1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals
A full stomach can put extra pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which will increase the chance that some of this food will reflux into the esophagus.
2. Avoid foods and beverages that can trigger reflux of stomach contents
Some foods and beverages increase the risk of reflux by relaxing the LES. These include alcohol; beverages containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea and cola drinks; carbonated beverages; citrus fruits and juices; tomatoes and tomato sauces; chocolate; spicy and fatty foods.
3. Don’t eat within two to three hours before bedtime
Lying down with a full stomach can cause stomach contents to press harder against the LES, increasing the chances of refluxed food.
4. Elevate your head a few inches while you sleep
Lying down flat presses the stomach’s contents against the LES. With the head higher than the stomach, gravity helps reduce this pressure. You can elevate your head in a couple of ways. You can place bricks, blocks or anything that’s sturdy securely under the legs at the head of your bed. You can also use a wedge-shaped pillow, to elevate your head. Read this article for more tips on easing nighttime heartburn.
5. If you’re overweight, lose the extra pounds
Obesity increases abdominal pressure, which can then push stomach contents up into the esophagus.
6. Don’t wear belts or clothes that are tight fitting around the waist
Clothing that fits tightly around the abdomen will squeeze the stomach, forcing food up against the LES, and cause food to reflux into the esophagus. Clothing that can cause problems include tight-fitting belts and slenderizing undergarments.
7. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. It also increases the production of stomach acid. If you want to consume alcohol, follow these tips: Dilute alcoholic beverages with water or club soda, drink moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages — the suggested amounts are 1-2 mixed drinks, 12-16 ounces of wine, or 2-3 beers, drink white wine instead of red, choose non-alcoholic beer or wine whenever you can.
8. Don’t smoke.
Nicotine relaxes the esophageal sphincter. Smoking also stimulates the production of stomach acid. Read this article to learn other ways smoking can worsen heartburn.
While stress hasn’t been linked directly to heartburn, it is known that it can lead to behaviors that can trigger heartburn. Follow these relaxation tips to alleviate stress, and thus make stress-related heartburn less likely.
10. Take your medication at the same time every day.
It is very important to take your medication every day. If you are prone to forgetting, leave yourself a note to remind you or take your medication when you do another daily activity that you don’t forget doing, such as brushing your teeth or washing your face.