Can you relate to the feeling of acid rising in your throat when you lie down and try to sleep? If you are suffering from acid reflux, then you must be all too familiar with this feeling. Acid reflux sufferers know from experience that bedtime can bring on a whole new set of symptoms. The good news is that there are steps you may do to lessen acid reflux episodes and their severity, as well as to lessen the difficulties associated with the illness while you sleep.
The Science Behind it
While sitting up, gravity helps drive food and acids down the oesophagus and into the stomach, but when you lie flat, gravity isn’t able to perform its job and the acid is left to pool in the oesophagus. Hence the symptoms of acid reflux worsen at night. They may sometimes manifest within a few minutes of lying down or may wake you up in the middle of the night with a burning cough.
Steps to prevent Acid Reflux symptoms at night
Eat a Light Dinner
Having too much might lead to acid reflux. Consistently eating smaller meals may help you recognise stopping cues and prevent overeating. Be moderate in your eating. Eat mindfully to understand when you’re feeling full.
Consume Healthy Foods
Although this may seem like a no-brainer it is important to make eating a healthy balanced diet seriously as this forms the first line of defence against acid reflux. Avoid eating any trigger foods such as citrus fruits, Alcohol, Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages, Spicy meals, greasy and fried foods, etc. Some folks may get reflux from dessert. You can change up your meal routine by opting for broiled dishes rather than fried ones. Doctors recommend consuming meals like salads, lean proteins, broth-based soups, and leafy vegetables before bed. This is beneficial for your health and can prevent evening reflux.
It may be simpler to digest if you chew your food completely and slowly. It is recommended to chew a bite 32 times before swallowing.
Eating an early dinner, ideally before the sun sets can aid in digestion before you go to bed. It is highly recommended that you eat at least 2-3 hours before your sleeping time. If you have a full stomach before bed, you may get acid reflux during the night. When you eat a lot, you put pressure on the valve at the top of your stomach, which is designed to prevent acid from leaking into your oesophagus. Try to eat dinner early and stay away from late-night snacking.
Engage in Light Exercise
Take a stroll after dinner to aid digestion and lessen the likelihood of acid leaking into your oesophagus. It is recommended to walk for 25-30 minutes after dinner. It is important to note that any heavy exercise post-dinner can prove to be detrimental.
Adjust Sleeping Posture
Elevating your head while you sleep will help prevent blood from accumulating there. If your stomach tends to rise when you sleep, try using a mattress lifter, a wedge-shaped cushion, or an extra pillow. It is recommended that you sleep on your left side. The passage of stomach acid and other substances from the oesophagus into the stomach may be facilitated by sleeping on one’s left side.
Wear Loose clothing
Ensure that your clothing does not put pressure on your abdomen. Sleeping in tight pyjamas has been linked to an increase in acid reflux symptoms. Sleepwear with loose waistbands is preferable.
Acid reflux can be triggered or made worse by smoking due to the irritation it causes in the oesophagus, airways, and coughing.
While it’s best to avoid acid reflux altogether by taking precautions against it before bed which might help you get a better night’s rest and reduce night-time oesophageal irritation, If you do experience it, over-the-counter antacids may be helpful. They prevent acid reflux by acting as a buffer in the stomach. Some liquids and tablets can be consumed or chewed. If antacids aren’t helping, or if you’re taking them more than once or twice a week, you should visit a doctor. Left untreated, the usual acid reflux can lead to severe complications such as GERD.