Do you go to bed feeling good, only to wake up a couple of hours later with terrible heartburn? If heartburn is keeping you up at night, it’s time to take some action. The best thing you can do — arm yourself with the right knowledge to keep acid reflux symptoms at bay and get a restful night’s sleep.
One word answer – Gravity. Gravity keeps gastric acid in the stomach while you’re standing or sitting. But when you are lying down, it is easier for gastric acid and other stomach contents to rise back up the esophagus, causing heartburn.
Additionally, while we are sleeping, the mouth produces less saliva and rate of swallowing also goes down. This, in turn, hinders with esophageal pH levels to return back to normal after the acid has traveled back up the esophagus. The result – you wake up choking and coughing with a sore throat.
Research has shown that night time heartburn occurs in a large majority of adults with GERD, resulting in sleeping difficulties and impaired next-day function. It’s important to understand that GERD and sleep have a bi-directional relationship. Acid Reflux adversely affects sleep quality by waking you up at night. At the same time, sleep deprivation can adversely affect heartburn severity by enhancing the perception of acid in the esophagus causing esophageal hypersensitivity, and potentially by increasing esophageal acid exposure time. If you have acid reflux, lack of sleep puts your body into stress, which increases the discomfort associated with increased acidity.
So, what can be done to prevent heartburn from keeping you up at night?