ACID Reflux Treatment & GERD Treatment
Sleeping at a Slant Treats ACID Reflux and GERD
Humans sleep through roughly 1/3 of their life; for the average person living into his or her 70s, that’s about 23 years of time in bed. These are easy hours for most, but for people living with Acid Reflux that is more than 8,000 hours of the stomach struggling with acids wreaking havoc on the rest of the body.
ACID Reflux and GERD: According WebMD research, there is a valve at the entrance to the stomach, which is a ring of muscle called the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). Normally, the LES closes as soon as food passes through. However, if the LES doesn’t close all the way, or if it opens too often, acid produced by the stomach can move up into your esophagus. This causes a burning sensation in the chest better known as heartburn. If these symptoms occur more than twice a week, you may have Acid Reflux disease, also referred to as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Nearly one in four Americans suffer from heartburn, or are in the beginning stages of Acid Reflux disease, particularly in the nighttime when our bodies naturally slow down, this is according to a study done in the medical journal CHEST. A study testing 1,900 GERD patients found that 55% felt this issue kept them from getting a restful night’s sleep.
ACID Reflux and GERD: If these symptoms are sounding familiar, consult your physicians for testing. Medication is the most common treatment for the symptoms of stomach acid, but physician advised lifestyle changes are also needed to treat the problem not just numb the pain. Most commonly, doctors recommend the following lifestyle changes: elevate the head of your bed (doctors suggest at least a six inch incline of the entire body); avoiding alcohol, caffeine and (heartbreakingly) chocolate; quit smoking; monitor your diet; don’t eat within three hours of bedtime; and increase exercise.
Most of these recommendations are obvious for the benefits to overall health, however most patients are not aware of the significant benefits that sleeping at an incline can have on so many of the body’s ailments including: spinal cord injury, back pain, sinus and respiratory disorders, Sleep Apnea, poor circulation, low metabolism, Edema in the legs, and numerous other conditions.
Medical facts from Healthwise as reported on WebMD state that when someone sleeps flat on the back, particularly on a softer / less supportive mattress, the upper-back and chest tend to sink in causing your air passages to collapse. Furthermore, stomach acids have the chance to flow backwards up into the esophagus, particularly for Acid Reflux patients that have a weak LES. By sleeping at an incline, gravity keeps the acids in place. For individuals that snore, the incline allows you to breathe without heavy effort cause by the collapsed airway, resulting in less snoring or labored breath. It also keeps your tongue from falling back into the throat and blocking air.
ACID Reflux and GERD: If elevating the head, chest and throat allows for better airflow, imagine the benefits of inclined sleeping when you’re sick with colds, flu and allergies. The incline opens the nasal passages allowing drainage to flow down the throat into the stomach – using gravity.
If you are currently on medication for Acid Reflux, or feel like the above descriptions of symptoms are screaming your name, talk to a doctor about the benefits of elevated sleeping.