Indigestion and Nausea at Night – How To Stop It?

Indigestion and Nausea

For most people, indigestion and nausea occur infrequently. Often, this is a result of simply over indulging, eating disagreeable foods and beverages, over consumption of alcohol or eating food too fast. In this instance, the condition is known as acute indigestion or acute dyspepsia. Almost everyone will encounter a case of indigestion here or there. It could be caused from nothing more than a sickeningly sweet piece of chocolate cake that followed half a dozen hot sauce laden hot wings which created a disagreeable sensation in the tummy. Or, it could be a result of one too many trips to the buffet line, where feelings of fullness and stomach bloating inevitably resulted. Regardless, acute indigestion is typically not serious and often resolves itself soon after the offending cause has been remedied.

For others however, chronic indigestion can occur. Many times, this can be a result of an underlying health condition such as GERD or peptic ulcers (typically a result of an H. Pylori infection), according to WebMD. Indigestion during pregnancy can also bring a temporary form of chronic indigestion along with it. Some people encounter these ongoing symptoms only at certain times of the day, such as at night, right before bed.

There are many symptoms associated with dyspepsia, and not everyone will encounter all of them. Indigestion and nausea go hand in hand, and it is not uncommon for nausea to be one of the first symptoms experienced. A burning sensation felt between the breast bone and the belly button is also not uncommon. And, constipation or diarrhea may also result. Of course, bloating causes such as eating gassy foods and excessive air swallowing as related to smoking and using straws, can also create discomfort from gas build up which can lead to abdominal pain. And this pain can be intense and is often attributed to severe indigestion, along with excessive heartburn.

There are many reasons why indigestion and nausea may make themselves more apparent at nighttime. UK National Health Services explains some of them on its Government website. They explain that going to bed with a full stomach may contribute to indigestion symptoms. And, this can be averted by not eating for a few hours before bed. Lying down post meal can mean that the acid that is in the stomach may force itself into the esophagus during the digestive process. This can lead to pain, burning and discomfort at bedtime. Sleeping in a more upright position can help counteract the symptoms of indigestion and nausea at bedtime if abstaining from meals for a few hours prior is impractical. To properly situate for comfortable and dyspepsia free sleep, use pillows propped up at a suitable and upward angle that will keep the upper torso elevated. This will in turn help keep stomach acid where it belongs and prevent it from creeping up into the esophagus.

Smoking is also a big contributor to the symptoms of indigestion and nausea. The chemicals in cigarette smoke are what are thought to play a role in symptom onset. The muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus can relax upon presentation of cigarette smoke. The relaxing of this muscle can allow stomach acids to migrate upward similarly the way they do while lying down. This can lead to acid reflux, and certainly symptoms of indigestion. Quitting smoking is the best way to reduce the risk of symptoms from this cause. And, it is an incredibly healthful decision with benefits far outweighing those associated with dyspepsia. But, if quitting is not on the agenda, refraining from smoking prior to bedtime can reduce the risk of this muscle relaxing occurring, therefore contributing to a potential reduction in recurrences of indigestion.

There are of course some causes of indigestion and nausea that simply cannot be prevented, whether it occurs at bedtime or otherwise. Pregnancy is pregnancy for instance, and there is often little that can be done to reduce symptoms in this case as the uterus pressing on the stomach is often one of the chief causes of symptoms. However, even when the cause behind symptoms is gestation, using pillows or other means to provide elevation at bedtime can help with symptom management.

Indigestion and nausea are very commonplace. Most often they are a result of simple meal choices and food intake. And, lifestyle changes can greatly reduce their frequency. But, when they interfere with getting a restful night’s sleep, they can be much more bothersome. Reducing causes like midnight snacks, large meals before bedtime and cigarette smoke can eliminate nighttime nausea and dyspepsia so that less sleep is lost from these tummy troubles.

References:
http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/indigestion
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Indigestion/Pages/Treatment.aspx

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