Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a chronic condition where stomach acid flows up your esophagus. For those of you who suffer from symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn chronically, you may have GERD.
But what causes GERD?
When you eat, food travels down your esophagus through your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and into your stomach where digestion begins. If your LES functions correctly, what you eat will stay in your stomach. When your LES does not do its job, it can allow your stomach contents to escape up into your esophagus. The result of the malfunctioning LES could be symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, choking and coughing.
Of course, these symptoms rarely occur during the day only, and those that suffer nocturnal symptoms are more likely to also have sleep problems such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and daytime sleepiness. This sleeplessness can then cause other health issues.
How Do Heartburn and GERD Impact Sleep?
As you can imagine, GERD can have a major impact on the quality of your sleep. There are several ways that GERD-related acid reflux interferes with sleep:
1. GERD Causes Pain:
It is an intense pain that can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack. It isn’t hard to understand why it would keep you awake at night.
2. Can Cause Choking
If acid reflux reaches the back of the throat or larynx, it may prompt a coughing fit or even choking. The repeated act of doing this will keep you awake through the night and leave you tired and out of sorts the next morning.
You may wake up due to regurgitation. This occurs when a small amount of stomach acid comes up through your esophagus and into your mouth. As gross as it is disconcerting, this regurgitation will keep anyone awake long into the night.
4. Possible Cause of Sleep Apnea
GERD has been identified as a risk factor for sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea is a disorder in which the person repeatedly stops breathing during the night. Refluxed stomach acid may cause the voice box to spasm and block the airway, preventing air from flowing into the lungs.
It’s unfortunate, but even the act of lying down can trigger GERD and acid reflux. When you sit or stand, gravity will help to keep acid in the stomach. When you lie flat, it is much easier for the stomach acid to backflow into your esophagus.
Also, when you sleep, your swallowing becomes less frequent. Swallowing is a regular esophageal contraction that would normally keep food moving down the esophagus and prevent acid from moving back up. Likewise, you produce less saliva, which has a role in returning esophageal pH levels to normal after an incident of acid reflux.
How Do You Live (and Sleep) with GERD?
Heartburn, acid reflux, GERD are common medical conditions that can eventually lead to more serious problems. But people live and thrive despite these medical conditions. So, how do they do it? Let’s look at four things that make living with GERD much easier.
1. Sleep on Your Left Side
Sleeping flat on your left side provides heartburn relief. In this position, your LES typically stays above the level of gastric contents, which makes refluxing more difficult. Even if acid should escape in this position, gravity will return it to your stomach quicker than other sleeping positions.
Another bonus of sleeping on your left side is that any reflux that occurs tends to be gaseous in nature. This will decrease potential damage from acid exposure.
2. Sleep with Your Upper Body Elevated
Sleeping at an incline decreases the frequency of reflux episodes and allows your body to clear reflux quickly. When you lie flat on the bed, your throat and stomach are basically at the same level. This makes it easier for stomach acids to flow up your esophagus and cause heartburn.
If your entire torso is elevated from four to six inches, the incline will give gravity a little boost to return reflux to your stomach.
3. Stay Upright After Eating
Going to bed too soon after eating can cause GERD symptoms to flare up. Keeping your torso in an upright position reduces the risk of acid creeping up your esophagus. It is recommended that you should wait at least three to four hours after eating before you bend over or lie down to go to sleep. This means that you’ll need to avoid those bedtime snacks.
4. Maintain a Sleeping Schedule
Overall, you should create and maintain a good sleeping schedule that will consider all the risks of nocturnal GERD symptoms. This includes the following:
- Going to bed and waking up at a regular time (even on weekends)
- Avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed
- Relaxing before bed.
It is also important to have a good sleeping environment. That means getting rid of anything that might distract or interrupt your sleep (no television, computer, bright lights, or loud noises).
Another part of a good sleeping routine is to never lie awake in bed. If you are awake in bed from more than 20 minutes, you should get up and do some relaxing activities until you feel ready to go to sleep.
Amazingly, a wedge-shaped pillow can help reduce symptoms of heartburn and GERD as well as get you a better night’s sleep.
Why Use a Wedge Pillow for Sleeping?
A wedge-shaped pillow might be the answer to all your nocturnal GERD-related sleep problems. By design, an elevation pillow will keep you partially upright, creating resistance to the flow of acid.
Using a specifically designed pillow is preferable because if you substitute regular pillows, they will only raise your head, not your entire upper body.
Not sure you can remain on your left side while sleeping? A wedge pillow will help you stay in position all night while maintaining your comfort.
Obviously, a wedge pillow is the next step if you want to relieve your night-time heartburn woes. Not just any pillow will do, however. You deserve a high-quality pillow that will relieve your heartburn symptoms and more. Fortunately, Xtreme Comforts has created the XW Wedge Pillow.
XW Wedge Pillow Is the High-Quality Answer to Your Sleeping Problems
Xtreme Comforts made the XW Wedge Pillow with you in mind. Designed to provide comfort, support and sleep for those suffering from acid reflux and other sleep issues, this bed wedge features so much more.
Equipped with Xtreme Comforts’ 2-layer deluxe Body Active Memory Foam, the XW Wedge Pillow will never go flat. These bacteria resistant pillows remain uniform in density and conform to your shape to reduce pressure points, increase blood flow and provide support, comfort and alignment. The soft quilted bamboo cover is hypoallergenic and provides superior air circulation and breathability to keep you cool while easily standing up to tough, everyday use.
This bed wedge pillow is easy to care for. The cover is completely removable with a zipper that is designed so that it does not impact your comfort during sleep. As it is completely machine washable, you simply remove the cover and wash in cold water. When it is done, just toss in the dryer.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this Xtreme Comforts deal is that it is completely risk-free. That is right, this pillow wedge is backed by its 100% lifetime warranty.
So, what are you waiting for? The solution to your nocturnal acid reflux problems is just within your reach. Order yourself an Xtreme Comforts XW Wedge Pillow today and say goodbye to sleepless nights, and hello to a pain-free good night’s sleep.