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28 Tips for Nighttime Heartburn Relief

Stop suffering heartburn symptoms at night. Get relief with these food, drink, and lifestyle tips.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

A bitter taste in the mouth, a chronic cough, sore throat, fatigue ... if you're waking every morning with these symptoms of nighttime heartburn, you want relief.

Millions experience heartburn and the more serious condition gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) daily. And research shows that nighttime heartburn affects nearly four out of five of heartburn sufferers -- disturbing sleep and impairing their ability to function the next day.

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Barrett's esophagus is a serious complication of GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. In Barrett's esophagus, normal tissue lining the esophagus -- the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach -- changes to tissue that resembles the lining of the intestine. About 10% of people with chronic symptoms of GERD develop Barrett's esophagus. Barrett's esophagus does not have any specific symptoms, although patients with Barrett's esophagus may have symptoms related to...

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If you're one of these people, find nighttime heartburn relief with these simple lifestyle, exercise, and food tips.

12 Food and Drink Tips for Nighttime Heartburn Relief

  1. Prevent heartburn by limiting acidic foods, such as grapefruit, oranges, tomatoes, or vinegar.
  2. Spicy foods giving you heartburn? Cut back on pepper or chilies.
  3. Don't lie down for two to three hours after you eat. When you are sitting up, gravity helps drain food and stomach acid into your stomach.
  4. Enjoy lean meats and nonfatty foods. Greasy foods (like French fries and cheeseburgers) can trigger heartburn.
  5. Want to avoid GERD symptom triggers? You may want to cut back on chocolate, mint, citrus, tomatoes, pepper, vinegar, catsup, and mustard.
  6. Avoid drinks that can trigger reflux, such as alcohol, drinks with caffeine, and carbonated drinks.
  7. Size matters: Eat smaller meals and you may avoid triggering GERD symptoms.
  8. Enjoy an after-work drink? You may want to turn to teetotaling: Alcohol can relax the esophageal sphincter, worsening GERD.
  9. Crazy about colas? It may be time to cut back. Colas can be related to reflux and to GERD symptoms.
  10. Keep heartburn at bay: Don't eat too quickly! Try putting your fork down between bites.
  11. Avoid snacking at bedtime. Eating close to bedtime can trigger heartburn symptoms.
  12. Reduce your nighttime heartburn risk: Eat meals two to three hours before sleep.