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Is Heartburn Ruining Your Sleep? 9 Tips For Night-Time Heartburn Relief

Do you suffer from heartburn? Check out these simple dietary tweaks that may help minimise symptoms…

Is Heartburn Ruining Your Sleep? 9 Tips For Night-Time Heartburn Relief

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and is one of the frustrating manifestations that can contribute to sleepless nights. As much as 4 out of 5 people who suffer from regular heartburn report disrupted sleep.

What does heartburn feel like?

Symptoms include a burning or hot sensation within the chest, nausea, difficulty swallowing and even regurgitation, all of which can worsen at night due to lying down.

Fortunately, some simple dietary tweaks may minimise symptoms allowing for a more restful nights sleep…

Our top tips on how to avoid heart burn at night time:


Eating until you're about to burst isn’t healthy for anyone, especially if you suffer from heartburn. When there is too much pressure within the stomach, it can promote acid reflux in those with a weak lower oesophageal sphincter.

Top tips to reduce portion sizes:

    • Try eating off a smaller plate
    • Have smaller meals (5-6) throughout the day
    • Eat slowly, it takes our brain at least 20 minutes to register that we are full
    • Eat mindfully without distractions such as the TV - mindful eating can help you feel more satisfied after meals


Whilst it’s absolutely fine to enjoy the odd glass of wine, if you’re serious about relieving your heartburn symptoms, alcohol really should be limited before bed.

Alcohol can increase stomach acid and relax the lower oesophageal sphincter, both of which are triggers for nighttime heartburn.

What’s more, studies have repeatedly shown that even moderate alcohol intake may cause reflux symptoms in healthy individuals. 

Top tips to reduce alcohol intake:

    • Challenge yourself to have just 1 drink per day 
    • Infuse water overnight with berries, mint, watermelon, cucumber or lemon for a tastier non-alcoholic beverage


Caffeine is not only detrimental when it comes to a restful nights sleep, but may also be the culprit for night-time heartburn. Some research has shown that caffeine may weaken the lower oesophageal sphincter, which can ultimately increase the risk of symptoms.   

Fortunately, for the coffee addicts out there, the evidence is mixed, and associated symptoms may very much depend on the individual.

Top tips to cut back on caffeine:

    • Reduce caffeine intake slowly to minimise withdrawal symptoms


As much as 72% of sufferers with heartburn find that citrus juice aggravates their symptoms. Whilst citrus juice isn’t necessarily the cause of heartburn, it can irritate the lining of the oesophagus, which may worsen symptoms.

Top tips to minimise citrus juice intake:

    • Choose healthy vegetable juice such as beetroot, carrot, green vegetable juices, or strawberry, pear and apple


There is some evidence to show that acid reflux may worsen after consuming a meal containing raw onion or garlic. It has been suggested that they irritate the lining of the oesophagus, however, it is still very dependent on the individual.  

Top tips to minimise raw onion and garlic:

    • Try infusing onion and garlic into drizzling oils
    • Ensure your onion and garlic is cooked well


Soft drinks are highly acidic and are strongly associated with night-time heartburn. And it’s not just the sugary drinks that you need to watch out for; carbonated water has also been shown to weaken the lower oesophageal sphincter, which can trigger symptoms.

Top tips for limiting carbonated beverages:

    • Infuse water overnight with berries, mint, watermelon, cucumber, lemon for a tastier beverage


Whilst many can find it hard to digest fatty or fried food before bed, those suffering night-time heartburn really do struggle. High-fat foods can delay gastric emptying, which increases stomach pressure and in turn promotes heartburn.

Top tips to limit fatty meals:

    • Cooking from scratch will give you full control over fat content
    • A good portion size of fat per meal is 1 thumb for women and 2 thumbs for men
    • Avoid deep-fried foods


Spicy foods are a well-known trigger of heartburn and can irritate the oesophagus.

Top tips for producing tasty meals without spice:

    • Switch to herbs such as oregano, thyme, chives, parsley, tarragon, parsley


Reaching our daily fibre intake may help to alleviate or prevent symptoms associated with heartburn. A study involving 65,363 people showed that an increased fibre intake was significantly associated with improved reflux symptoms.

Fibre is an essential component of a healthy diet, however, there is also evidence to suggest that too much fermentable fibre may induce heartburn.   

Despite this, we should all be consuming 30g of fibre per day for optimal health.

Top tips for fibre intake:

    • Choose whole grains, beans, lentils, chickpeas, fruit and vegetables
    • Keep a food diary and note any sources of fibre which trigger symptoms

 

Photo Credit: Mitchell Holland
DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@press-london.com

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