Acid Reflux At Night
Although people experience symptoms during the day, acid reflux at night while your sleeping can be the most common time for a flare up.
There are a host of reasons that triggers your acid reflux (GERD) however, if you have a hard time at night it could be your sleeping position causing you your sleepless nights.
Your Sleeping Position
A common cause of acid reflux at night is the position you sleep in. If you lie horizontally on your back or on your side the contents of your stomach can easily flow out of the stomach and into your esophageal pipe.
In this position the contents of the stomach can remain in the esophagus for quite some time. This can increase inflammation to the lining of the esophagus which can lead to heartburn and sore throat.
Over Relaxed Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES)
The cause of acid reflux is due to an over relaxed lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This is a circular muscle that is located in your esophagus just above the entrance to the stomach.
The LES acts like a one way valve that opens up to allow food and liquids to enter the stomach.
When the LES is working properly it will close shut to prevent any reflux (flow back) of bile and stomach acid to into the esophagus. However, when this fails to close properly it causes the condition known as acid reflux.
At night while you are asleep the body and muscles become even more relaxed and this encourages the stomach acid to flow into your esophageal pipe.
Eating Late At Night
Eating a large meal or snack shortly before you go to bed is going to increase a flare up of your acid reflux.
Getting into bed with a stomach full of undigested food is only going to create pressure against your lower esophageal sphincter forcing it to open and allowing the stomach acid to escape.
Another problem with eating late at night is that the food you eat will not be digested properly. This is because your digestion switches off when you asleep.
Undigested food in your digestive tract will begin to ferment and toxify and by doing so, increases the risk of intestinal infections and indigestion.
The saliva in your mouth contains certain digestive enzymes that help to break down food so that it is ready for your digestive system. These digestive enzymes also help to neutralize the ph (acidity) levels in your gut.
However, when you are sleeping your swallowing reflexes slow down considerably and this results in less saliva entering your esophagus and stomach.
Preventing Nighttime Heartburn For Better Sleep
Trying to get a good nights sleep is extremely difficult when you wake up with heartburn, chest pains and a burning sore throat. However, there is a way you can get a good nights sleep;
First of all do not eat any food including snacks at least 3 hours before you go to bed. This will allow your digestion the time it needs to digest the food properly.
The last meal of the day should consist of small portions and exclude any foods that can trigger your acid reflux.
Common trigger food and drinks include fried foods, chocolate, coffee. alcohol and citrus fruits.
Avoid drinking large quantities of liquids as this will fill the contents of your stomach and add pressure to the LES.
Improve your sleeping position by raising the angle of your upper body and head. You can easily do this by adding extra pillows behind your back and head.
By raising your upper body the laws of gravity make it more difficult for the stomach acid to reflux.
If you prefer to sleep on your side, lie on your left side rather than your right. Studies have revealed that sleeping on your left side can lower incidences of acid reflux at night.
This is based on the theory that your left side position makes it more difficult for stomach acid to flow into your esophagus. Consequently, lying on the right side makes the symptoms of acid reflux worse.
For Long Term Relief Of Night Time Acid Reflux
Taking antacids or proton pump inhibitors may provide short term relief, but they are not going to permanently solve the problem.
Actually, continued use of over the counter acid reflux relief medications can actually make your heartburn worse.
More research is revealing that a lack of stomach acid – as a result of using antacids and H2 blockers – prevents food from being properly digested.
Undigested food ferments, irritates the lining of the stomach which triggers the production of more acid!
The best way to solve the problem of acid reflux at night is to rebalance your digestive system. Your reflux problem is a clear sign that your digestion is unbalanced.
An unbalanced digestion is caused by a greater number of bad bacteria in your gut than there are good bacteria.
You can rebalance your digestion by eating natural foods that are highly nutritious and these include your raw vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds and nuts.
These foods are high in dietary fibre and natural prebiotics that feed and replenish your friendly bacteria and keep the bad bacteria at bay.
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