Heartburn: Sleep position has an effect
Or you could prop yourself up on a bunch of pillows and sleep in a more upright position, or buy a foam wedge that can be placed under the bottom sheet. 4. Sleep on your left side. Research suggests that sleeping on your left side helps to reduce acid reflux at night. 5. Skip irritating foods. Watch what you eat, especially at dinner and before bedtime.
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Study: Soft drinks, sleeping pills linked to heartburn
The reason is not entirely clear. One hypothesis holds that right-side sleeping relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, between the stomach and the esophagus. Another holds that left-side sleeping keeps the junction between stomach and esophagus above the level of gastric acid. In a study in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, scientists recruited a group of healthy subjects and fed them high-fat meals on different days to induce heartburn. Immediately after the meals, the subjects spent four hours lying on one side or the other as devices measured their esophageal acidity. Ultimately, the researchers found that the total amount of reflux time was significantly greater when the subjects lay on their right side.
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Heartburn is a symptom of a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acids creep up into the esophagus, causing burning and chest pain and sometimes leaving a bad taste in your mouth. For many people, it can be brought on by big heavy meals, spicy foods, or alcohol. Lying down too soon after eating can also bring on heartburn. Many people have the mild form of GERD, where symptoms happen less that 3 times per week and do not interfere with sleep or daily activity. When GERD happens more frequently and to the extent that it keeps you awake, it is classified as severe. While mild GERD can generally be managed through lifestyle modifications or nonprescription mattress that elevates medications, severe GERD usually requires prescription medication or even surgery and can be a risk factor for esophageal cancer. The study is the first to look at how many people are being kept up at night, said the study’s author, Dr.
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