Food and Sleep - Related Problems

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Gastrointestinal reflux (GERD) is a common ailment that can cause sleep disruptions. According to NSF’s 2001 Sleep in America poll, people who experience nighttime GERD are more likely to have sleep problems such as insomnia, sleep apnea, daytime sleepiness, and restless legs syndrome than those who do not have nighttime GERD. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to minimize GERD and the sleep problems associated with it:

  • Avoid fats, onions, chocolate and spicy foods
  • Eat your largest meal at lunch instead of dinner
  • Finish eating 2-3 hours before lying down
  • Sleep with your head and shoulders elevated
  • Sleep on your left side
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Don’t smoke

Reviewed by David G. Davila, MD (December 2009).

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