Have heartburn? It could be keeping you up at night. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) also known as acid reflux is a chronic condition that affects five to seven percent of the population.
According to a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, adults who experience nighttime heartburn are more likely to report sleep problems or disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea or daytime sleepiness than those who don’t suffer nighttime heartburn.
GERD is a backflow of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. Most people who have GERD experience an increase in the severity of symptoms (usually heartburn or coughing and choking) while lying down. If the acid backs up as far as the throat and larynx, the sleeper will wake up coughing and choking. If the acid only backs up as far as the esophagus the symptom is usually experienced as heartburn.
Most people refer to GERD as heartburn, although you can have it without heartburn. Sometimes GERD can cause serious complications including inflammation of the esophagus from stomach acid that causes bleeding or ulcers. While doctors don’t know the exact cause of GERD, they discovered these contributing factors:
- alcohol use
Certain foods have been associated with acid reflux events including:
- citrus fruits
- drinks with caffeine
- fatty and fried foods
- garlic and onions
- mint flavorings
- spicy foods
- tomato-based foods, like spaghetti sauce, chili, and pizza
If you find yourself unable to sleep at night because you’re suffering from acid reflux, it’s time to cut back on the foods that could be causing the problem. Anything that leads to your not getting a good night’s sleep is something that should be checked out by your doctor or a sleep professional.
Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients. Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems. They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare. For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; http://www.valleysleepcenter.com