This post was originally published on May 18 2016. It was updated on September 3, 2019.
No one likes feeling bloated. In fact, I'd pay a not-so-insignificant amount of money to never feel bloated ever again. But since that's not exactly an option, I have to settle for some bloating cures that work overnight. Because I want to feeling great, as opposed to feeling like an uncomfortable ball of air.
According to the Mayo Clinic, belly bloating — or the sensation we feel when our stomach's feel distended or gassy — can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the most common causes of bloating are eating or drinking gassy or carbonated foods, stress or anxiety, and in some cases, conditions like Celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Bloating can also "stem from too much salt, hormones, overeating, or an imbalance of electrolytes, amongst other things," Gabrielle Mancella, a registered dietician at Orlando Health, a Florida hospital system, tells Bustle.
If you've checked with your doctor that you're not dealing with a more serious condition, occasional bloating is most likely just caused by diet or constipation. And as unsexy as that may sound, the good thing is there's a ton you can do about both those factors. It's often just about being in-tune with your body and proactively avoiding your bloating triggers.
It doesn't mean you have to live a life of restrictions and avoidance, either; when it comes to managing my bloating triggers, I still basically eat what I want, when I want. I'm just careful to take certain measures when I'm feeling especially uncomfortable, or when I know I'll want to be feeling my absolute best the next day for an important event.
"Bloating can be, quite frankly, annoying, but it isn’t permanent," Mancella says."
If you're looking for a quick cure to beat the bloat and wake up feeling great, here are nine overnight hacks that should help.
1. Eat A High-Potassium Snack Before Bed
Too much fluid in our systems can make us feel bloated, Mancella says, and this is especially common around your period thanks to the change in estrogen-to-progesterone ratio. Luckily, foods rich in potassium, like bananas, nuts, and asparagus, can help regulate fluid retention. Incorporate some of these foods into your dinner or evening snack if you want to reduce bloating overnight.
2. Eat Slowly
One of the most common causes of bloating is overeating, Mancella says, and intaking lots of air, which happens when you eat super quickly. Eating slowly helps you take in less air as you eat, which doesn't get trapped in your stomach, and also gives your brain time to get the message that your stomach is full, according to Harvard Health. Try to take a sip of water between each bite can help you eat a little more mindfully, and thus reduce the chances of bloating.
3. Massage Your Belly
If you're already feeling bloated, sometimes manually getting the bloat out helps. The University of Michigan Health System recommends massaging your belly in circular, downward motions for two to three minutes. This can help move air and gas through your digestive track, and has the added benefit of being a calming, pre-bed ritual.
4. Hydrate With More Than Just Water
You know how important staying hydrated is, but if you're thinking, "Wait, doesn't bloating mean I have too much fluid in my belly?" you wouldn't be wrong. That's why Mancella says it's important to hydrate with both water and beverages that help balance your electrolytes. "Drinking enough water is one way to prevent fluid imbalance," she says," but "for some, over-consumption of water with the assumption that it will flush the body out can contribute to bloating and cause excess water to enter the gut."
Instead, "consuming sufficient sodium and potassium can ensure that we are only holding on to water in the amounts that we need," she says. Coconut water, Gatorade or Pedialyte, or even watermelon juice are tasty ways to hydrate and balance your electrolytes at the same time.
5. Drink Ginger Tea
If you're the type to like something warm before bed, try ginger tea, which is pretty much the best thing ever for any kind of upset stomach. The University of Rochester Medical System notes that it's proven to soothe nausea and other intestinal upsets, but also says that too much has been shown to cause bloating itself. As with everything, moderation is key.
According to Kristi King, RD, writing for Health, stress levels often affect our stomach — specifically our digestion. If you've been particularly stressed out, try doing some calming activities before bed, like meditating, journaling, or watching a guided mediation video.
7. Don't Eat Two Hours Before Bed
Just like eating quickly can cause extra air to enter the stomach, eating too soon before bed can cause gut issues, since your body doesn't have enough time to digest before sleep. (This can also cause sleep issues, since your body is basically trying to do two things at once.) By making sure you're not giving your body extra work, it can focus on digesting the food that's already in your stomach — and avoid bloating in the morning.
Mancella notes that while you might want to get rid of your bloat as fast as possible, it's important to be wary of too-quick fixes. "If a fast-fix detox promises instantaneous results, expect it to be overpromising and under delivering," she says. "Detox teas can also stimulate a diuretic effect and cause [gastrointestinal] discomfort and simply add negative symptoms like gas to the mix." The most important thing to do is "to be very in tune with our bodies to determine the main cause [of bloating] in order to prevent this from reoccurring," she says. You know your body best; treat it with kindness, and it'll be kind right back.
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