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Why You Should Sleep On Your Left Side If You Have Stomach Problems

Why You Should Sleep On Your Left Side If You Have Stomach Problems

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be difficult and painful to live with — and not just during the day or after meals. One study showed that 1 in 4 adults with GERD suffer from this at night. The pain and discomfort this condition causes can interrupt sleep — and up to 55% of GERD patients suffer from sleep disturbances related to GERD or heartburn pain. This can have a serious and negative impact on quality of life.

The good news is that, apart from medications, there are simple lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on this condition.

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Sleeping On The Left Side

It might come as a surprise, but sleeping on the left side is one simple way to cut down on the problem of nighttime GERD pain. No one is exactly sure why, but there are many theories:

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  • One theory is because the stomach is situated on the left side of the body and when you sleep at this time, gravity itself makes it less likely that the contents of the stomach will back up into the esophagus, causing painful reflux.
  • Other studies have shown that sleeping on the left side can increase the pressure on the sphincter (opening) between the stomach and esophagus and make reflux less likely.
  • Another clinical review of natural remedies for GERD found that many studies have shown that lying on the right side can increase the length of the GERD attack as well as the amount of acid that refluxes into the esophagus, whereas lying on the left side can reduce these problems. Left-lying positions are thought to prevent relaxation of the sphincter and keep the sphincter above the level of gastric acid.

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    Other Tips For Natural GERD Control

    It is important to remember, however, that just sleeping on the left side is not enough to help manage this disease — there are other ways to control it naturally, including:

    • Eating healthy and avoiding junk foods.
    • Elevating the head of the bed at least 30 degrees to reduce the chance of reflux.
    • Waiting at least an hour between finishing a meal and going to bed.
    • Avoiding foods and beverages that can irritate the stomach, such as chocolate, alcohol, and spicy or fatty foods.

    If GERD or reflux is a problem, it is important to talk to your doctor about this, as ongoing issues with it can permanently damage the esophagus. Sometimes, even with natural control tips like the ones mentioned above, prescription or over-the-counter medications are needed as well.

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    Brian Wu

    Health Writer, Author

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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