Sleep Apnea & Acid Reflux – Plano, TX

Is Acid Reflux Linked to Your Sleep Disorder?

Millions of Americans have their nightly slumber regularly interrupted by sleep apnea. Interestingly enough, there seems to be a connection between sleep apnea and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), which is more commonly known as acid reflux. Like the age-old conundrum of which came first, the chicken or the egg, the question here is what comes first: sleep apnea or acid reflux. Keep reading or call us to learn more about the relationship between sleep apnea and acid reflux as well as the importance of addressing both health concerns simultaneously.

Why Choose Sleep Rehab for Acid Reflux Treatment?

  • Knowledgeable, Caring Experts
  • Personalized Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea
  • Practice That Accepts Medicare

How are Sleep Apnea and Acid Reflux Connected?

The consensus among researchers is that there may be a relationship between acid reflux and the occurrences during the night that awaken people with obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is the cessation of breathing while you are asleep, and obstructive airway sleep apnea is the most common form of this condition. In this instance, your airway becomes blocked when soft tissue relaxes while you are asleep.

Some 80 percent of people diagnosed with acid reflux report that the heartburn that is closely associated with this condition occurs most often at night. And if you think about it, this makes sense. When you are awake and upright, gravity prevents the acids in your stomach from leaking back into the esophagus, which causes the painful feeling of heartburn. On the other hand, when you lie down to sleep, these acids can more easily seep backward.

There are sleep researchers who think that when soft tissue relaxes and blocks the airway (as happens with obstructive sleep apnea), there is a change in airway pressure that may cause reflux. Other researchers believe that acid backing up into the esophagus causes the vocal cords to spasm, which may lead to sleep apnea.

Treat Acid Reflux with Sleep Apnea Therapy

Regardless of what comes first, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that people with nighttime symptoms of acid reflux be screened for sleep apnea.

Occasionally, treating acid reflux means treating the underlying sleep problem. At Sleep Rehab, we treat sleep apnea with top-of-the-line, FDA-approved oral appliances. We offer more than one type of oral appliance, but each one works by repositioning the jaw to keep the airway clear.

Dr. Keane Fedosky and his staff also offer the following recommendations for patients who have acid reflux:

  • Have your evening meal at least three or four hours before you go to bed, and try to avoid late-night snacks.
  • Instead of an ordinary pillow, use a sleep wedge. A large, wedge-shaped pillow prevents your body from reclining too much at night, which increases pressure on your abdomen and aggravates the symptoms of acid reflux.
  • Tilt the head of your bed up, so your head is elevated above your feet. This will reduce the chance of acid leaking back into your esophagus and toward your vocal cords. A couple of bricks or bed risers will do the trick.