Gastrointestinal reflux is the surfacing of stomach acid back towards the esophagus. The symptoms are often a sore or bitter taste in the mouth, chronic cough and fatigue. These symptoms are usually preceded by hyperacidity at night as well, causing discomfort when you lay down to sleep. The over-the-counter antacid industry thrives on this discomfort. Gastrointestinal reflux is a condition which can best be eliminated by avoiding nighttime binge eating. Here we explore some techniques to avoid reflux.
Develop good sleep habits
Sleeping at roughly the same time each day is a healthy practice for multiple reasons. Firstly, it develops a sleeping habit, which makes it easy to fall asleep each night. Additionally, a timely wind-down means that you will not be making an additional trip to the fridge to load up on snacks (see next point). Finally, a good sleep is a great way to manage stress and rejuvenate the body (see last point).
Don’t eat a heavy meal close to bed time
Eating a heavy meal close to bed time is a recipe for acidity-related symptoms. When you lay down to sleep right after a heavy meal, the food sits in your stomach, stimulating the release of digestive acids inside the stomach. This creates hyperacidity, which is the prelude to gastrointestinal reflux.
Avoid drinking alcohol before sleeping
Alcohol irritates the stomach lining causing acidity. Furthermore, alcohol relaxes the esophageal sphincter (the circular muscle which blocks the entry into the esophagus). Once relaxed, the sphincter allows acid in the stomach to travel back up into the esophagus, the condition known as reflux.
Cut back on late night caffeine
Late night caffeine consumption is a common culprit in bringing on reflux symptoms. Caffeine is a strong stimulant which causes stomach acidity. Additionally, it can often prevent you falling asleep. This is a vicious cycle of acidity and reflux (see second point).
Skip carbonated drinks
Carbonated drinks, like alcohol, can irritate the stomach lining and cause acidity. Additionally, the sugar and oft-added caffeine sabotage healthy sleep habits (see second point).
Steer clear of nicotine
Nicotine, much like caffeine, is a stimulant and causes the stomach lining to produce extra acid. Moreover, nicotine is a highly addictive chemical substance known to cause multiple types of diseases.
Stress, binge-eating, and acid reflux form a vicious cycle that often becomes difficult to break. While small amounts of stress are healthy and even desirable, out-of-control stress is often a key ingredient in the gastrointestinal reflux recipe.
Gastrointestinal reflux is very closely linked to your lifestyle. While the disease can create major discomfort and pain, eventually leading to esophageal ulcers and further complications, many of its causes can be avoided. These simple lifestyle changes can help you avoid reflux and continue leading a healthy, productive life.