If you often wake up feeling bloated and gassy first thing in the morning, you're not alone. While there are many simple reasons for excess morning gas, it can be caused by digestive issues that should be addressed or managed properly.
Gas pain is something that everybody experiences (even if they might not want to admit it). Our natural digestive processes cause the production of gases, and these gases need to be released somehow! There are also a number of other reasons why we can find ourselves feeling gassy and bloated, especially in the mornings.
In this article, we're going to cover some of the main reasons why you can feel gassy in the morning, as well as some of the best ways to reduce bloating.
What Causes Morning Gassiness?
Excess morning gas isn't always something to be concerned about, but it's still important to identify the root cause of your bloating. This way, you can take the right steps to relieve yourself of gassiness and feel great each morning when you wake up and get out of bed.
Here are some of the most common reasons for excess gas in the mornings.
You ate gas-producing foods the night before
By far, the most common cause of morning gas is the consumption of gassy foods before going to bed the night before
Foods like high-sugar fruits, certain vegetables (such as cruciferous vegetables), beans, and legumes can also cause a lot of gas (carbon dioxide and methane, to be specific) to be produced during their digestion. A very common culprit is low-sugar "health" snacks that use sugar substitutes instead of actual sugar. These are much more difficult to break down before they reach the gut, which causes gas production. Think low-calorie ice cream, as an example - which may contain sugars like Erythritol, known to cause bloating!
These foods are digested through a process called fermentation, which your gut microbes are responsible for doing. Carbonated and sugary drinks can also cause excess gas production, such as fruit juice, soda, and energy drinks.
The obvious fix for this issue is to avoid gassy foods and drinks or reduce your consumption of them before bedtime. Ideally, you should leave at least 3-4 hours between consuming the above foods and drinks and going to sleep so that most of the digestion process has been completed by the time your head hits the pillow.
You're not drinking enough water
Water is necessary for efficient digestion and your gut microbes need water to fully break down the food that you're eating. Therefore, if you're not drinking enough water throughout the day, you're much more likely to become dehydrated and wake up feeling bloated and gassy.
Without sufficient amounts of water, you can easily become constipated and bloated, which can be uncomfortable and even painful at times.
Luckily, if this is the cause of your morning gassiness, the resolution is pretty easy! All you need to do is drink more water throughout the day and you can say goodbye to your bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Aim for around eight glasses of water a day. However, you might need to drink more if you work out or move around a lot during the day or if it's a particularly hot day and you're sweating more than usual.
Your Sleeping Position
It might sound silly but the WAY you sleep has a huge impact on if you bloat. If you lie on your front or your side, with pressure on your front, you might be blocking your our gut from passing wind during the night.
By doing this, you are essentially having gas build up over the night and making it difficult to escape - which will cause you to feel bloated when you wake up.
The best thing to do in this case is to switch up the way you sleep, reduce your intake of gas producing foods before bed and if you're still waking up bloated then drink a lot of water when you wake up and move your body with some yoga!
You're due on (or already on) your period
Those of you with a regular menstrual cycle will know all too well how much your period can impact every part of your body. It's not uncommon for menstruating women to experience excess gas and abdominal discomfort around the time of their period.
In particular, high levels of oestrogen and progesterone are responsible for period bloating and excess gas. They cause the body to retain more water and salt. These hormones asp impact your gut motility, which slows down the digestion of food, and increases fermentation and gas production.
Although period bloating isn’t enjoyable, having a natural, regular menstrual cycle is a sign of good health! Embrace your body and all its intricacies, and wait for the bloating to pass after your period!
Placing a heat pack on your lower abdomen can alleviate some of the aches and cramping pains that come along with being on your period. You might also find it helpful to avoid gas-producing foods leading up to and during your period to minimize bloating. Taking Magnesium has also been shown to help!
You’re swallowing too much air
Aerophagia is a condition where you subconsciously swallow too much air. When this air enters your mouth, it follows down your digestive tract and ends up in your intestines. This causes you to feel bloated, and leads to excessive burping and farting.
You can reduce or even avoid aerophagia by not talking when you’re eating and drinking. Regular exercise can also help, particularly low-intensity forms of exercise like yoga. Low-intensity movement and deep breathing encourage relaxation of the gastrointestinal tract, which can improve airflow to stop bloating.
You have an underlying health condition
Although the odd spell of bloating isn’t anything to be too concerned about, daily and consistent bloating could be a sign of a deeper issue. There are lots of different health conditions that can increase gas production in your gastrointestinal tract or slow down your digestion, leading to bloating.
Lots of stomach issues and digestive disorders are known to increase the risk and severity of bloating in the morning, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Other medical conditions like giardiasis, metabolic syndrome, thyroid conditions, and eating disorders can also increase morning bloating.
You take certain medications
There are several medications that can increase bloating throughout the day, particularly in the morning. Common examples of such medications include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and opioids.
If you’re experiencing bloating and you think it’s a side effect of one of your regular medications, speak to your doctor. Don’t change your medication routine or stop taking them before consulting your doctor.
You have an infection in your digestive tract
Gut infections are a huge cause of bloating and excess gas. Parasites and bacterial overgrowth can produce gases and increase gastrointestinal volume, leading to burping, farting, and abdominal cramps.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms alongside aches and pains in your abdomen, changes in appetite, and unexplained weight loss, speak to your doctor. If you have a gut infection, you will need appropriate treatments and medications to get rid of it. Once the infection has been treated, you’ll notice that your bloating also disappears.
Morning bloating is something that many of us will experience on the odd occasion but if it’s a regular occurrence for you, it’s worth taking a deeper look at what’s going out. It might be that you have an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed to regain full health, or you might need to make some lifestyle or dietary changes to alleviate the bloating.
Luckily, there are plenty of things that you can do to reduce morning bloating, and many of these things are really quick and easy to do. You might need to try a few different things or make multiple adjustments to your life to see a significant reduction in your bloating. However, once you’ve found what works for you and your body, you can wave goodbye to the dreaded morning bloat