Insufficient sleep and new onset of nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux among women: a longitudinal cohort study

J Clin Sleep Med. 2022 Jul 1;18(7):1731-1737. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.9928.


Study objectives: Whether short or insufficient sleep are risk factors for new-onset nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux (nGER).

Methods: In this 10-year longitudinal study, adult general-population women in Uppsala, Sweden, answered questionnaires on sleep, nGER, and other conditions on 2 occasions. Participants at baseline totaled 6,790, while participants at follow-up totaled 4,925. "Short sleep" was defined as sleeping < 6 hours/night and "insufficient sleep" was defined as reporting an average actual sleep duration below 80% of the self-estimated need for sleep duration but without "short sleep." nGER was defined as reporting heartburn or acid reflux after going to bed sometimes, often, or very often. The confounding factors-age, body mass index, physical activity, caffeine intake, smoking habits, alcohol dependence, depression, anxiety, and snoring-were defined from the questionnaire.

Results: At baseline, 839 participants reported short sleep and 1,079 participants were defined as having insufficient sleep. Both participants with insufficient sleep and short sleep had nGER more often than those with sufficient sleep (26% vs 17% vs 10%, respectively). At follow-up, a new onset of nGER was twice as common among those with insufficient or short sleep at baseline and follow-up, compared with those with sufficient sleep at baseline and follow-up, even after adjusting for confounding factors (odds ratio 2.0 [1.5-2.8], P < .001).

Conclusions: Insufficient sleep and short sleep are associated with nGER. Persistent insufficient and/or short sleep independently increases the risk of developing nGER over a 10-year follow-up. Women seeking treatment for nGER should be questioned about their sleep habits to identify insufficient sleep as a possible causative factor.

Citation: Emilsson OI, Al Yasiry H, Theorell-Haglöw J, Ljunggren M, Lindberg E. Insufficient sleep and new onset of nocturnal gastroesophageal reflux among women: a longitudinal cohort study. J Clin Sleep Med. 2022;18(7):1731-1737.

Keywords: gastroesophageal reflux; insufficient sleep; sleep duration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux* / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / complications
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Snoring / complications
  • Surveys and Questionnaires