Understanding the Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and GERD

Getting a good night’s rest is something that can be challenging for anyone; however, it is especially the case for individuals who are dealing with symptoms of acid reflux, any level of sleep apnea, or both these issues. With health conditions like these, it is no surprise that your sleep cycle may be interrupted – sometimes more than once per night. When this happens, you may notice a downward spiral regarding your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease and sleep apnea may seem like conditions that are totally unrelated; however, they do have one thing in common – they can both disrupt your sleep. You may wonder – do they have anything else in common? Keep reading to learn more.

Sleep Apnea Defined

Sleep apnea is a condition where your breathing will stop and start throughout the night. In some situations, it may disrupt a restful night’s sleep. It may also make several health conditions worse, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Many people who suffer from sleep apnea use a CPAP machine to help with their breathing. However, if sleep apnea is untreated, it may interrupt your sleep. Remember, getting a good night’s rest is how your body restores itself. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, it can cause other issues beyond the ones listed above.

GERD Defined

At the base of your esophagus, where it meets your stomach, a sphincter is present that separates these two muscles. Usually, the sphincter remains closed until you swallow. Then it will open to allow the food to pass, then close again.

If you have GERD, it means the contents of your stomach are repeatedly flowing into the esophagus. When this occurs, digestive juices, food, enzymes, and acid can all move from your stomach and into your esophagus.

The Link Between Sleep Apnea and GERD

If someone has GERD, they can likely confirm it impacts their sleep. Also, many people who deal with GERD also have sleep apnea. It is believed that the biggest connection between the two is seen in individuals who are obese and who smoke. It has also been shown that people who are dealing with GERD and sleep apnea and who use a CPAP machine see improvements for both conditions. As a result, it seems like this treatment may be the connecting link.

While studies are still inconclusive, it is important to note that there may be some connection, which is why it is a good idea to speak with your doctor to know for sure.

Dealing with GERD and Sleep Apnea

When it comes to dealing with these conditions, there is some evidence that a CPAP machine may be a viable way to treat them both. However, this is something that needs further investigation. You can speak with your doctor to learn more about the options that you have. Being informed is the best way to help ensure that you get the relief and treatment that you want and need for the conditions you are dealing with.