10 Tips For Nighttime Heart Relief
10 Tips For Nighttime Heart Relief
Heartburn is a pain—literally. Millions of people are affected by this condition in which stomach acid travels up into the throat and causes lower chest pain. What’s more, nearly four out of five of people who suffer from this process, known as acid reflux, also experience nighttime heartburn. These people wake up in the morning with that acidic, bitter taste in their mouths. Their throats are sore, they can’t stop coughing and are left feeling just plain exhausted.
Sound familiar? If you frequently suffer from nighttime heartburn, here are 10 simple lifestyle changes you can make to keep the symptoms at bay:
Know Your “Heartburn Foods”
If you’re prone to reflux, here’s a general rule of thumb: it’s best to limit your intake of spicy foods, citrus fruits, garlic, caffeine, chocolate, alcohol and anything carbonated.
However, everyone is different. Certain foods will trigger heartburn in some people and not others. It’s a good idea to keep a food diary of what foods specifically trigger your heartburn symptoms so you know what to avoid.
Eat Smaller Meals
Because heartburn often occurs after large meals, ration your portion size. Instead of eating three large meals a day, aim to for six smaller meals daily. If you do end up having one larger meal, have it for lunch to help prevent those late night-symptoms.
Don’t Inhale Your Food
That eggplant lasagna might be delicious, but scarfing it down may lead to heartburn. To help you slow down, make sure you eat your meals sitting at a table (no hovering over the sink!) and put your fork down in between bites.
Avoid Eating Late
Got midnight munchies? If you’re prone to heartburn, fight the urge to tiptoe downstairs to the kitchen in the middle of the night. Lying down on your bed with a full belly makes it easier for stomach acid to regurgitate into your throat. It’s also a good idea to make your dinner time at least two or three hours before you head to bed.
Nix Fast Food
French fries, hamburgers dripping in grease and other foods that you get from a drive-thru window are likely to trigger heartburn. Opt for a healthier, less fatty meal and cook up a grilled chicken breast with veggies at home.
Believe it or not, a stressful lifestyle could be the cause of those heartburn symptoms. Make sure to schedule in some quiet “you” time daily—read a novel, go for a walk, play the piano or whatever activity it is you find enjoyable and relaxing. And no—work doesn’t count!
If you’re susceptible to nighttime heartburn, try chewing a stick of sugarless gum after dinner. Chewing gum can increase the production of saliva, which helps neutralize stomach acid.
Wear Looser Clothes
Those skintight jeans may look like they hug your curves just right, but if they’re pressing too much on your stomach it could induce heartburn. Same goes for too-tight skirts, pantyhose and belts pulled a notch too tight. During the day, opt for clothing that fits looser around your middle—sundresses and linen are perfect options. And make sure the waistband on your favorite flannel pajama bottoms isn’t too tight.
Pick The Right Time For Your Workout
Exercising too quickly after you eat can cause an onset of heartburn. To help avoid any fiery symptoms, wait at least two hours after a meal before you hit the treadmill.
We all know that smoking cigarettes is a bad habit. But here’s another reason to add to your list of why you should quit: smoking can cause heartburn. The nicotine in cigs helps relax your esophageal sphincter, giving the acid in your stomach free reign to travel up your throat and cause painful reflux symptoms. If you’re a smoker, it’s time to butt out.
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