There are few things worse than the agony of heartburn when you’re trying to sleep. Your stomach churns, your heart burns, and you feel like there’s a spike in your side.
Sleeping with heartburn is NOT easy, and you’ll find that it can make your life quite uncomfortable. Thankfully, it’s not as hard to get rid of heartburn as you might imagine. Here’s how:
Raise Your Head
If you’re worried about heartburn, place under pillow or two beneath your head as you drift off to sleep. It’s only when you lie flat in bed that the problem sets in, as that’s when your stomach and throat are at the same level. When this happens, the stomach acid can seep back up the esophagus, causing the pain. By elevating your head, you allow gravity to do the work of pulling the acid downward, preventing heartburn.
Sleep on Your Left Side
Did you know that your esophagus connects to your stomach on the right side? Sleeping on your left side not only helps to pull the contents of your stomach toward the intestinal sphincter, but it prevents the acid from being pushed back up into your esophagus.
Avoid Tight Clothing
If you’re worried about heartburn, it’s time to change into a loose T-shirt and a pair of sweats! Tight clothing may constrict your stomach, pressing on it and pushing the acid back up toward the esophagus. With loose clothing, your body will much more easily be able to digest the food you are eating without any pressure on the stomach.
It’s one of the strangest ways to reduce acid reflux and heartburn, but it works! Even just losing a few pounds can go a long way toward preventing heartburn. The heavier you are, the worse your acid reflux. The less body fat, the easier food is on your digestive system.
Watch for Trigger Foods
We’ve all got that food or two that causes serious acid reflux or heartburn. For some, it’s garlic or onion-heavy foods, while for others, it’s spicy foods, coffee, lemons, chocolate, peppermint, or greasy foods. Whatever it is that triggers your acid reflux and heartburn, make it a point to avoid those foods! Acid reflux can be terrible for the health of your esophagus, leading to more serious health problems. Better safe than sorry.
Don’t Eat Late
You know that your heartburn is the worst late at night when you’re trying to sleep, so why would you fill your stomach with food at that time? Give yourself at least two hours between dinner and bedtime, or make it three or four if you’re going for a heavy meal. This will give your stomach time to empty at least some of its contents, reducing the chance that you’ll develop acid reflux.
Sit or Stand Up
Acid reflux sets in when the acid in your stomach goes back up the esophagus, but that only happens when you press on your stomach or you lie supine. Instead of relaxing after a heavy meal, make it a point to walk around, or at the very least stand up. Walking will help to speed up digestion, and the upright position will reduce your risk of heartburn.
After a heavy meal, have some gum or a few breath mints. The minty flavors will cause your mouth to produce more saliva, which will encourage digestion and dilute the acids floating around in your stomach. You’ll find that a bit of chewing gum after a meal can go a long way toward reducing your risk of acid reflux.