Finding Relief from Painful Nighttime Heartburn

The only thing worse than suffering from heartburn during the day is dealing with the painful symptoms of nighttime heartburn. If your heartburn is keeping you up at night, you are not only dealing with the pain of the specific condition, but the resulting sleep deprivation as well. The good news is that there are a number of remedies for heartburn that can be quite effective for treating symptoms of nighttime heartburn so that you don't have to suffer with this condition indefinitely. Most treatment options for nighttime heartburn involve simple steps that you can complete on your own to bring relief from your symptoms and enjoy a good night's sleep once again.

Why does Nighttime Heartburn Occur?

Heartburn occurs because a ring-like muscle at the base of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter, stops closing properly. This allows the food and digestive acids from the stomach to back up into the esophagus, throat and mouth. The result is a painful burning sensation, and a sour taste in the mouth. When these symptoms occur in the event of nighttime heartburn, they can indeed become severe enough to disrupt your rest. Nighttime heartburn is a common complaint, since a reclining position makes it easier for food and acids in the stomach to come back into the esophagus. Gravity is not in your favor, like it is when you are standing upright. This means that even people who have never suffered from these painful symptoms during the day may encounter them at night. Fortunately, there are a number of options in effectively treating nighttime heartburn.


The first treatment for nighttime heartburn is to avoid eating at least two or three hours prior to bedtime. Avoid the foods that you know will cause your symptoms, particularly in your last meals of the day. Do not lie down right after eating, since this action can get those painful heartburn symptoms started. And if you still find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with the painful burning sensation, try raising the head of your bed a few inches to keep that food and acid down in the stomach where it belongs. If these diet and lifestyle modifications are not sufficient in controlling your nighttime heartburn symptoms, there are also some medications that you can try.

Over the counter medications for nighttime heartburn include antacids that will neutralize the stomach acid once the heartburn symptoms have already begun. You can also try taking an H-2-receptor blocker, like Pepcid or Tagamet, which will reduce the amount of acid that is produced. By taking this medication before bed, you may be able to effectively eliminate your nighttime heartburn symptoms. If none of these remedies brings you relief, you can also talk to your doctor about your options in prescription medications. The good news is that there are plenty of treatment choices for you when it comes to your nighttime heartburn.