Can night-time acid reflux affect sleep?

by Todd Eisner Patient Expert

Nighttime acid reflux, as well as atypical symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD (cough, hoarseness, asthma-like symptoms) is associated with significant impairment of sleep.

A recent study presented at the American College of Gastroenterology showed that sleep impairment was more common among people with GERD than those without it. Researchers found that half of patients with nighttime GERD reported sleeping poorly often or most of the time, compared to one-third of people with daytime GERD. Researchers also found that sleep impairment was more common among GERD patients with atypical manifestations compared to GERD patients with only typical or classic symptoms such as heartburn and acid regurgitation.

GERD symptoms experienced during the night commonly cause sleep disturbances, including arousal from sleep, increased wakefulness and overall poor sleep quality. Some individuals who have respiratory problems exacerbated by acid reflux may frequently be without symptoms of heartburn. Silent reflux (not associated with heartburn) may be the cause of sleep disturbances in patients with unexplained sleep disorders. All patients with sleep apnea should be evaluated for GERD.

Learn about possible treatments for nighttime acid reflux:

Sleepless Stomach -- Relief for Nighttime GERD

Todd Eisner
Meet Our Writer
Todd Eisner

Todd wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Digestive Health.