You may be able to manage mild heartburn with a few changes to your daily routine. Start by eating smaller meals. Finish dinner at least three to four hours before bedtime and avoid late-night snacks. (Having food in your stomach when you lie down can trigger acid reflux symptoms such as heartburn.)
Watch What You Eat
Some foods are known to contribute to heartburn by bringing additional acid into the stomach or by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. Stay away from food that may give you problems. Your symptoms may improve if you avoid tomatoes, onions, garlic, chocolate, peppermint, fatty foods, and citrus fruits, including oranges and grapefruit. If you find spicy foods are a trigger, try milder versions rather than giving up your favorite foods altogether.
Watch What You Drink
Certain beverages can also bring on heartburn. These include coffee, tea, sodas, alcohol, tomato juice, and orange juice. However, unless these are causing you acid reflux symptoms, you don’t have to avoid them.
Change Your Exercise Routine
Exercise can increase abdominal pressure, increasing the risk of acid reflux. Some types of exercise increase the risk more than others by reversing the natural flow of digestion. Headstands and inverted yoga poses, such as downward dog, are good examples. Abdominal crunches can be a problem, because the motion may thrust stomach acids into the esophagus.
Raise the Head of Your Bed
If you experience nighttime heartburn, try placing blocks under the legs of your bed to raise the head about 6 inches, or sleep with your upper body on a wedge pillow. This strategy uses gravity to keep stomach acids where they belong. (Avoid raising your head with piles of pillows. This bends your body in a way that can aggravate heartburn.) Reflux also occurs less frequently when lying on your left side rather than your right.
Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes
Another way to ease heartburn is to take pressure off the abdomen. Lose excess weight and wear loose-fitting clothes and belts.