People who suffer from reflux symptoms at night, including heartburn, breathing difficulties and indigestion, will often struggle to get a decent night’s sleep.
If you’re waking frequently and struggling with tiredness in the morning, there are some simple tips you can try to enjoy a good night’s rest.
1) Try sleeping on your left side
It is widely believed that sleeping on your left side can help aid digestion. Because the stomach ‘hangs’ naturally when you lie on your left side, experts say this means it can digest food properly, whereas if you lie on the right side, the stomach will hang in an unnatural position. A study of digestive reflux in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that the total amount of reflux time was significantly greater when sleeping on the right.
2) Elevate your upper body
When you lay flat in bed, your throat and stomach are at the same level, making it easy for stomach contents to flow up your oesophagus and into the airways. Try elevating your body so that your head and chest are raised by at least 15 to 20 cm. Gravity will then prevent your stomach contents from flowing into the oesophagus. You can buy reflux pillows and wedges to support your sleeping position.
3) Avoid large, late-night meals
Experts advise you to avoid eating meals two to three hours before bedtime to reduce the levels of stomach acid present when you lie down and to allow the stomach to partially empty its contents before you sleep. Because large meals put pressure on your stomach, try eating smaller portions on an evening.