😜🤕😠 This article was co-authored by Alex Dimitriu, MD and by wikiHow staff writer, Janice Tieperman. Alex Dimitriu, MD is the Owner of Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine, a clinic based in the San Francisco Bay Area with expertise in psychiatry, sleep, and transformational therapy. Alex earned his Doctor of Medicine from Stony Brook University in 2005 and graduated from the Stanford University School of Medicine's Sleep Medicine Residency Program in 2010. Professionally, Alex has dual board certification in psychiatry and sleep medicine.
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😜🤕😠 You’ve gotten into your PJs, turned out the lights, and are all ready for bed—but your stomach has different plans. General discomfort, acid reflux, and heartburn can be a frustrating obstacle after you’ve eaten a big dinner or late-night snack. Don’t worry! With a few tips, tricks, and precautions, you can have a better shot at catching some zzzs.
1 1 of 10:Sleep on your left side.
- You’re less likely to have gastroesophageal reflux (GER) if you sleep on your left side. In a study, participants reclined on both their right and left sides. After reclining, individuals noticed that they had fewer GER issues when they were on their left side.XTrustworthy SourcePubMed CentralJournal archive from the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
- Research shows that sleeping on your right side makes heartburn worse.XResearch source
2 2 of 10:Lift up the head of your bed.
- Raising your bed by 6 in (15 cm) can prevent heartburn.XResearch source To do this, place foam blocks securely under your back bedposts to raise the head of your bed, or slip a foam wedge directly under your pillow.XTrustworthy SourceNational Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesHealth information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of HealthGo to source
3 3 of 10:Treat an upset stomach with ginger.
- Ginger helps ease an upset stomach. Chew on some freshly grated ginger, or sip on a cup of ginger tea.XResearch source Studies show that ginger root can help get rid of nausea and vomiting—plus, it has anti-inflammatory and antiulcer benefits.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Ginger chews, ginger candy, or ginger ale are also great options.
4 4 of 10:Go for a walk before bed.
- Light exercise helps you feel a little more comfortable. You don’t have to do a full workout—a short, slow walk around your home might ease some discomfort as your food digests. A light round of stretching might also help you feel better.XResearch source
- Pull your arm across your chest to do a basic shoulder stretch.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Tilt your neck forward and a little to the right. Then, using your right hand, gently guide your head downward. Hold this position for 30 seconds to give yourself a nice neck stretch; then, switch sides.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
5 5 of 10:Slip into loose, comfortable pajamas.
- Don’t wear tight shirts or tops to bed. Tight clothing can put pressure against your stomach, which can lead to heartburn. Instead, pick out a loose pair of nightclothes that won’t constrict you in any way.XResearch source
6 6 of 10:Optimize your sleeping area.
- Make your bedroom as dark and comfortable as possible.XResearch source Close all your curtains or blinds, so no light can peek through the windows.XExpert SourceAlex Dimitriu, MD
Sleep SpecialistExpert Interview. 16 October 2019. Then, adjust the thermostat somewhere between 54 and 74 °F (12 and 23 °C), so you can sleep comfortably.XTrustworthy SourceJohns Hopkins MedicineOfficial resource database of the world-leading Johns Hopkins HospitalGo to source
- According to expert research, making your bed each day can improve your sleep.
7 7 of 10:Take antacids.
- Antacids are a quick solution for heartburn. Take this over-the-counter medication as needed if you’re having a lot of trouble getting to sleep. However, don’t take it every night—too many magnesium-based antacids can lead to diarrhea, while too many aluminum- or calcium-based antacids may leave you constipated.XResearch source
- Double-check the label to see what kind of antacid you have.
8 8 of 10:Don’t drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks close to bedtime.
- Alcohol and caffeine prevent you from falling and staying asleep.XResearch source Caffeine is very stimulating, and can leave you feeling wired and awake. Alcohol might help you feel drowsy, but will prevent you from falling into a deep sleep.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
9 9 of 10:Space out your meals and bedtime by 3 hours.
- Your body needs time to digest after a meal or snack. When you go to sleep, your body automatically slows down digestion, which can lead to some discomfort if you just ate a big meal or snack. Instead, try to wait at least 3 hours before heading to bed—this will make it a lot easier for you to fall asleep.XResearch source
- It can be tempting to take a nap right after enjoying a big meal or snack. Try to resist this urge—your GI tract will thank you for it!XResearch source
10 10 of 10:Quit smoking.
- Nicotine can lead to heartburn. Nicotine, a substantial ingredient in tobacco, causes the valve in between your stomach and esophagus to relax, which can lead to a bad case of heartburn. If you use tobacco products a lot, think about cutting back or quitting altogether.XResearch source
- Support groups and counseling are great resources if you’re trying to quit smoking.
- ↑Alex Dimitriu, MD. Sleep Specialist. Expert Interview. 16 October 2019.