1) Prop Yourself Up for Better Sleep:
Lying down makes it easier for stomach acids to splash up into your esophagus. To keep acid down, use gravity. Place an extra pillow or two under your shoulders or use a wedge-shaped pillow to prop yourself up. Sleeping on your left side can also help digestion.
2) Eat Earlier to Ease Heartburn at Night:
Going to bed on a full stomach increases your risk of nighttime heartburn. A full stomach puts pressure on the valve at the top of the stomach, which is supposed to keep stomach acid from leaking into the esophagus. So eat at least two to three hours before bedtime to give your stomach time to empty. Try early dinners and avoiding snacks at night.
3) Skip Chocolate Dessert and Coffee:
Both of these after-dinner treats can trigger heartburn in some people. Other common offenders to skip at your evening meal include citrus fruits, onions, carbonated drinks, and fatty or spicy foods.
4) Don't Exercise Before Bedtime:
Exercise can cause heartburn. Avoid strenuous physical activity, such as riding an exercise bike or doing sit-ups, right before you go to bed. Taking a leisurely walk after dinner and giving food time to settle, however, may actually help prevent heartburn at night.
5) Don't Overeat at Dinner:
Overeating is a common cause of heartburn. It’s better to eat small, frequent meals instead of feasts. Keep your meals small by limiting your portion sizes. Eat just until your appetite is satisfied but before you feel full. This reduces your risk of nighttime heartburn and can help you maintain a healthy weigh.
6) Watch for Danger Signs:
If you're experiencing heartburn more than twice a week, discuss with your doctor. Frequent nighttime heartburn can signal GERD, which can cause a serious condition of the esophagus lining called Barrett's esophagus. Also beware: Heart attack symptoms can feel similar to heartburn. If you're concerned about sudden pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest, seek medical help immediately.
7) Watch Your Weight:
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heartburn. One reason may be that excess weight adds pressure on the valve at the top of the stomach. Losing weight isn't easy, of course, but trimming down may help with your acid indigestion. And that may mean better sleep at night and less daytime sleepiness. Talk to your dietitian to get guidance about your weight and BMI.
8) Quitting Smoking May Ease Heartburn:
Smoking is one of the leading causes of heartburn. Smoking can weaken the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. If you smoke, try to quit.
9) Avoid the After-Dinner Mints:
A peppermint after dinner may sound soothing. But many people experience heartburn after eating mints. Research suggests that mint may relax the valve at the top of the stomach, making food more likely to flow back into the esophagus. To be safe, pass on the peppermints.
10) Keep a Food Diary:
Not sure which type of food may be triggering your heartburn? Learn to recognize suspect foods by keeping a diary of what you eat for dinner. Then, the next day record if you had nighttime heartburn. Look for patterns linking certain foods to acid indigestion. Try to avoid those foods for a few days. Later, add them back one at a time, testing to see if they cause trouble.
11) Wear Loose PJs:
Tight-fitting pajamas at night can add pressure to your stomach, increasing the risk of heartburn. Avoid snug waistbands and opt for loose sleepwear instead.
12) Chew Gum for Heartburn:
Research shows that, for many people with heartburn, chewing non-mint, sugarless gum for 30 minutes after a meal reduces the risk of heartburn. Chewing gum may increase swallowing, thus helping wash acid out of the esophagus.
13) Bend With Your Knees:
At night, whether you're lifting the kids to put them in bed or picking up laundry, bend with your knees when performing evening chores. Bending forward at the waist causes some people to experience heartburn. It's especially important to avoid it in the evening if you experience heartburn at night.
14) Antacids to Fight Heartburn:
Over-the-counter antacids can provide short-term relief for occasional heartburn. Antacids neutralize stomach acid so it won't cause heartburn. Choose from dissolvable or chewable tablets or liquids. If one or two doses of antacid don’t do the trick, you may need to take an antacid every hour through the night to keep acid neutralized.
15) H2 Blockers & Proton Pump Inhibitors For Heartburn Relief:
Drugs called H2 blockers decrease acid production. They can be taken at bedtime to suppress nighttime production of acid. Available both over-the-counter and as prescriptions, H2 blockers help about half of heartburn sufferers. Similarly, Proton pump inhibitors are available over the counter and by prescription. They decrease stomach acid production, and the prescription versions help heal esophagus damage caused by reflux. To control severe heartburn, doctors may recommend more than one drug.