When you set out to outsmart heartburn, it’s not just about the foods you eat -- or when (and how fast) you eat them.
Those things matter. But other, surprising things can make a difference. Try these ideas and see how they work for you.
- Fashion fix. Retire your skinny jeans and tight belt. You’ll be less likely to get heartburn if you wear comfier clothes. So unless your wardrobe has some serious stretch in the fabrics, give yourself plenty of breathing room.
- Give your bed a lift. Raise the head of your bed so that your head and chest are higher than your feet. You can do this by placing 6-inch blocks under the bedposts at the head of the bed. Don't use piles of pillows to achieve the same goal. You will put your body at an angle that can add pressure on your stomach and make your heartburn worse.
- Time your workout. Wait at least 2 hours after a meal before exercising. If you work out any sooner, you may trigger heartburn.
- Unwind before bed. Do something that relaxes you, whether it’s gentle stretching, meditation, prayer, or just taking a few deep breaths. Don’t have a drink -- alcohol can cause nighttime heartburn.
- Don't go to bed with a full stomach. Eat meals at least 2 hours to 3 hours before lying down. This will give food time to digest and empty from your stomach, and acid levels a chance to decrease before you lay down.
- Stop the starters. Stay away from foods and beverages that trigger your heartburn symptoms. (For example, onions, peppermint, chocolate, caffeinated drinks such as coffee, citrus fruits or juices, tomatoes, or high-fat foods bother some people.)
- Shed some pounds. If you are overweight, losing weight will ease heartburn symptoms.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine, one of the main ingredients in cigarettes, can weaken the muscle that controls the opening between the esophagus and stomach. That opens the door to heartburn.
- Keep a diary or heartburn log. Note when heartburn hits and what seems to trigger it.