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Sleep Deprived Suffer More Severe GERD Symptoms

Lack of sleep enhances perception of intraesophageal acids

TUESDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is known to cause sleep deprivation related to nighttime heartburn or amnestic arousals during sleep. Recent findings suggest an inverse relationship of GERD symptoms and lack of sleep, with sleep deprivation resulting in heightened perception of GERD symptom severity, according to a report published in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

Ron Schey, M.D., of Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System, and colleagues randomized 10 subjects with GERD and 10 healthy patients to either sleep deprivation (one night with three or fewer hours of sleep), or sufficient sleep (three nights of seven or more hours of sleep). Subjects then underwent stimulus response functions to esophageal acid perfusion.

Sleep-deprived GERD patients demonstrated decreased lag time to symptoms (91 seconds versus 282.7 seconds), increased intensity ratings and increased acid perfusion sensitivity when compared to GERD patients getting sufficient sleep. Normal subjects in both sleep groups did not demonstrate significant differences in stimulus response functions to acid.

"This is the first study to demonstrate that sleep deprivation by itself can modulate esophageal perception thresholds for pain in patients with gastroesophageal reflux diseases and not in healthy controls," the authors write.

The study was supported in part by a grant from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

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