If you find yourself struggling to get a good night’s sleep, it may be because of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
According to a recent study, GERD is strongly associated with sleep disturbances. In fact, more than half of those in the study with GERD symptoms said that acid reflux affects their sleep. In comparison, sleep disturbances happen to only about 39 percent of those without GERD.
Not getting enough sleep can cause mood disturbances, cost work time and lead to dangerous driving. However, if acid reflux symptoms are keeping you up, there may be even more to worry about.
For example, those with sleep disturbances due to GERD seem to have more daytime dysfunction and sleepiness than those who lose sleep for other reasons. Researchers suspect that the sleepiness may be due to obstructive sleep apnea. Also, those with GERD and sleep problems have lower physical scores than those without GERD, suggesting acid regurgitation and heartburn may be happening at night and causing pain and discomfort.
Nighttime heartburn occurs in a large majority of adults with heartburn but often goes untreated. If you suspect that acid reflux symptoms are keeping you up at night, there are several things you can do.
Talk to your doctor about what you are experiencing. A doctor is likely to suggest lifestyle changes, such as not eating before bed and tilting your mattress so that gravity can assist with your reflux symptoms at night.
If you are already taking reflux medication, your doctor may switch you to a longer-acting medication or may have you take your medication at night instead of in the morning.
A good night’s sleep is important to both your mental and physical health.
Dr. Tracy Davenport is a health writer, advocate and entrepreneur who has been helping individuals live their best life. She is co-author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux. Follow Tracy’s love of smoothies on Twitter.