July 7, 2011
Acid Reflux At Night
Acid reflux, which is also known as heartburn, occurs when the stomach acids come back up into the esophagus, creating feelings of burning or pain. In general, occasional acid reflux is normal and usually the result of eating something such as spicy foods. For some individuals, acid reflux becomes persistent and is diagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Unfortunately, individuals who suffer from acid reflux at night experience not only the normal pain associated with heartburn, but also potentially damaging effects from the acid. Losing sleep is a common occurrence, but it is not the only symptom of night time GERD.
At night the body is relaxed, which also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter or LES. When the LES relaxes, acid reflux is more likely to occur. Unfortunately, during sleep the symptoms of acid reflux are not noticed immediately and the esophagus is more damaged as acid sits longer. The body will not swallow like it does naturally during daytime symptoms.
Another potential hazard of nighttime acid reflux is choking. Since the acid is in the esophagus instead of the stomach, it is possible to breathe the acid into the lungs. The result is both immediate choking and damage to the lungs.
Fortunately, it is possible to minimize or stop night time acid reflux through all-natural and simple methods.
Start with adjusting meals. Instead of eating a large meal at dinner, eat your largest meal at lunch and make a light dinner. Less food in the stomach results in lower acid production at night. Timing is the other consideration for night time meals. Eat dinner no later than three hours before bed. If you eat earlier than three hours before bed and want a snack, eat the snack no later than three hours before bed instead. Allowing three hours before bed provides time for the food to move past the stomach and the acid levels are lower, resulting in less acid reflux at night.
Another consideration is the way you sleep. Individuals who suffer from GERD or nighttime acid reflux should sleep on an incline rather than sleeping flat. For example, put bricks or blocks under the head of the bed or purchase a wedge-shaped, sturdy pillow that lifts the head up. Sleeping on an incline uses gravity to keep the stomach acid in the stomach.
Anyone who suffers from acid reflux should avoid foods that trigger the symptoms. While exact foods vary by individual, common foods that cause acid reflux include spicy foods, citrus fruits, coffee, alcohol, onions and some meats.
Wear loose-fitting night wear. While sleeping, tight clothes put pressure on the stomach and cause acid reflux when the muscles relax. Wearing something loose will minimize the pressure on the stomach, resulting in less dramatic symptoms.
Anyone who smokes should quit. Beyond the negative health effects, smoking also increases heartburn. The nicotine in cigarettes increases stomach acid production and relaxes the LES.
Combining these methods will significantly lower night time acid reflux and allow the body to heal from previous damage. For further information about methods of preventing or stopping acid reflux at night, download the Reflux Remedy Report at refluxremedy.com today.