GI Blog

GERD by Night:Practical Tips for a Good Night's Sleep

28 November 2023

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) adds a twist to our daily script as stomach contents make an unwelcome return to the esophagus, causing discomfort and potential damage. Among the cast of symptoms are heartburn, reflux, chest pain, upper abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, throat irritation, and cough, with heartburn and reflux taking center stage at 82.4% and 58.8%, respectively.


For those grappling with GERD, the nighttime saga intensifies the struggle, disrupting sleep and casting shadows on overall well-being, work, and daily life.

To combat GERD symptoms after dark, consider these practical lifestyle tweaks:


Mindful Eating:

Avoid high-fat, spicy, and acidic foods, and bid farewell to carbonated drinks, coffee, strong tea, chocolate, and mint. Alcohol, a known GERD trigger, is best left untouched.


Break Free from Smoking:

The 2020 "Chinese Multidisciplinary Consensus on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease" emphasizes the close relationship between smoking and GERD. Quitting smoking not only eases reflux symptoms but also reduces cancer and cardiovascular risks.


Weight Wellness:

Research highlights the power of shedding pounds in alleviating GERD symptoms. Incorporate regular exercise and a balanced diet for effective weight control.


Timing is Everything:

Allow a 3-hour gap between your last meal and bedtime to aid gastric emptying and reduce the risk of nighttime GERD.


Sleepwear Freedom:

Opt for loose-fitting sleepwear to minimize abdominal pressure and avoid tight clothing that can aggravate gastric pressure.


Pillow Talk:

Contrary to common beliefs, pay attention to your sleeping posture. Elevate the head of your bed at a gentle 15° to 20° angle for a GERD-friendly night.


While GERD may not steal the spotlight in life-threatening scenarios, untreated cases can cast a shadow on overall well-being. Individuals experiencing symptoms like heartburn, reflux, chest pain, or upper abdominal discomfort should seek timely medical attention. If initial interventions fall short, diagnostic assessments like upper endoscopy, esophagram, esophageal function tests, esophageal manometry, and pH Capsule monitoring or Impedance pH Monitoring can provide a clearer picture for effective diagnosis.