Winding Down: The importance of a night-time routine to help avoid heartburn and indigestion
Improving your night-time habits
Heartburn and indigestion are caused by the effect of stomach acid. If it passes up into the oesophagus (food pipe or gullet) irritating the sensitive lining, heartburn can result. Or there may be excess stomach acid - which can be a cause of indigestion. So, keeping stomach acid levels down at night can really help you.
Why not consider these six potential aspects of your current late evening or night-time lifestyle and ask yourself - would it be wise to make a few small changes?
Are you eating meals late at night?
- If so, stomach acid is probably being produced while you're in bed so that you can digest the late meal you've eaten
Are you eating fatty foods or big meals late at night?
- Fat takes time to break down, which tends to lengthen the digestive process. And so does a big, heavy meal.
Are you eating spicy foods late at night?
- Spicy food is a well- known trigger for heartburn
Do you smoke at night?
- The nicotine in cigarettes can weaken the sphincter (ring of muscle) around the top of your stomach and acid can pass up and out of the stomach more easily. This is called reflux
What do you drink later at night?
- Alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks are all associated with heartburn and indigestion
Consider a new night-time routine
It's understandable that those with a busy family or social life, or who work late, don't always find it easy to establish a routine or early evening eating habits. So, consider these helpful suggestions:
Meals: To give your digestive system time to breakdown the food you have eaten, aim to eat your last meal of the day at least three hours before going to bed. If this is not possible, then try to eat smaller meals or the type of food that gets digested easily, such as fish, rice, eggs and pasta. Aim to eliminate, or cut down on, fatty foods, spicy food, pastry and chocolate.
Drinks: Aim to drink as little caffeine and alcohol as possible and cut down on carbonated drinks late in the evening. Herbal teas and hot milky drinks could help you to relax and can be a more sleep-friendly option.
Unwind: After a busy, active day, try to de-stress. A hot bath, reading a book or listening to relaxing music can get you into a peaceful mood ready for a good night's sleep.
Be prepared: If heartburn or indigestion does occur, do you have any medication to help you?
How Gaviscon Double Action might help
Gaviscon Double Action gets to work instantly whenever you need heartburn or indigestion relief. It forms a physical barrier to acid - a raft (or layer) on top of the stomach contents. This helps to stop acid refluxing into the food pipe. Gaviscon can also neutralise acid and offers long-lasting relief - up to two times longer than antacids.
If you can get yourself into a routine as suggested, it could really help reduce heartburn or indigestion. But while you're trying to implement some of the measures above, or on occasions when you really need to eat, drink and be merry a little later at night, remember to have Gaviscon Double Action by your side.
All information presented is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. Gaviscon for Heartburn & Indigestion. Always read the label. If symptoms are severe or prolonged you should consult a doctor or pharmacist. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine.
Article published January 1, 2021