Naps May Increase Acid Reflux

  • Many people with acid reflux find that they have an increase in symptoms when they lay down to sleep.  Recent research has shown that adults with acid reflux have more of these symptoms when they nap than they do when they lay down to sleep at night (1). These naps also had longer duration of reflux events as well as lower pH values.

    While it is not clear exactly why naps have a higher incident of reflux events, it may be due to a couple of things.


    One theory is that when people nap they often do not reach the deeper stages of sleep.  These deeper stages of sleep  appear to be protective against reflux incidences. If you are in the habit of taking a short nap, this may be your problem as well.

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    Napping after a meal is very common around the world.  When my aunt and uncle lived in Peru, the common practice was for everyone to take a nap after their lunchtime meal.  If you have acid reflux, this can definitely cause additional symptoms.  Huge meals--think Thanksgiving dinner--can also trigger sleepiness and trigger an impromptu naptime for many.  Unfortunately, laying down to sleep after a big meal may also increase symptoms.  

    No matter the direct cause, if you are a  frequent "napper" it could be causing problems in your overall acid reflux control.  It might be a good idea to consider forgoing the nap and adding to your nighttime sleep totals, if you aren't getting enough hours of sleep in.  Instead of a nap, try taking a walk after lunch or a meal.  This will aid in digestion and reduce the risk of reflux episodes.

Published On: August 06, 2014