Is GERD Keeping You From Sleeping? - Better Health Solutions

Is GERD Keeping You From Sleeping?

Is GERD Keeping You From Sleeping?

Who is GERD, and why doesn’t he want you to sleep? As you probably know, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is not a person. It is an affliction suffered by millions around the world. This chronic illness affects anywhere from 5% to 7% of the global population and can lead to dangerous and even deadly medical complications if you ignore it. (That scary information comes from the National Sleep Foundation, some folks who know more than a little about insomnia and its causes.)

GERD can occur for a number of reasons, and is commonly listed as the 3rd or 4th most common gastrointestinal disorder in the United States. And guess what the number one symptom of this bothersome disease is? Nighttime heartburn. It is pretty tough to sleep when heartburn is keeping you awake, so insomnia comes calling.

But GERD can do more than just make falling to sleep difficult. The disease has also been known to cause sleep apnea and daytime sleepiness, and even restless leg syndrome. To cure your GERD, which fortunately is something that in many cases you can do yourself, you have to know exactly what it is.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease simply describes the back-flow of acid, when it moves up from your stomach into your esophagus. Continued non-treatment of GERD almost always leads to a increase in the severity of your suffering. Heartburn and even coughing or choking while sleeping is not uncommon.

And if your stomach acid backs up into your throat, your attempt at sleep is instantly interrupted by a violent choking and coughing episode. GERD is often used as a synonym for heartburn, but you can see that it can be much more serious than that.

A few of the factors which have been known to increase your probability of experiencing GERD are:

• Being overweight
• Improper diet
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Pregnancy
• Smoking
• Eating just before bed
• Aging

The great news is that, since GERD is a backing up of your gastrointestinal system, there are a couple of physical actions you can take immediately to fight it. And this means a much better chance at falling to sleep, and curing your insomnia.

Simply by sleeping on your left side can reduce acid reflux. This is because of the way your internal digestive system is positioned. In some cases this simple change in sleeping posture can provide overnight relief. And the insomnia which used to accompany your GERD disappears along with your acid reflux.

On the other side of the coin, you can agitate GERD by sleeping on your right side. And you do not want to sleep on your back either, especially if you are overweight or obese. Pressure on your stomach has been known to drive acid into your esophagus in this sleeping position.

Also, if you are able to elevate your head and chest above your legs, you will actually be giving gravity a hand in fighting GERD. When the head of your bed is raised 6 to 8 inches, your natural digestive system and flow helps keep that acid down in your stomach where it belongs.

Battling GERD and the dreaded insomnia which sometimes accompanies it is also easier if you do not go to bed for at least 3 to 4 hours after eating. Smaller dinners cause fewer problems, and these simple lifetime adjustments can actually begin to show relief from GERD and it is sleepless companion insomnia the same day that you put them into practice.