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Sleep Solutions for Pregnancy Heartburn Relief

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Heartburn, a common complaint during pregnancy, most often occurs during the third trimester, according the American Pregnancy Association. Pregnancy can make existing gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) worse, or can bring about heartburn if you've never had it.


When it comes to sleep solutions, moms-to-be (and anyone else suffering from GERD) can still get sleep better by following these steps from Dr. Ronnie Fass, the director of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.


Tips to Help Combat Heartburn

  • Avoid large meals at dinner. “When you eat a large amount of food, it predisposes you to reflux," says Fass.


  • Sleep Number research shows around 35% of SleepIQ® sleepers report eating within an hour of going to bed. In comparison, those who rarely eat within an hour of going to bed are the most restful overall and get the highest (best) SleepIQ® scores.*


  • If you take medication for acid reflux, make sure it has time to take effect. “If you take it in the evening, don't take it at bedtime, but at least a half hour before dinner, or as directed by your doctor," says Fass.


  • Elevate the entire head of the bed. A 45-degree angle is optimal, says Fass.

    Tip:  If you have a Sleep Number 360® smart bed with an adjustable base, you can easily raise your head to your desired angle.


  • Avoid sleeping on your right side. “The right side is considered to be more refluxogenic because of the anatomical relationship between the stomach and the esophagus," explains Fass. “Any other sleep position is fine." If you have a tendency to roll onto your right side, placing a body pillow behind your back can keep you turned left.


  • Go to sleep as soon as you get in bed. "The longer you stay awake while in bed, the more likely you are to have problems falling into deep sleep. There is evidence that deep sleep inhibits the mechanism behind reflux, so deep sleep is very important in preventing it," says Fass. So do your bedtime routine to wind down at least 20 minutes before bed, turn off the TV, put away the book, and lights out.


  • Practice good sleep hygiene and create an environment where you aren't bothered by noises, lights or the temptation of electronics.


If you try all these tips and still suffer from sleep issues, GERD may not be the problem. You may need to see a medical expert. But before you get that far, good night's sleep (or two) may help.

Like diet and exercise, quality sleep has a profound impact on our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Because no two people sleep the same, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably and provide proven quality sleep. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep, and if you own a Sleep Number® bed, log in to your InnerCircle℠ Rewards account to see your exclusive offers, refer friends and more.


*Based on SleepIQ® data from 1/2/20 to 1/1/21 and self-reported responses of sleepers using SleepIQ® technology from 5/12/19 – 1/1/21

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