It’s possible to wake up feeling groggy even after a full night’s rest — and pinpointing the cause of your morning fog can be tricky. One culprit worth considering is heartburn. This painful sensation in your chest is often related to acid reflux and can worsen when in supine or prone positions (as in, when you’re lying down in bed). The reason? A loss of gravity while laying down makes it easier for stomach acid to creep into your esophagus compared to sitting or standing. As a result, this position is known to trigger heartburn flare-ups — which hinders your ability to get good-quality sleep at night. Fortunately, you can reduce nighttime heartburn with the help of natural remedies. Here are four study-backed solutions that could put your heartburn flare-ups to bed.
#1: Boost your fiber intake.
Cueing up a rom-com after dinner? Pop some fiber-rich popcorn to go with it. A study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology suggests getting at least 20 grams of fiber every day helps reduce your acid reflux risk. Why? The researchers theorize that the nutrient’s ability to absorb liquid in the digestive tract prevents the displacement of stomach acid. Other foods high in fiber include pears, berries, chickpeas, and almonds.
#2: Elevate your head.
To block reflux, consider switching your normal bed pillow to a wedge pillow as it’s a triangular pillow that lifts your head. A 2022 review of studies suggests that elevating your head using a wedge pillow is one way to keep stomach acid from rising into the throat while lying down. The authors believe head-of-bed elevation is effective because scientific evidence revealed that it reduced acid creeping up into the esophagus and cut reflux symptoms.
#3: Sleep on your left side.
A study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found those who slept on their left significantly reduced their nighttime exposure to stomach acid compared to right-side sleepers. The reason: According to Medical News Today, left-side sleeping allows gravity to move food more efficiently through your colon before it triggers a heartburn flare-up.
#4: Consume citrus extract.
If you’ve tried other remedies and still get flare-ups, take a citrus extract called d-limonene an hour before bed. According to LifeExtension.com, several clinical studies have found that d-limonene halted nighttime reflux for many participants. A 2020 review of studies reveals that as the citrus extract dissolves, it creates a “shield” in the esophagus to block gastric acids. Consider taking 1,000 milligrams of d-limonene every other night for three weeks, which may block p.m. heartburn for up to six months. Speak with your doctor before starting a new supplement.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.