastically change your nights by changing the way you sleep. But first, consult with your doctor if you suspect you have GERD or any other condition that may be disturbing your sleep.
Tip #: Dont Eat Meals Late At Night
If you regularly suffer from night-time reflux, make an attempt to eat smaller meals in the evening, since large meals tend to put pressure on the stomach. Eating several hours before bedtime also allows the stomach to digest the food and empty out, which can help to reduce and prevent the symptoms of reflux at night.
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Does Lying On Stomach Help Reflux
Finding a peaceful position to sleep in can be a tough one for acid reflux sufferers. Because lying down prevents gravity from doing its job keeping the food contents back down, patients feel anxious about falling asleep. Sleep deprivation becomes a problem among acid reflux sufferers in fear of choking or asphyxiation while asleep.
Lying down alone can trigger acid reflux effects, but it gets worse with certain positions. Lying flat on your stomach produces the same result as lying on your back, if not worse.
When youre lying flat on the bed, your stomach and esophagus are on the same level, making it easy for stomach contents to find their way into the esophagus. When youre standing up or sitting down, youre allowing gravity to move these digested bits throughout the rest of your stomach.
Lying on your stomach also tends to put pressure on your stomach. This alone could push the stomach contents to travel upwards and cause heartburn.
The next time you want to lie on your stomach, make sure your head is elevated. Support your neck with a pillow and keep it a few inches higher than your stomach. Otherwise, youre asking for a bad reflux episode.
Why Does Acid Reflux Improve When Lying Down
Despite being a common gastrointestinal disorder, symptoms arent always shared among patients. The general consensus is that reflux gets worse after lying down, but its also possible to relieve your symptoms by doing so.
If youre a patient who feels relief after lying down, its possible that your reflux may be triggered by the following:
- You engaged in a stressful physical activity and lying down relaxes your body and your stomach
- You were emotionally stressed and lying down has physically relaxed you
- You are in an elevated position, which helps keep the stomach contents from travelling back up the esophagus
As a result, your acid reflux symptoms are alleviated, not aggravated, by lying down. Knowing your triggers is the first step to living with GERD.
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What Can You Use To Get Rid Of Heartburn
How to Get Rid of Heartburn
Position Your Bed For Comfort
If those concerns dont apply to you, you can let comfort be your guide, Salas says. But sleep position isnt the only thing to consider when going for a comfortable nights sleep. Salas recommends replacing old mattresses and pillows. Choosing soft-versus-hard is just a matter of preference, but aim for something supportive, she says. If you have neck or shoulder pain, a supportive pillow designed to cradle the neck could be helpful. A bolster or pillow supporting the legs could ease pain in the lower back. Dont underestimate the importance of optimizing your bedroom to help you get a good nights sleep. Salas adds:
- Clean sheets: Wash sheets frequently and vacuum the mattress to rid it of dust and dander that can cause allergies and impair your sleep.
- Close the blinds: Use curtains or blinds to keep the room dim at night. But open the curtains in the morning to reset your internal clock.
- Location matters: Position your bed so you arent facing distractions such as a desk stacked with work or a blinking light.
The sleep environment is something that can easily be fixed, Salas says. By giving a little thought to positioning your body and bed, you might find your slumber is even sweeter.
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Best Sleep Position For Acid Reflux: Incline + Left
So, what if you take the best flat sleeping position, aka the left side, and add an incline? Could the benefits be more than the sum of its parts?
Recent studies show that this is indeed the case 9,10. The compound inclined, left-side sleeping position makes acid reflux at night virtually impossible because your esophagus is now positioned well above the level of stomach contents, even if your stomach is full. And, if you do reflux, gravity is able to quickly return the contents to your stomach. Whew. This ideal sleep position provides a double whammy of decreasing your GERD symptoms and providing protection from prolonged acid exposure to your esophagus, throat, lungs, and sinuses.
So, whats the secret to controlling your acid reflux symptoms at night and finally getting good, quality sleep? Proper sleep positioning. Discover relief with the ideal position that maximizes the power of gravity and anatomy. Discover the MedCline Reflux Relief System, specifically designed to create and maintain the inclined, left-side position, clinically proven to be the most effective for natural relief from nighttime acid reflux or GERD.
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Tip #: Avoid Sleeping On Your Right Side
The right side is a popular sleeping position, but its one of the worst for people with heartburn. This is because this particular position places the esophagus above the stomach and relaxes the lower sphincter muscle. This allows acid to flow into the esophagus from the stomach, causing night-time reflux symptoms. Waking up with heartburn and a burning in your throat is not pleasant, and can cause loss of sleep many nights.
