Suffering from heartburn? Try THESE nine ways to ensure symptoms don’t ruin your sleep

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and indigestion, which affects four in every ten people each year.

Signs you are suffering include a burning or hot sensation within the chest, nausea, difficulty swallowing and regurgitation.

Symptoms can worsen at night when you lie down in bed, and as many as four out of five sufferers report disrupted sleep.

Make these changes to your diet to ensure you wake feeling refreshed.

Avoid large meals at night

“Eating until you're full to bursting isn’t exactly healthy for anyone, especially if you suffer from heartburn,” said Lily Soutter, resident nutritionist for high-tech mattress maker SIMBA Sleep.

“When there is too much pressure within the stomach, it can promote acid reflux in those with a weak lower oesophageal sphincter.”

She recommended eating off a smaller plate, having five to six meals throughout the day, eating slowly and eating without distractions like the TV.

Limit alcohol before bed

“Whilst it’s absolutely fine to enjoy the odd glass of wine, if you’re serious about relieving your heartburn symptoms, alcohol really should be limited before bed,” warned Soutter.

“Alcohol can increase stomach acid and relax the lower oesophageal sphincter, both of which are triggers for night time heartburn.”

She pointed to studies showing even moderate alcohol intake may cause reflux symptoms. 

Switch your coffee for herbal tea

Not only could tea reduce your risk of glaucoma, a brew could help heartburn sufferers get a good night’s sleep too.

Souter said: “Some research has shown that caffeine may weaken the lower oesophageal sphincter, which can ultimately increase the risk of symptoms.”

Minimise citrus juice including orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime

Souter revealed that as many as 72 per cent of sufferers with heartburn find that citrus juice aggravates their symptoms. 

“Whilst citrus juice isn’t necessarily the cause of heartburn, it can irritate the lining of the oesophagus, which may worsen symptoms,” she explained.

Avoid raw onion and garlic

“There is some evidence to show that acid reflux may worsen after consuming a meal containing raw onion or garlic,” she said.

“It has been suggested that they irritate the lining of the oesophagus, however it is still very dependent on the individual.”

She recommended infusing onion and garlic into drizzling oils, and ensuring your onion and garlic are cooked well.

Limit carbonated beverages

Soutter said: “Soft drinks are highly acidic and are strongly associated with nighttime heartburn.

“And it’s not just the sugary drinks that you need to watch out for; carbonated water has also been shown to weaken the lower oesophageal sphincter, which can trigger take out space symptoms.”

Avoid high fat foods prior to bed

“Whilst many can find it hard to digest fatty or fried food before bed, those suffering nighttime heart burn really do struggle,” said Soutter.

“High fat foods can delay gastric emptying, which increases stomach pressure and in turn promotes heartburn.”

She suggested cooking from scratch gives you full control over fat content, a good portion size of fat per meal is one thumb for women and four thumbs for men and avoid deep-fried foods.

Minimise spicy foods

“Spicy foods are a well-known trigger of heartburn and can irritate the oesophagus,” said Soutter.

Switching to herbs such as oregano, thyme, chives, parsley, tarragon, parsley could help, she added.

Don’t skimp on fibre

Getting enough fibre could help prevent symptoms associated with heartburn.

A study involving 65, 363 people showed that an increased fibre intake was significantly associated with improved reflux symptoms.

“Fibre is an essential component of a healthy diet, however there is also evidence to suggest that too much fermentable fibre may symptoms,” said Soutter.

People should be consuming 30g of fibre a day, and whole grains, beans, lentils, chick peas, fruit and vegetables are rich sources.



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