Chronic Pain & Fatigue

GERD and Sleep Disturbances: Breaking the Vicious Cycle

For many individuals living with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), or hyperacidity, the discomfort doesn’t end when the sun goes down. In fact, nighttime can be one of the most challenging periods, as the symptoms of acid reflux can significantly disrupt sleep, leading to a vicious cycle of poor rest and exacerbated GERD.

The Bidirectional Relationship Between GERD and Sleep Disturbances

GERD and sleep disturbances share a complex, bidirectional relationship. On one hand, the act of lying down for sleep can increase the likelihood of hyperacidity episodes, as gravity no longer aids in keeping stomach contents down. This can lead to frequent awakenings due to heartburn, regurgitation, and discomfort, resulting in poor sleep quality and quantity.

On the other hand, lack of quality sleep can also exacerbate GERD symptoms. Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased inflammation, impaired digestive function, and altered hormone levels – all of which can contribute to the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing more frequent acid reflux.

Strategies for Improving Sleep and Managing Nighttime GERD

To break this vicious cycle of hyperacidity and find relief, a multifaceted approach is often necessary. Here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Adjust Your Sleep Position: Elevating the head of your bed by 6-8 inches can help prevent acid reflux at night by using gravity to keep stomach contents down. Alternatively, sleeping on your left side can also be beneficial.
  2. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene: Establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and optimizing your sleep environment can improve the quality and duration of sleep, reducing the impact of GERD.
  3. Avoid Triggers Before Bedtime: Steer clear of heavy, spicy, or fatty meals close to bedtime, as these can increase the risk of nighttime reflux episodes. Similarly, limit caffeine, alcohol, and smoking, which can weaken the LES.
  4. Incorporate Stress Management Techniques: Stress can exacerbate both GERD and sleep disturbances. Practicing relaxation techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, or yoga can help manage stress and promote better sleep.
  5. Explore Complementary Therapies: Certain complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, or herbal remedies, may provide additional support in managing GERD symptoms and improving sleep quality. Always consult with a professional before trying new therapies.

How we can help

At Recoup Health, our integrative approach to GERD combines conventional medicine with evidence-based complementary therapies to address the root causes of your condition, including sleep disturbances. By breaking the vicious cycle of poor sleep and acid reflux, we aim to help you achieve lasting relief and restore your overall well-being. Together, we’ll develop a personalized plan to improve your sleep quality, manage your GERD symptoms, and reclaim your restful nights.

Unsure whether booking an appointment is the right step for you? We encourage you to drop us a note at We’re here to answer any questions and provide the information you need to make an informed decision about your healthcare journey.