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Small Lifestyle Changes That Reduce Heartburn

Start by changing your sleeping position.

Although you may not always be able to prevent heartburn from happening, there are things you can do to lower your chances of triggering it. Here are some lifestyle changes that may ease your heartburn symptoms.

Wear looser clothes

Clothes that fit tightly around your waist can put pressure on the stomach, and this pressure can push the stomach contents up into the esophagus. So take it down a notch by loosening your belt and avoiding tight-fitting clothing whenever possible.1

Change sleep position

If you suffer heartburn symptoms at night, sleeping with your head slightly raised may help. When your head and chest are elevated higher than your stomach, it can reduce the risk of stomach acid flowing into your esophagus.1 Try elevating the head of your bed or mattress about six to nine inches. Also, try sleeping on your left side. Because the way our bodies are built, sleeping on the left side aids in digestion and may relieve some nighttime heartburn symptoms.

Quit smoking

Smoking is a well-known trigger for heartburn because nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) as they enter the body.2

Maintain a healthy weight

The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to suffer from heartburn. Those extra pounds can put pressure on your stomach, causing acid to back into your esophagus.3

Exercise properly

Exercises like sit-ups and crunches can increase pressure on your stomach, too, pushing the acid in your stomach up into the esophagus to trigger heartburn pain. Activities that cause you to bounce or jiggle (like running) might also increase your risk.4 Instead, try calmer activities like walking or planks.5 Also, it is important that you don't exercise right after a meal, as this is a common trigger for heartburn.4


More than 50 percent of people suffering from frequent heartburn believe that work-related stress or a hectic lifestyle contributes to their symptoms.6 While stress isn't a proven cause of heartburn, it can lead to behaviors that trigger it.

When it comes to eating, exercise and medications, if you're under stress, following your normal routines may become difficult. When your routines are out of whack, you can pick up some habits that could trigger heartburn. That's why it's important to find ways to alleviate the stress, so you can decrease the chances of getting stress-related heartburn.

Show References

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  1. Gillson, Sharon. “The Top 10 Heartburn Prevention Tips.” Verywell, www.verywell.com/how-to-prevent-heartburn-1742859.
  2. “Why Tobacco Use May Make Heartburn Worse.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/features/heartburn-tobacco-connection#1.
  3. Doheny, Kathleen. “Even a Little Weight Gain – or Loss – Can Affect Your Heartburn.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/features/weight-gain-loss-heartburn#1.
  4. “Common Heartburn Triggers.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/triggers#1.
  5. Griffin, R. Morgan. “Workouts Without Heartburn.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/features/workouts-without-heartburn.
  6. Gillson, Sharon. “Can Your Stress Levels Result in Heartburn?”Verywell, www.verywell.com/heartburn-and-stress-1741970.

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