Heartburn occurs when food or stomach acid leaks up into the esophagus. Normally the esophageal sphincter acts as a valve, preventing this backflow from occurring. Sometimes the esophageal sphincter doesn’t close all the way, and when the food and acid travel back up, it causes heartburn. Heartburn during sleep happens the same way. If you have been experiencing acid reflux during sleep, this article could help you identify the cause, and possibly reduce your symptoms. 

Why Do I Have Heartburn At Night?

Many different factors play into why you may have heartburn. When you are standing or sitting, you have the force of gravity on your side, making sure that everything that goes down, stays down. When you lay down, you put your stomach and esophagus on the same plane. This makes it easier for the food and fluids to travel up and through the esophageal sphincter. If you eat a lot right before you go to sleep, then there is a higher chance that some of it is going to seep through the cracks. Other factors put you at a higher risk of heartburn. Some of these risk factors include;

  • Wearing tight clothes
  • Being obese
  • High levels of stress
  • Spicy food or coffee
  • Smoking and drinking
  • Over-eating

Another possible reason for heartburn is pregnancy. 17-45% of pregnant women experience heartburn during pregnancy. This can happen as a result of many things, including the added pressure inside the body, weight gain, and changes in stress levels and hormones.

How Can I Reduce Nightly Heartburn?

There are a few over-the-counter medications that help reduce acid reflux while sleeping, such as antacids and acid reducers. Antacids neutralize the acid in the stomach, which in turn reduces the symptoms of heartburn. 

Here is a list of antacids that reduce symptoms;

  • calcium carbonate (Tums)
  • magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia)
  • sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, Alka-Seltzer)
  • bismuth subsalicylate( pepto-bismol)

Acid reducers on the other hand reduce the production of acid in the stomach. There are few options for over-the-counter acid reducers but they are not a permanent solution. Some of these options include

  • famotidine (Pepcid AC)
  • omeprazole (Prilosec OTC)
  • esomeprazole (Nexium 24HR)

If over-the-counter medication isn’t your first choice, some people find that elevating their head or chest can help reduce reflux at night. The increase in angle can help prevent the acid from coming up. Losing weight can reduce heartburn as well as obesity puts pressure on the abdomen and can lead to heartburn. Eating smaller meals and snacking less before bed are also great ways to reduce your chances of heartburn at night. 

Find Better Sleep At Jacksonville Sleep Center

Getting good sleep is the first step in feeling better during the day. If you are having trouble with sleep apnea or heartburn, don’t hesitate to reach out toJacksonville Sleep Center. If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our sleep specialists, get in touch with us today!