Sleep specialists know that there is a correlation between GERD and sleep apnea (a condition in which breathing stops or becomes very shallow when sleeping)...this has been established in studies. What hasn't been established is which comes first, the apnea or the gerd.
Some people think that gerd wakes up the person up at night...but it's probably be the other way around. When a person stops breathing for periods of time when they sleep, or if their breathing is very shallow, the oxygen level in the blood drops causing the body to wake up and start breathing again (often with rapid heavy breathing). This can go on many, many, many times during the night (I stopped breathing 37 times per hour and woke up 33 of those times but was unaware I was doing this). Some researchers theorize when the body attemps to catch its breath, the heavy breathing results in a damaged upper airway and an impaired swallowing reflux which would prevent holding back the acid. However, at this point it is only a theory which is currently being studied.
What's fact is that treatment of sleep apnea (with a cpap) often results in improving gerd symptoms...theory is that the air pressure used to keep the airway open for breathing, puts pressure on the thorax preventing the acid from coming up from the stomach. My GERD disappeared completely after cpap treatment...I don't get it in the day either (except for that short bout with the bp med,
). Perhaps the pressure on my thorax at night was enough to give my body time to heal. Who knows? All I know is that it is no longer a problem.