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Ways Of Easing Nighttime Acid Reflux

Oct 9, 2007
Almost eight in ten heartburn sufferers experience symptoms at night. But staying up all night to fend off heartburn isn't very useful. Here's what you can do before you go to bed to help you feel better and get a better night's rest -- free of heartburn.

Eat at least two to three hours before lying down

This way your stomach won't still be digesting on that big meal when you go to bed. This is because the stomach has to produce great amounts of acid in order to digest the food. The excessive acid tends to back up into the esophagus when you lie down. Lying down with a stuffed stomach can cause stomach contents to press harder against the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that holds the food in the stomach. If foods reflux up through the LES, it will result in heartburn.

Avoid foods that are known to lead to heartburn

Foods that can set off your heartburn, such as spicy foods, coffee, citrus fruit, fruit juices and chocolate should be avoided near to bedtime. If you consume any of these foods at dinnertime, it will increase your chances of having nighttime heartburn. If you aren't sure what foods trigger your heartburn symptoms, try to keep a notebook record for heartburn record for a week. Additionally, refer to the list of acidic food list below. This will serve as a tool for you to look out for acidic food.

Sleep with your head and shoulder on an incline

Lying flat presses the stomach's contents against the LES. Proper disgestion does not happen in that prone position. However, if the head is higher than the stomach, gravity helps reduce this pressure, and keeps stomach contents where they belong--in the stomach. You can elevate your head in a number of ways. You can place bricks, blocks or anything that's sturdy securely under the legs at the head of your bed. You can also use an acid reflux pillow to elevate your head and shoulders.

Quit smoking

Nicotine can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, which can lead to stomach contents entering the esophagus, with heartburn as a result. Smoking also stimulates the production of stomach acid. Cigarette smoking dries out the saliva in the mouth and esophagus. Saliva would normally neutralize stomach acid. Therefore smoking can lead to symptoms of acid reflux

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol increases the production of stomach acid. Alcohol also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach contents to reflux back up into the esophagus. It may also curb the contraction of esophageal sphincter. It is the failure of the sphincter muscle to contract tightly that leads to acid reflux.

Take an antacid when heartburn hits

Antacids will work very quickly on heartburn you may be experiencing before you go to bed. It also can be used for those heartburn episodes that wake you up during the night if the heartburn comes back. An H2 blocker will work for a longer period of time, usually up to 12 hours. Another option is to combine the two. You should discuss this with your physician to determine what is the best treatment for you.

Taking Calcium carbonate

Calcium carbonate is another temporary relief of stomach acid reflex as it absorbs the excess acid in the stomach. Several over-the-counter medications, developed for stomach acid reflex, may offer extended relief by taking them daily or prior to eating. By absorbing the acid, it greatly reduces the chance of acid refluxing back into the esophagus.

Acidic food

Corn, Lentils, Olives, Winter Squash.

Blueberries, Canned or Glazed Fruits, Cranberries, Currants, Plums, Prunes.

Amaranth, Barley, Wheat Bran, Oat Bran, Corn, Cornstarch, Hemp Seed Flour, Kamut, Oats (rolled), Oatmeal, Quinoa, Rice (all), Rice Cakes, Rye, Spelt, Wheat, Wheat Germ, Noodles, Macaroni, Spaghetti, Bread, Soda Crackers, White Flour, Wheat Flour.

Black Beans, Chick Peas, Green Peas, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Pinto Beans, Red Beans, Soy Beans, Soy Milk, White Beans, Rice Milk, Almond Milk.

Butter, Cheese, Processed Cheese, Ice Cream, Ice Milk.

Cashews, Legumes, Peanuts, Peanut Butter, Pecans, Tahini, Walnuts.

Bacon, Beef, Carp, Clams, Cod, Corned Beef, Fish, Haddock, Lamb, Lobster, Mussels, Organ Meats, Oyster, Pike, Pork, Rabbit, Salmon, Sardines, Sausage, Scallops, Shrimp, Scallops, Shellfish, Tuna, Turkey, Veal, Venison.

Avacado Oil, Butter, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Flax Oil, Lard, Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Sesame Oil, Sunflower Oil

Carob, Sugar, Corn Syrup

Beer, Spirits, Hard Liquor, Wine

Cocoa, Coffee, Vinegar, Mustard, Pepper, Soft Drinks
About the Author
Cindy Heller is a professional writer. Visit acid reflux remedy to learn more about natural remedies for acid reflux and other symptoms of heartburn acid reflux disease.
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