Does your heartburn keep you up at night? A wedge pillow might be just what you need, according to a sleep expert.
Some 15 million Americans deal with heartburn every day–and the uncomfortable, burning sensation doesn't just go away when it's time to go to bed. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people with nighttime heartburn are more likely than their heartburn-free peers to report sleep issues like insomnia, apnea, and tiredness during the day.
Quick refresher: The uncomfortable feeling known as heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, when stomach juices erroneously flow backwards out of your gut and into your esophagus. When that reflux is a chronic, long-term condition, doctors call it GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
If you have heartburn regularly, say, two to three times a week, it's possible you might have GERD, says Rajkumar Dasgupta, MD, a sleep and pulmonary physician at the University of Southern California.
Because stomach acid really doesn't belong in your esophagus, it can damage the tissue there, making it important to examine the potential underlying causes of your reflux and talk to a doctor about what you can do about it. (You definitely need to make a trip to a doc if your reflux is accompanied by so-called "alarm symptoms" like anemia, weight loss, vomiting, or difficulty or pain while swallowing, Dr. Dasgupta adds.)