Do sleep disorders cause heartburn? Ever tried to going to sleep when you have heartburn? Or visa versa? Sometimes discomfort within the gut is what hurts our ability to get deep, restful sleep. Researchers are also learning that the process can occur in reverse and sleep disorders are believed to trigger the stomach, too. It’s hard to sleep when your heartburn is acting up. But, researchers have discovered that poor sleep quality also heightens the likelihood of gut issues. The discovery’s potential impact is significant. Sleep disorders affect an estimated 50 million to 70 million Americans, according to a 2006 federal report. And gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, impacts about 20 percent of the country’s population. Which is why researchers are studying these impacts. Neither sleep disorders nor GERD should be ignored. GERD, creates chronic acid injury to the esophagus. That may cause a change in the esophageal tissue, a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. A Barrett’s diagnosis means you could have a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. Poor or insufficient sleep can negatively affect a person’s weight, heart health, mood and memory, among other things. For GERD, a combination of diet and lifestyle changes is typically the first order of business, followed by medication. Changing your routine also can help prompt better sleep. By studying this correlation, researchers are hoping to improve the lives of many and improve both their gut health and sleep habits.
Whew. Heartburn. The holiday meal you just ate was so amazing, but why do you feel so bad after eating it. Heartburn is the culprit. Here is a quick tip to help you avoid the holiday heartburn. Holiday Party Help: Rich, fatty foods, creamy dips, cookies, candies, and decadent desserts are often the holiday party heartburn culprits. Avoid peppermint! Peppermint is a holiday favorite but for heartburn sufferers it is anything but soothing for the belly. Peppermint, mint flavorings, and rich meals can relax the sphincter muscle and allow stomach acids to flow into the esophagus. Tip: Eat five or six smaller meals, instead of larger meals. This can minimize heartburn because smaller amounts of food minimize abdominal pressure. Have fun at holiday parties, avoid your personal trigger foods and drinks, and go lightly when filling your plate. New Year’s Tips: Kick up your heals but try to not have too many cocktails. And if you happen to over due it, you may be paying for it during the first few hours of January. Alcohol, particularly red wine, is one of the biggest heartburn offenders. Tip: Alternate alcoholic beverages with “mocktails” (non-alcoholic drinks). Choosing nonalcoholic drinks is the trifecta of good health: stay well hydrated, avoid that dreaded hangover -- and minimize heartburn.