Acid reflux, or GERD, is an extremely unpleasant burning sensation in the chest and throat caused by the rise of stomach acids into the esophagus. There are many triggers that can worsen acid reflux, such as spicy foods, acidic fruit juices, caffeine and fried foods. Avoiding these foods can prevent acid reflux during the day; however, reflux gets worse at night in most cases. This causes sleeping difficulties and nausea for the sufferer. Following a few steps at home greatly reduces nighttime acid reflux symptoms.
Raise the head of your bed by placing blocks under the bed frame or stiff pillows under the head of the mattress. This causes gravity to work at keeping stomach acids from rising. When you lie flat, stomach acids do not have to work very hard to move into your esophagus, thus causing increased discomfort.
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Avoid eating meals less than three hours before bedtime. Eating close to bedtime causes stomach acids to work overtime as metabolic rates go into resting period. Eat a smaller meal three or four hours before going to bed, to avoid reflux symptoms.
Drink a glass of water before bedtime. Water neutralizes stomach acids and soothes irritation. Some people may swear by milk; however, milk actually increases stomach acid production, according to Dr. Stuart Spechler, a digestive diseases expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Follow a lowfat diet to lose weight. Overweight individuals are at an increased risk for nighttime acid reflux symptoms. Losing weight will significantly reduce acid reflux in sufferers of GERD.
Take a continuous-release acid reducer 30 minutes before bedtime. This medication is formulated to neutralize stomach acids and ease discomfort associated with acid reflux.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.