What is Acid Reflux? | Acid Reflux and Sleep Disorders

acid reflux
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Though they may not know it, a wide variety of people of all ages suffer from acid reflux. The common symptoms associated with acid reflux are burning sensations in the stomach, chest, and/or throat. These conditions are not the only way people are affected, however. Asthma, problems with swallowing, repeatedly losing your voice, and a rough, dry cough are among other ways people are affected. Commonly, when someone has one or more of the above conditions at a chronic pace, it is called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

Acid Reflux and Sleep Disorders

GERD can lead to one or many symptoms affecting the quality of sleep. These include:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  2. The breathing In of stomach acid while asleep
  3. Disrupted sleep due to irritation caused by the acid reflux symptoms. 

Sleeping puts you in a vulnerable position as it increases the chance of stomach acid moving up further in the body. It can even reach up the back of one’s mouth. Sleep apnea is a major culprit that worsens acid reflux and increases the chance of GED. During the day the gravity of your body helps limit the effects from occurring due to people usually being in an upright position for the majority of the time. 

How To Limit The Effects of Acid Reflux and Have A Good Night’s Sleep

Helping Yourself Sleep Better With Sleep Apnea and Acid Reflux:

The best way to assist yourself in a more comfortable and less disturbed sleep naturally is through gravity. Positioning your body in a slightly elevated position while sleeping can help. 

Here are some tips on what you can do:

  • Placing a pillow or two under your back to elevate your upper body
  • Raising the head of your bed by a few inches 
  • Sleeping in a reclining chair which is positioned slightly upright
  • Not sleeping or laying down right after eating.

Lifestyle changes can also help reduce or terminate the effects of acid reflux. These include:

  • Sustain a healthy weight (being overweight increases the chance for stomach acid)
  • Wearing loose clothing (tight clothing put pressure on your stomach)
  • Stop Smoking (Decreases functionality of the stomach)

Using Medication

If the self-help sleeping methods fail, there are both over-the-counter and prescribed medicines that can be taken to help relieve stomach acid. While these work, most come with potential side effects and have to be taken on a regular basis. Not everyone wants to constantly take medicine. If you feel this way, there are other methods of relief and neutralization. 

How Dental Sleep Medicine Can Help

Acid reflux issues can be greatly reduced or even terminated once an underlying sleep apnea issue is addressed. To treat this, specialty dentists such as Dr. Fox can create oral appliances molded to fit your mouth. These can be used to keep your throat open when sleeping and assist in the comfortability & effectiveness of sleep.