Acid reflux = 1, Me = 0. I had a hard time sleeping the other night, and not because my mind was filled with ideas about the article I am supposed to write the following day. I kept tossing and turning, and even if I was feeling sleepy, something was amiss; something that was making it hard for me to sleep. Then, at around 3 o’clock in the morning, I felt it. There was a burning sensation creeping up from my stomach to my chest and there is that sour taste trying to come up my throat. Oh, no! Not again.
I had to think long and hard, going over my food intake before going to bed. That is when I remembered I ate something with lots of cheese on it a few hours before heading off to sleep. Hence, the acid reflux.
I cannot exactly remember when I started suffering from acid reflux, but I guess it started around the time I became a fastidious coffee drinker.
Many people young and old suffer from acid reflux. Some are just more tolerant of pain than others are, but it is safe to say that the pain from this condition affects our lifestyles. Sometimes, it is sad that no matter the antacids or painkillers, the pain does not go away immediately.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
Most of the time, it is really the lifestyle that we have that causes the excruciating pain in our midsection. If you observe closely, you will really establish the root cause of your suffering and the best treatment is to avoid it. Yes, more than just antacids, the best thing to do is to avoid the triggers.
While cigarettes and alcohol can worsen the condition, it can happen to non-smokers and non-drinkers, too because of the foods that we eat. To lessen the occurrence of pain, you have to determine what foods cause acid reflux, or at least on your part. It could be anything from strong cooking herbs like garlic, onions, or mint as well as fatty foods. You have to observe and lessen your intake of these foods, if not totally avoid them.
How to Manage Acid Reflux
Thankfully, this condition may be easily managed on your part. If you know you already suffer from acid reflux, endeavor to change your eating habits. How? Here are a few tips:
1. Eat in moderation.
Instead of eating three large meals a day, try to practice the art of grazing, that is, eating small portions or small meals frequently. Why is it advisable? When you eat large meals, your digestive system might not have enough time to digest food properly, leaving your stomach full. As a result, most of the acidic contents of your stomach can regurgitate into the esophagus. It would help if you ate slowly, too.
2. Avoid eating certain foods.
Some foods are considered acid reflux triggers. I mentioned a few earlier, but to stress the point, let me re-state them here. Foods most likely to trigger acid reflux include coffee, chocolate, spicy foods, mint, garlic, tea, alcohol, fatty foods, tomatoes, and onions. You could try to eliminate these from your diet to see if your episodes have eased up, then you could add them to your diet little by little. In my case, I cannot remove coffee from my diet lest I want to battle migraines every day for the rest of my life.
3. Avoid carbonated beverages.
Your tendency after drinking carbonated beverages is to burp. Burping, in turn, sends acid into your esophagus.
4. Avoid lying down immediately after eating.
When you are on your feet or sitting down, the gravitational pull helps keep acid in your stomach where it should be. So, make it a habit to avoid lying down immediately after eating, which means naps are a no-no after lunch. Also, avoid eating late suppers or raiding the pantry for midnight snacks. If you want a sound sleep with no acid reflux episodes, ensure you have finished eating three hours before heading to bed.
5. Do not lay flat on your back when sleeping.
If you suffer from acid reflux, the ideal sleeping position is to have your head at least six or eight inches higher than your feet. You can raise the legs of your bed where your head is, or you can use a foam wedge to support the upper part of your body when sleeping. Stacking pillows to form a wedge is not ideal since they cannot provide you the support you need.
6. No strenuous movements after eating.
If it has become your habit to take an after-dinner stroll, that is alright. Nevertheless, a strenuous workout that involves bending over a few hours after eating is a no-no. Arduous or fast movements can cause regurgitation.
These are just a few tips you can follow if you suffer from acid reflux. You have the power in your hands to manage and control acid reflux by observing your body closely and avoiding the things that cause the pain. So do not let the pain rule your life. Avoid the causes of acid reflux and take control of your life. Nevertheless, it is still best to consult with your doctor for severe cases of acid reflux.