What Causes Heartburn at Night & How to Prevent the Problem of Nighttime Heartburn?

The nighttime heartburn problem has until now affected a lot of people, who often suffer from acid reflux and heartburn problems. Heartburn indicates an uncomfortable feeling associated with warmth or burning in one’s chest. This problem takes place in humans because of the movement of stomach acid in the upward direction to reach to the esophagus.

What Causes Heartburn at Night?

What Causes Heartburn at Night?

Heartburn normally begins at about 30 minutes to 60 minutes after a person has his/her meal. It may take place at any time during the day or night. However, the pain or the problem becomes worse when individuals lay down on a bed, recliner or a sofa.

Straining to go to washroom or bending over may cause the problem of heartburn further worse. During the nighttime, human body fails to produce saliva, which decreases the movement of peristalsis or esophagus.

Occasional nighttime heartburn is common among adults. Especially, pregnant women frequently deal with heartburn symptoms.

Most of the foodstuffs irritate directly the lining present in the esophagus and may contribute to the problem of heartburn. These include:

  • Citrus juices and fruits
  • Spicy food items in the form of raw onions, garlic and black pepper
  • Tomato sauces or tomatoes
  • Red wine and other forms of alcohol
  • Chocolate and caffeinated beverages, such as tea and coffee
  • Carbonated drinks, such as Cola
  • Pepper mints.

Few of these foods may even result in stomach acid production and the reduction in the LES pressure causing the problem of heartburn.

  1. Exercises Triggering Nighttime Heartburn

    Specific types of physical exercises may cause the problem of heartburn at night. Specific body positions or postures involving sit-ups or bending over may increase pressure on one’s abdomen and thrusts the stomach acids back in the oesophagus. This makes you to get burning feelings. In addition, sometimes, leg lifts affect one’s abdominal muscles and aggravate symptoms related to heartburn, particularly during nighttime.

    Along with this, activities related to headstands and specific moves in Yoga may reverse the natural digestion flow and activates the problem of heartburn, while aerobics and jogging, along with similar other types of jarring exercises may slosh the contents present upwards and around the stomach in case you deal with the problem of weak LES.

  2. Medicines That Can Cause Heartburn Problems

    Most of the medicines may activate or make the problem of heartburn worse. These include, painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen and aspirin may result in relaxation of LES and thereby, heartburn and irritation in the stomach lines.

How to Prevent the Problem of Nighttime Heartburn?

  1. Consumption of Meals on Right Time

    In order to avoid heartburn after having meals during nighttime, you should:

    • Never overeat; instead, you should go for 5 to 6 small meals daily and avoid many large meals.
    • Never consume food before going to the bed. In this case, you should allow 3 to 4 hours for digestion of your food prior to lying on your bed.
    • You should always keep in your mind that lying down directly after dinner leads to difficulty with digestion and causes heartburn problems.
  2. Exercise on Right Time

    Individuals should strictly avoid doing physical exercises on their full stomach. Doing this may create pressure on one’s abdomen and thereby, results in heartburn problem.

    Individuals should essentially wait for a minimum of 3 hours after consuming food before they go to start any physical exercise.

    You should intake water in sufficient amount before and at the time of doing exercises, while simultaneously, should avoid high-carbonated types of sports drinks, as it increases the chances of your heartburn problem.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 4, 2018

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