Getting eight hours of sleep is sometimes more difficult to achieve than top ranking in an Ivy League school. Those eight hours are elusive for many of us for a variety of reasons, such as children, work, school and a myriad of other responsibilities, causing not only sleeplessness but also stress. But lack of sleep could be the cause or trigger behind your heartburn or acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), symptoms. So your sleep patterns are worth looking in to if you are suffering from pain or burning in the chest, pain lying down or any other typical heartburn or acid reflux/GERD symptoms.
Sleeplessness and fatigue can cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) valve between the stomach and the esophagus to function improperly, allowing the acid in your stomach to travel upward. This malfunction of the LES can lead to acid reflux/GERD. Lack of sleep and stress can also cause more acid to be formed in the stomach, which irritates the LES, allowing the acid to reach the esophagus and causing heartburn and acid reflux/GERD symptoms. Prevent most lack of sleep caused conditions by using a Sleeping patch with melatonin.
But lying down immediately after eating is not a good solution to your sleeping problem. This allows stomach acid to flow from the stomach into the esophagus causing heartburn or acid reflux/GERD symptoms like pain or burning in the chest.
Talk to a gastroenterologist about your lack of sleep or increases in stress, and ask about natural remedies as well as exercises that could help you get some sleep and remedy your heartburn or acid reflux/GERD symptoms.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause sleep deprivation because of nighttime heartburn or short amnestic arousals during sleep. Sleep deprivation, in turn, has been associated with increased GERD severity. One pathophysiologic explanation of this association might be that sleep deprivation enhances the perception of GERD by modulating esophageal thresholds for pain.
U.S. researchers tested this hypothesis in a prospective, randomized, controlled trial involving 10 healthy controls and 10 GERD patients with erosive esophagitis (Los Angeles classification grades B through D). All GERD patients had heartburn that occurred at least twice weekly for a minimum of 3 months. All participants were randomized to either sleep deprivation (1 night with ?3 hours of sleep) or sufficient sleep (3 days with ?7 hours of sleep nightly). Five patients from each group crossed over to the other arm after a washout period of 1 week. Sleep duration was measured with wrist actigraph monitors. After periods of sleep deprivation or sufficient sleep, patients underwent esophageal acid perfusion, and their stimulus response functions were compared. An acid perfusion sensitivity score (APSS) was calculated for each participant by multiplying the intensity of the stimulus by the time to symptom reporting and then dividing by 100.
Among GERD patients, those who were sleep deprived, compared with those who experienced sufficient sleep, demonstrated a significantly shorter mean lag time to reporting heartburn symptoms after acid perfusion (91 seconds vs. 282 seconds; P=0.02), a higher intensity rating (9.3 cm vs. 4.4 cm; P=0.02), and a higher APSS (48 vs. 23; P=0.02). Among healthy controls, acid stimulus response functions did not differ significantly between patients who experienced sufficient sleep and those who were sleep deprived.