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Sleep Without Stress: How to Avoid Middle-of-the-Night Heartburn

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Don’t let heartburn — or worrying about heartburn — keep you up at night. These tricks can help you sleep soundly and comfortably.

The hour or so before bedtime should be when you wind down from your day, do something relaxing, and prepare yourself for sleep. But if you’re a frequent heartburn sufferer, this part of the day might be when your anxiety soars. After all, stomach acid is likelier to make its way into your esophagus when you’re lying down in bed

woman sleeping in bed

Instead of stressing yourself out—which is going to make it tough to fall asleep—try incorporating these habits into your regular routine. They’ll reduce your risk of late-night heartburn, so you can sleep soundly until morning. 

  1. Raise the head of your bed. Research shows that elevating the head of your bed results in fewer acid reflux episodes. You can also use a wedge pillow to raise your torso if you don’t want to put blocks under the bed itself.
  2. Slip into something more comfortable. Clothing that’s tight around your stomach adds pressure, which can force acid up. Try changing into loose workout clothes or pajamas while you’re digesting to prevent this from happening.
  3. Sleep on your left side. While researchers aren’t entirely sure why, people who sleep on the left side tend to have shorter bouts of reflux than those who sleep on their right. One potential reason: The sphincter (the muscle keeping the acid in the stomach) relaxes more when you’re on your right side.
  4. Don’t lie down too early in the evening. You might feel like relaxing on the sofa and getting lost in a binge-watching marathon after dinner, but try to sit up or stand for the three hours or so after you eat. Gravity will help keep the acid down where it belongs.
  5. Take a Nexium 24HR. Because Nexium24HR, which can be taken for two weeks each morning, blocks acid from forming in the first place, it can keep frequent heartburn (aka heartburn that happens at least two days a week) at bay—which means you can fall asleep knowing heartburn won’t be keeping you up. (One thing to keep in mind: it may take 1 to 4 days before you see full effect.)