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Side Sleeping: What Side To Sleep On With Acid Reflux
A good nights rest can be the difference between a day of inspiring productivity and a day of extra coffee and feeling sluggish. Many Americans, however, are suffering from sleep deprivation for reasons they may not expect. Acid Reflux and GERD affect more people than you might expect, and many sufferers of nighttime heartburn and stomach discomfort find themselves researching best sleeping position and side sleeping to reduce acid reflux symptoms. In this guide, we will explore how acid reflux and GERD sufferers can get a better nights sleep by sleeping on their side and which side will provide the most relief.
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Propping Up Your Body
If you have heartburn, many doctors will recommend you to sleep at an incline, using more pillows or bigger pillows to prop yourself up. This technique is completely backed by science.
When you sleep in an inclined position, your heartburn symptoms will be much less frequent and severe, since the acid that escapes from the stomach can quickly get back in. Again, gravity will work in your favor.
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Sleeping On Your Left Side
If you suffer from constant heartburn, the best position to sleep is on your left side. This is because the stomach will be positioned below the esophagus, so gravity will work for you and wont allow any acid to escape. Numerous studies have shown that heartburn symptoms are less frequent and less severe if you sleep on your left side.
Sleep Disorders And Sleep Positions
The National Sleep Foundation has carried out polls since 1991 to identify peoples sleeping habits in the United States. In 2020, they highlighted that significant numbers of people in the U.S. feel sleepy about 3 days per week, which often impacts their daily lives.
With such high numbers, it is no surprise that people are interested in which sleeping positions work best. A 2017 cross-sectional study investigating sleep positions and movement has shown that the predominant sleeping position is on the side.
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Avoid Big Meals Before Sleep
Like all functional areas of the body, the digestive system needs plenty of time to rest and recover from daily life. It is not a good idea to eat a big meal before bedtime, as it forces the digestive system to keep working. A light snack, such as an apple or some avocado toast, is a better idea.
Complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, or a small dose of protein can deal with hunger pangs.
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How To Relieve Heartburn At Night
Waking up with heartburn in the middle of the night? Youre not alone. Studies show about 20 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from heartburn at least once a week, and among those, 75 percent experience heartburn at night. The discomfort of having heartburn at night often results in problems falling or staying asleep. Learn about the possible causes and treatment options for heartburn.
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Sleep On Your Left Side For Better Health
Left-side sleeping has the most expert- and science-backed health benefits. Although our bodies appear largely symmetrical, our organ placement makes us asymmetrical internally. How we rest influences the way our systems direct and process waste which should be part of our overall health aspirations.
You might track working out, eating a healthy breakfast, or starting the day with a fresh perspective. Why not give your bowel movement the same attention?
For some, a bowel movement happens like clockwork. But others living with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, lazy bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or other gastrointestinal conditions may struggle to check this item off the to-do list. So why not let gravity do the work?
Pro tip for side sleeping
Start out on your left side at night to prevent heartburn and allow gravity to move waste through your colon. Alternate sides if your shoulder bothers you. Place a firm pillow between your knees and hug one to support your spine.
While you sleep on your left side at night, gravity can help take waste on a trip through the ascending colon, then into the transverse colon, and finally dump it into the descending colon encouraging a trip to the bathroom in the morning.
Side sleeping might also make you a better bedfellow and leave you more well-rested.
Symptoms And Causes Of Acid Reflux
What causes acid reflux and what does it feel like? Lets start with a short anatomy lesson.
What you eat travels down your esophagus through your lower esophageal sphincter and into your stomach where digestion begins. Your LES is a ring of muscles that act as a valve to control the flow of contents between your esophagus and your stomach. If your LES functions correctly, what you eat will stay in your stomach with the occasional release of gas, also known as a burp.
Problems arise when your LES doesnt function properly, allowing your stomach contents to escape back up into your esophagus. These problems can appear as uncomfortable physiological symptoms, such as:
More severe problems, like GERD 8, come when reflux goes untreated. Prolonged acid exposure potentially leads to serious health complications, such as erosive esophagitis, peptic strictures, esophageal ulcerations, Barretts esophagus, and in rare cases, esophageal cancer1.
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Sleeping On Your Right Side
As already mentioned, the worst sleeping position when experiencing heartburn is on your back. However, the second-worst position is sleeping on your right side. You might be wondering why theres a difference between sleeping on your left and right, and we will discuss that now.
When you sleep on your right side, the stomach is a little bit above the esophagus, which creates something like a leaking faucet.
Since the stomach is above the esophagus, any possible acid flux, even in a very small quantity, can easily fall down to the smooth and sensitive surface of the esophagus. Since the stomach is higher, it wont be able to return back up, leaving you with the acid in your esophagus for a long time.