For many people, nighttime is a time of rest, regeneration, and dreaming. For others, nighttime brings a host of complications and discomforts, including sleep apnea and acid reflux. By better understanding how these two conditions interact and affect each other, it can be much easier to manage these issues and enjoy a more peaceful night’s sleep.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops and starts as you sleep. There are three primary types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form, occurs when the throat muscles become relaxed during rest, causing the airway to close. Those who experience sleep apnea often find that they feel sleepy or fatigued despite proper rest, and they may snore or feel a choking sensation in their sleep.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is a condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter muscle doesn’t close properly, allowing stomach contents to back up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation. Symptoms of acid reflux can include heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, asthma or anxiety, and hoarseness of the throat.
How Do Sleep Apnea and Acid Reflux Interact?
Sleep apnea and acid reflux often occur simultaneously. Not surprisingly, the two can exacerbate one another, leading to even higher levels of discomfort and sleep disturbances. Some studies have shown that those with untreated acid reflux are more likely to have sleep apnea than those without, and research has also shown that those with sleep apnea are more likely to develop acid reflux.
When an individual has sleep apnea, they may experience an increase in pressure in the chest, causing stomach contents to back up more easily with greater amounts. It is even possible for sleep apnea to lead to the development of acid reflux, as the body experiences more digestive and respiratory issues with increased stress on the chest cavity.
How to Manage Sleep Apnea and Acid Reflux Simultaneously
It can be challenging to manage both sleep apnea and acid reflux, but it is definitely possible. One of the best ways to manage both of these conditions is to get a proper diagnosis from a medical professional. A doctor can help develop an individualized treatment plan that is much more likely to be effective in managing both conditions.
Several lifestyle changes can also help in managing both sleep apnea and acid reflux. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help improve sleep apnea and acid reflux symptoms, as can losing weight. Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and quitting smoking can also be beneficial in managing both conditions.
For some, sleep apnea and acid reflux symptoms may be alleviated by sleeping in a certain position. Raising the head of the bed may help to prevent acid reflux by keeping stomach contents in the stomach, thus preventing their regurgitation into the esophagus. This can also help in the management of sleep apnea, as gravity can help to keep the airways open. It is important to note that a proper diagnosis and advice from a medical professional is crucial before attempting to make any changes to sleeping position or otherwise.
Finding Comprehensive Care Support
Sleep apnea and acid reflux are complex and sometimes difficult to manage, which is why comprehensive care support can help. By working with disease management companies, people can receive the best care with individualized plans that help them manage sleep apnea and acid reflux.
The right combination of sleep apnea and acid reflux management can help individuals get better rest and find relief from symptoms. It is important to work with a medical professional in order to create an individualized treatment plan that can help manage both of these conditions simultaneously. With the proper combination of lifestyle changes, as well as comprehensive care support, individuals can find relief from sleep apnea and acid reflux for a more restful night.