Nearly 75 percent of patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) experience symptoms at night. Fortunately, there are things you can do to find relief. GERD is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or bile flows back into your esophagus, irritating the lining. The result is acid reflux and heartburn.

Some symptoms of GERD include:
  • A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), occasionally spreading to the throat, along with a sour taste in your mouth
  • Chest pain
  • Dry cough
  • Regurgitation of food or sour liquid (acid reflux)
  • A sensation of a lump in the throat

Finding Nighttime Relief

People with nighttime GERD usually experience severe pain. However, there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make that may help you reduce or even prevent nighttime heartburn.
  • Elevate the head of your bed. Raise the angle of your bed by using 4- to 6-inch blocks at the head of the bed and use a wedge-support to elevate the top half of your body. Sleeping in a tilted position like this can help keep the acid in the stomach at night. You'll find wedges at drugstores and medical supply stores. But don't try elevating your head with extra pillows, which can compress your stomach, making heartburn worse.
  • Sleep on your left side. Try sleeping on your left side instead of your right side. The stomach is higher than the esophagus when a person sleeps on the right side, which can put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), increasing the chance for fluid back up.