However, if you’re unlucky enough to be a regular sufferer, chances are you’ll be looking for ways to alleviate the symptoms. In this article, Rennie looks at how to relieve heartburn and indigestion, morning and night.
What are heartburn and indigestion?
If you’ve ever woken up with heartburn or indigestion, you’ll know it’s a fairly unpleasant way to start the day. Heartburn is the burning sensation you may feel in your throat or chest as a symptom of acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus (food pipe) doesn’t close properly, allowing excess acid to rise up towards the throat and the sensation of heartburn as a result. Lying down can often make it worse as the position can open the valve and escape into the oesophagus. This can lead to sleepless nights and feeling grumpy and tired the next day as a result.
Indigestion refers to a number of symptoms associated with pain or discomfort in the stomach area, particularly after eating. Even though the stomach lining is usually resilient to stomach acid, some people can develop increased sensitivity to it. In some cases, indigestion can also be the result of the stomach stretching, often after eating a meal. Common symptoms of indigestion include:
- Excessive gassiness
- Burning feeling in your belly
- Stomach pains that can move up behind your breastbone
- A knotted stomach or cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- A rumbling or gurgling stomach
- Feeling uncomfortable after eating.
These symptoms can range in severity, from being mildly annoying to very debilitating. Sometimes these symptoms can be a sign of a more serious condition, so if you are concerned about any of your symptoms, you should speak to a pharmacist or book a doctor’s appointment.
How to combat heartburn & indigestion at night
Going to bed or waking up with indigestion or heartburn can be very annoying and uncomfortable, and there can be several reasons why this might happen. So, if you find yourself starting the day with heartburn or you often get indigestion at night, here are some tips and advice for relieving the symptoms, or ways you can try to prevent these conditions from occurring in the first place.
Avoid late night eating
Eating late at night can cause acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion. This is because the body’s digestive system is not designed to cope with large meals just before bed. In order for our digestive system to work at its best, we ideally need to be sitting upright. Lying down can cause acid in the stomach to leak out into the oesophagus, causing heartburn.
To avoid this happening, hold off on eating large meals late at night, or try to avoid lying down until you have digested your food fully, a process that should take around three hours. By keeping your digestive system happy while you sleep, you should find that you wake up feeling fresh and heartburn-free.
Avoid certain foods
As well as leaving plenty of time before bed for your food to digest, the types of food you eat may also have an impact on your digestion.
For example, eating fried, fatty foods, spicy foods, acidic foods or rich dishes may trigger an episode of heartburn and indigestion, especially if this is the last thing you eat before heading to bed. Try to limit your intake of these foods and see whether that makes a difference.
Change your diet and exercise
When someone is overweight, the valve at the bottom of their oesophagus may not function properly, particularly after eating a large meal. If you are overweight and you regularly suffer from heartburn or indigestion, it’s recommended that you make healthy changes to your diet and exercise regime to reduce the strain on your digestive system.
The way you eat your food can also really help improve digestion, especially the last meal you eat at night. Eat slowly, taking time to chew each mouthful properly, and try not to talk with your mouth full, as swallowing air with your food may lead to bloating.
If you’re really struggling, over-the-counter heartburn and indigestion remedies such as Rennie antacid tablets get to work at the source of the problem and can help to quickly alleviate the symptoms of these conditions by neutralising stomach acid and turning into water and other natural substances. Alternatively, Rennie Liquid Heartburn Relief provides fast, soothing, long-lasting relief by creating a gel raft over the top of the stomach contents helping to stop acid reflux. If you’re going to take medication, always read the label first. If your symptoms do not improve, they get worse, or you are worried about them, book an appointment to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Rennie Peppermint & Rennie Liquid Heartburn Relief oral suspension. Always read the label.