GERD Keeping You Awake? 3 Tips For Better Sleep

A substantial percentage of the population, about 28 percent, has GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. That's about 64 million people in the US alone. While GERD symptoms can occur at any time of the day, many people report that their symptoms of heartburn, coughing, and regurgitation keep them awake at night. The reason why is simple. Lying flat allows stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, which can make sleeping difficult for GERD sufferers. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get better sleep. 

Change Sleeping Position

Changing your sleep position can drastically improve your nighttime symptoms. Avoid sleeping on your back if at all possible. Instead, sleep on your left sight. If you must sleep on your back or if your symptoms persist after rolling over to your left side, sleep in an inclined position. If you don't have an adjustable bed, simply use a wedge pillow or place something under your mattress that will raise it several inches. Also, avoid sleeping in any position that places pressure on your stomach. The pressure can force stomach acids up into your esophagus. 

Watch Your Evening Diet

As you know, certain foods trigger your symptoms more than others. Be mindful of everything you eat in the evening hours. Avoid triggers, such as chocolate, alcohol, tomato sauce, greasy foods, onions, and citrus fruits among others. Remember, your triggers may be different from others. Be sure to keep a food journal of everything you eat in the evening so you can figure out which foods are causing your symptoms. Also, don't eat late or eat large meals in the evening. Eat more food early in the day and eat a light dinner. 

Change Your Schedule

Change your schedule so that you can stay upright for several hours after you take your last bite of food. If you take medicines at bedtime, try taking them earlier in the evening with your last meal. Since exercise can exacerbate symptoms, don't exercise at night. Relaxation helps alleviate symptoms. If you enjoy relaxation techniques, such as meditation, do them at night. 

Nighttime symptoms of GERD can make it difficult for you to get the amount of sleep you need to function properly. However, you can take steps to alleviate your symptoms at night. Most changes are simple lifestyle and habit changes. If you continue to have trouble, talk to your doctor about other options. For more information, contact a business such as Premier Surgical Associates.