Gastroesophageal reflux disease is one of the most common conditions encountered by primary care physicians, gastroenterologists, foregut surgeons and otolaryngologists. While approximately 50% of patients experience nocturnal reflux symptoms, the relationship between gastroesophageal reflux disease and sleep is often overlooked. The aim of this review is to provide an update on the current understanding of this relationship and its clinical implications. Recent studies pertaining to the association between GERD and sleep with focus on sleep disturbances, obstructive sleep apnea, extraesophageal manifestations of GERD and treatment are discussed.
There is a close relationship between GERD and sleep disturbances, but the nature of this relationship remains to be elucidated. Similarly, new data supports the association between GERD and obstructive sleep apnea, but whether this association is independent of confounding risk factors remains unresolved. Extraesophageal manifestations due to nocturnal GERD are primarily respiratory and can be explained by microaspiration and vagally-induced bronchospasm. Treatment of nocturnal GERD, both pharmacologically and surgically, improves sleep quality. Conversely, pharmacologic treatment of sleep disorders can improve nocturnal GERD symptoms. There is a bi-directional relationship between GERD and sleep. GERD is associated with various sleep disturbances. Sleep deficiency can exacerbate GERD. There is an association between extraesophageal manifestations and nocturnal GERD. Treatment directed towards GERD can improve sleep experience, and treatment directed to improve sleep can improve GERD symptoms.

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