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What Everyday Behaviors May Cause Occasional Heartburn?

From your eating habits to your clothing choices, here are the most common culprits.

Everyone has rituals—from enjoying their morning coffee to snacking during a busy day—and most are harmless. However, you may be participating in a few heartburn-triggering habits without your knowledge. From your eating habits to your clothing choices, learn how some of your choices may occasionally be common heartburn triggers in disguise.

Occasional Heartburn Causes: How You Eat

If you’ve ever had a large meal or eaten too fast, there’s a good chance you experienced heartburn afterwards.1 This occurs because you added too much food, too quickly, so your stomach had to work overtime to process it. By taking your time, you can help your stomach from overproducing the acid that causes heartburn.1

One way to accomplish this is to eat slowly.2 Remember to put your fork and knife down between bites and pick them up again after you’ve chewed and swallowed your food.2

Occasional Heartburn Causes: When You Eat

In addition to what you eat, the timing of your meals can also trigger heartburn. After eating, avoid lying down flat; gravity helps to keep stomach acid down so stay upright as long as you can after a big meal.Avoid eating too close to your bedtime by having your last meal or snack two to three hours before you lie down.1,2

Occasional Heartburn Causes: Working Out After You Eat

It’s also important to avoid working out after a meal, so the contents of your stomach aren’t bouncing around during an exercise routine. After you’ve eaten, wait at least two hours before exercising so that your cardio doesn’t put undue pressure on your esophageal sphincter and cause reflux.1

Occasional Heartburn Causes: How You Sleep

When you’re lying down, there’s less gravity encouraging your stomach acid to flow the right way, which can cause heartburn. If heartburn is keeping you awake at night, experts recommend sleeping on your left side to aid your digestion.2 Due to the way your stomach is shaped and how it’s connected to your esophagus, sleeping on your left side can reduce heartburn symptoms.3 You can also place books or bolsters under the head of your bed to keep your head above your stomach while you sleep.2 ^*

Occasional Heartburn Causes: Clothing Choices

Wearing clothing or belts that are too tight around the abdomen can put constant pressure on your stomach.2,3 When pressure builds, stomach acid has no place to go but up and out. An easy fix, without costing you a dime, is to loosen your belt a notch or two. Taking your clothing choices into consideration can help minimize occasional heartburn.

Apply these tips to your everyday life and transform your triggering habits into heartburn-friendly ones. Help manage occasional heartburn with TUMS Extra Strength 750. If heartburn is causing some sleepless nights, target your occasional nighttime heartburn and fall asleep faster with two-in-one TUMS+ Heartburn + Sleep Support dietary supplements that contain 5mg of melatonin to help you rest.*

For more advice on lifestyle changes to help you beat the burn, visit the TUMS Heartburn 101 hub.

✝ Melatonin provides relief from occasional sleeplessness*
^ Compared to those not taking melatonin*


  1. GERD Triggers: What’s Turning the Heat Up on Your Heartburn? Loyola Medicine. Accessed 8/24/23.
  2. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Diagnosis & Treatment. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 8/24/23.
  3. Heartburn. Cleveland Clinic. Accessed 8/24/23.
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