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Diseases & Conditions
What’s the best sleep position to combat heartburn?
- By Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
It’s hard to fall asleep at night when heartburn is your frequent bed partner. How can you give it the boot? In addition to elevating your upper body with a wedge pillow, avoiding meals close to bedtime, and taking heartburn medications, a small study suggests that sleeping on your left side may help. The findings were published in the February 2022 issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology. A total of 57 people with chronic heartburn were monitored during sleep, spending about the same amount of time on their left side, right side, or back. The positions didn’t make a difference in the number of times participants experienced stomach acid backing up into the esophagus (which causes heartburn pain). But the acid cleared much faster when participants were on their left side, as opposed to their back or right side. Less exposure to acid can reduce heartburn pain and also reduce the risk of tissue damage and more serious problems.
Image: © miya227/Getty Images
About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
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No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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Heartburn can be difficult to cope with but many people manage it quite well. However, other people spend countless hours and untold sums of money looking for a way to spell relief. This Harvard Medical School Guide: Cooling Heartburn, explains the causes of heartburn, and what you can do to prevent and treat it.
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