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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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GERD, Acid Reflux Interfere With Restful Sleep

Long-Term Effects of Acid Reflux Lead to Other Health Problems

WebMD Health News

Oct. 21, 2002 -- Acid reflux during the day may hamper sleep quality at night, causing subsequent daytime sleepiness and insomnia. The long-term effects can also lead to poorer quality of life.

These findings, from two new studies presented at the 67th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology, indicate a connection between acid reflux disease and the ability to get a good nights sleep.

In the first study, from Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, researchers found that of more than 1,500 people who had a hard time sleeping, a significant amount also complained of gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD or acid reflux. They also found that people with insomnia had a high frequency of complaints of peptic ulcer disease or hiatal hernia.

"There is a significant relationship between GERD and excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia," said Geoffrey S. Raymer, MD of the gastroenterology and hepatology department at Penn State, in a news release.

He says that more research is needed to understand the link between specific sleep disorders and specific gastrointestinal disorders.

This study was published in the July 2002 issue of the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

The second study, from the Lynn Health Science Institute in Oklahoma City, compared data from people with GERD to data from healthy adults. Those suffering from GERD complained of heartburn at least four days a week and woke up at least one evening a week with heartburn.

The researchers also compared the sleep patterns of people with GERD and people without GERD. Although patients with GERD complained more of poor sleep quality, the study showed little difference from healthy adults, says study leader William C. Orr, PhD, and colleague in a news release. That those who did complain typically had higher levels of acid reflux during the day. -->

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