The Perfect Sleep Position If You Have GERD
Have you been diagnosed with GERD? Do the symptoms of the disease keep you from getting a good night's sleep? If you answered yes to these questions, you are not alone. About 15% of the American population have the disease. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease.When stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, the pain and discomfort of acid reflux and heartburn can make it very difficult to get quality sleep.
Many people may already know that finding a comfortable sleep position, one that does not encourage the back flow of stomach acid, can be difficult. In the first place, we tend to have a favorite position. Changing it often feels unnatural and requires an adjustment.
Do you have a favorite sleep position?Are you a back sleeper? Unfortunately, sleeping flat on your back also flattens out your digestive tract. This position easily allows stomach acid to reflux.
Right-side sleepers don't have it any better than back sleepers. When you are on your right side, the stomach is above the esophagus. Liquid can drain into the esophagus and, once again, trouble begins.
What is the perfect sleep position?To begin with, avoid the two sleep positions already mentioned. This can be an important first step toward more satisfying sleep. Sleeping on your left side places the stomach below the esophagus. GERD symptoms are lessened because the acid in your stomach needs to work against gravity before it can enter your esophagus. That should be an incentive to change your favorite sleep position.
Another simple trick that alleviates symptoms is sleeping on a slight incline. With your upper body elevated, once again, stomach acid is more likely to stay where it belongs, that is, in your stomach. A minimum of six inches is recommended for successful elevation.
Is there an easy way to elevate?There are a variety of products on the market to assist with proper elevation. Positional therapy pillows and wedges can be purchased. A wedge is great for sleeping on your side. You can even accomplish your goal by simply elevating the legs of your bed with blocks of wood. Experiment with the possibilities until you find one that works best for you.
While over-the-counter and prescription drugs can treat heartburn and acid reflux, sometimes all it takes to prevent nighttime heartburn is a few lifestyle changes. Talk to your doctor about a good treatment plan if you have been diagnosed with GERD. The sooner you start to make changes in your life, the better you will feel.
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