Vomiting is involuntary throwing up of gastric content from the mouth and/or nose. Recurrent vomiting can be very frustrating especially if it happens at night time as well. It can also be life-threatening, especially in children. Vomiting can severely dehydrate the body and rid itself of essential nutrients.
The causes of vomiting are varied. A simple virus infection can cause vomiting, food poisoning can cause recurrent vomiting, etc. Vomiting in the night can be very disturbing; it can give rise to a sour and acidy taste in the mouth resulting from the stomach acids coming up into the esophagus or even the throat. This acid reflux is also known as Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) affecting more than 5-7% of the world population that can lead to many complicated illnesses if left untreated.
What causes this?
Many people suffer from this involuntary act of throwing up in their sleep. This not only disturbs the sleep but can also cause choking in children which is life-threatening. Even in adults, this can be a serious cause for concern, some may be able to wake up before they vomit while others wake up only to find themselves in vomit.
Acid reflux is one of the major upper gastrointestinal track problems. The esophagus is a very delicate organ that can easily get damaged if it gets in contact with the acids from the stomach. Constant acid reflux can leave the esophagus inflamed and in some cases even lead to cancer. Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux.
Sometimes the food we eat can react adversely with the digestive juices in our stomach. Foods that are rich in oil and spice are known to cause indigestion or vomiting in some cases. Especially if the dinner is heavy and close to the sleep time, vomiting while sleeping is certain.
Vomiting in infants
Infants have a very small and delicate tummy that can easily get upset due to various reasons. Also, it is just developing and learning to adjust to the new world and new foods therefore an instant reaction to anything that is unpalatable to the infant will be thrown out in the form of vomit. Gas is one of the main reasons why infants vomit.
Drinking excessive alcohol especially before sleep time causes vomiting in sleep. The stomach lining irritates and erodes due to the excessive alcohol, this condition is known as gastritis. Alcohol poisoning is a common cause of throwing up during sleep.
How to tackle this nasty situation?
Now that we know the causes of vomiting during sleep, how to tackle this situation which is a very nasty one? There are some important pointers that will have to be kept in mind and followed for coming out of this vicious cycle of vomiting especially at night.
First of all, the diet has to be managed. Foods such as chocolate, spicy foods, fatty and fried foods, citrus fruits, caffeinated drinks, etc. all have known to aggravate the problem hence those who suffer from acid reflux and vomiting need to steer clear of these food items.
Meals should be planned properly so that all the three major meals are evenly spaced out during the day giving the body enough time to process the food and prepare to receive the next meal. The last meal of the day should always be at least two to three hours before the sleep time. This will give the body enough time to digest the food and the digested juices would be utilized to process the food rather than to burn the esophagus.
If you know you suffer from GERD or acid reflux it’s best if you can avoid spicy, oily and fatty food altogether. These foods are very difficult to digest and most likely lead to vomiting mainly if eaten for dinner.
If you feel your condition is getting worse and unmanageable it is advisable to visit a doctor to understand the exact cause of the situation and treat it before it becomes any worse.