It may lead to inflammation and scar tissue that narrows the esophagus. In some people, chronic heartburn can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, changes in the cells that increase the risk of esophageal cancer. For many of them — at least 50% according to some research — nighttime heartburn is a special problem.
Many people don’t realize that how you sleep directly affects how you reflux at the night as anatomy and gravity play a big role in heartburn symptom frequency, length and severity. WO In a patient with a suspected nighttime heartburn component, a clinician may choose to follow up with the patient more frequently to ensure that the nighttime symptoms are being relieved because, as previously mentioned, the continued presence of nighttime reflux is a significant factor in an individual who may be refractory to treatment.
It disrupts your sleep and it can lead to serious medical problems. Smoking is a double threat when it comes to heartburn. Not only can cigarette smoke irritate your GI tract, but smoking can also relax the esophageal muscles that keep stomach acid where it belongs.
If you lie on your side, opt for your left side to reduce the pressure on your heart and other organs. If you sleep on your back, use a wedge pillow or raise the head of your bed with 6-inch risers to keep your esophagus above your stomach and reduce acid reflux. Acid reflux is a common problem but trying to sleep with heartburn can be even more distressing. Try these tips to ease your symptoms and if the pain doesn’t subside see your doctor for further advice.
Should you continue to have trouble sleeping or if you do not feel well rested during the day despite being in bed at night, you may want to speak to your doctor. Our future direction is to further explore if medications that improve sleep can be an asset for people with GERD that have symptoms during sleep. In particular, our focus will be on combination therapy of an antireflux treatment plus a sleeping pill, like a melatonin receptor agonist, in improving GERD related symptoms. In a series of studies that we performed and subsequently published, we have been able to demonstrate that the time spent in bed prior to falling asleep is a vulnerable period for gastroesophageal reflux to occur. The longer the time spent awake in bed the greater the esophageal acid exposure experienced.
The NSF recommends that those with nighttime GERD symptoms receive screening for sleep apnea. Several studies have reported the associations between sleep disturbances and neuropathic pain in animal models , . For example, sciatic nerve-ligated animals presented with a significant increase in blood oxygenation level-dependent signal intensity in the pain matrix on functional magnetic resonance imaging scans as well as a statistically significant increase in wakefulness and a decrease in NREM sleep during the light period on EEG/EMG .
As the PPI omeprazole improved sleep disturbances associated with reflux esophagitis, we concluded that acid reflux directly causes sleep disturbances. Acid reflux esophagitis was induced by ligating the transitional region between the forestomach and the glandular portion and then wrapping the duodenum near the pylorus. Rats underwent surgery for implantation of electrodes for electroencephalogram and electromyogram recordings, and they were transferred to a soundproof recording chamber.
Naps are associated with more shallow sleep, which is much more vulnerable for gastroesophageal reflux to occur. The combination of taking a nap after a meal may result in more severe gastroesophageal reflux disease. The key is to get treatment.
In the past, Dr. Gabbard often advised patients to elevate the head of their bed with bricks or use a wedge-shaped pillow. However, patients saw mixed results, he says. But when this muscle fails to close after food passes through, the acidic contents of your stomach can travel back up into the esophagus. Doctors refer to this backward movement as reflux.
Management of Nighttime Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Most patients with GERD experience an increase in the severity of symptoms (usually heartburn or coughing and choking) while sleeping or attempting to sleep. If the acid backs up as far as the throat and larynx, the sleeper will wake up coughing and choking.
It occurs when stomach acid flows upward into the food pipe, which is called the esophagus, rather than staying in the stomach and aiding digestion. Garlic and onions can also worsen GERD symptoms.
Could Your Sore Throat Be Caused by ‘Silent Reflux’?
Never lay down after you eat, and wear clothes that are comfortable and loose, especially when going to bed. Too-tight clothing increases pressure on your stomach, leading to heartburn and GI issues. If you’re living with chronic heartburn, abdominal pain, or digestive issues, recognize now that you will expect some nighttime awakenings throughout your life. However, rather than getting frustrated, accept that these will happen and take steps to relax yourself back to sleep afterwards.