By using a national survey, researchers have provided scientific evidence that nighttime acid reflux, along with some of the less typical symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), are associated with significant sleep impairment.
The research team (Dean & Fass, 2007) found that sleep impairment was more common among people with GERD (41.9 percent) than those without GERD (19.4 percent). Researchers also found that 49.5 percent of the study respondents with nighttime GERD reported sleeping poorly often or most of the time, compared to 36.7 percent of people with daytime GERD.
Additionally, the researchers found that many of the GERD patients surveyed experience atypical manifestations of GERD such as coughing, sore throat, snoring, wheezing, choking, and chest pain. Of the GERD patients surveyed in this study, 74 percent had at least one nighttime atypical symptom.
These research results were presented at this year's Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. While these findings may come as no surprise to those of us living with or caring for someone with acid reflux, the presentation of this evidence at a scientific meeting is an important step forward, since some gastroenterologists still lack an understanding of all of the potential daily disruptions of acid reflux and GERD.