Having a hearty meal can be a great way to end the evening. After having your favorite home-cooked meal or going to a restaurant, you might want to unwind with a good night’s sleep. However, something might keep you up at night: acid reflux.
What food can cause acid reflux?
Some foods can make you more prone to acid reflux, a condition where your stomach acid flows back and irritates the food pipe in the throat. Food containing a high fat content such as French fries, fried chicken, and certain cuts of beef or pork can trigger acid reflux or GERD. Acidic fruits or sauces with a tomato base can also induce this condition, as can high dairy products including ice cream and rich desserts. The commonality here is that many of these are found in dinner items eaten before bedtime.
What are the symptoms of acid reflux?
After eating these foods, you may experience many uncomfortable symptoms, some lower down in your stomach (gastroesophageal reflux or GERD) or higher in your throat (laryngopharyngeal reflux or LPR.) Don’t get too confused about these two names – it’s the same acid reflux from your stomach but healthcare professionals label it slightly differently based on the symptoms you present with. These symptoms include:
– Stomach pain or discomfort
– Throat irritation
– Lump in throat
– Vocal changes
How do these symptoms affect sleep?
Sleeping can actually make your acid reflux symptoms more prevalent. When you lie in bed, your body position makes it easier for stomach acid to flow back towards the throat. Not only can acid reflux symptoms be exacerbated and disrupt your ability to have a consistent night of sleep, but your airway can be obstructed by throat spasms. These spasms can awaken you with gasping and coughing at night.
Dr. Darrell Klotz, a CEENTA otolaryngologist from their SouthPark office, affirms how significant acid reflux can be towards sleep. “If you are waking up in the middle of the night with coughing and choking or a throat irritation, think twice before blaming post-nasal drip or allergies. These are the classic symptoms of LPR.”
How can you treat acid reflux before bed?
Luckily, you can adjust many of your habits to keep acid reflux from stopping your sleep. Elevating your head with a pillow while you sleep can reduce the frequency of reflux, as can sleeping on your left side. You can also eat your meals at least three hours before sleeping or avoid the food items mentioned above, including alcohol and coffee. Finally, antacids taken before bedtime can neutralize your stomach acid for fewer instances of acid reflux.
Acid reflux does not have to be the difference between sweet dreams and long nights. If you find yourself staying up at night with GERD or LPR, make an appointment with an otolaryngologist at CEENTA. Their ENT specialists can give you insight into your acid reflux causes and provide treatment options to get you back to bed. Schedule with Dr. Klotz at their SouthPark location today and keep acid reflux as a dream.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with any of our ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.