We have put together a list of things to avoid at night with heartburn so you can improve your sleep. Remember, when it comes to heartburn, lifestyle and behavior modifications can go a long way toward helping you get a restful night’s sleep.
1. Don’t Have Fruit For Dessert
You may think that a piece of fruit may be a safer way to end a delicious meal, but you would be wrong. Fruit is best eaten before your meal. Eating fruit after dinner may exacerbate acid reflux symptoms as it will tend to ferment in the stomach while waiting for rest of food to digest.
2. Don’t Drink Water Right After Dinner
Water dilutes stomach acids essential for digestion. Avoid drinking water after a meal. In fact, it’s best to drink a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal to flush out all old gastric juices from the digestive tract, which will aid in fresh, concentrated acid production. This acid will get to work digesting your dinner immediately after eating and is best not diluted with excess water. Wait for 30 to 45 minutes to have water post dinner.
3. Don’t Eat Too Fast
Digestion begins in the mouth, as saliva contains digestive enzymes that help breakdown food. When you chew your food properly, your stomach has to work less hard to digest the food. Did you know that it takes 20 minutes for the brain to realize you’re full? Eating slow gives the stomach enough time to signal to the brain that you’re satiated, preventing overeating. Challenge yourself to make each meal last up to 30 minutes. Use a timer if necessary!
4. Say No To Mint
Peppermint can help freshen up your breath after eating, but it can also trigger heartburn. Avoid peppermint infused foods, beverages, desserts, candy, or mouth fresheners as these can relax the LES or the lower esophageal sphincter that works as a lid between the esophagus and the stomach to keep stomach contents from coming back up the esophagus.
5. Avoid Late Dinners
To prevent night time heartburn, eat an early dinner. This gives your body ample time to be able to digest the food before its time to sleep. Make sure there’s a gap of 2 to 3 hours between dinner time and bed time.
6. An Erratic Sleep Routine Is Doing You No Good
Train your body to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. A healthy sleep routine ensures a restful night’s sleep, especially when you have eaten two to three hours before bedtime. Have a warm bath, practice deep breathing and keep your room cool to help you drift off to sleep more easily.
7. Don’t Lie Down After Your Meal
Like watching TV to kill time between dinner and going to bed? Make sure you watch TV sitting upright! Posture plays a big role in acid reflux. Sprawling on the couch to catch up on your favorite shows is just as bad at trying to sleep immediately after dinner, as it will make it easier for the stomach acid and food to rise back up the esophagus. Sit up, so that gravity can keep stomach contents where they belong.