While drinking a glass of milk to relieve heartburn may initially ease the discomfort of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it may also have a rebound affect later when the same milk triggers the production of stomach acid later. Milk has a soothing effect on the stomach and throat that can provide temporary relief but in the long run tends to encourage acid secretion. Sometimes this response is most pronounced when one drinks a glass of whole milk just before bedtime to treat heartburn and induce sleep, as ritual and old wives' tales have suggested. Whole milk and dairy products may worsen acid reflux of GERD because of the fat contained in those food products. Foods containing saturated fats are known to relax the esophageal sphincter, a muscle in your lower esophagus that normally protects against reflux, opening for passage of food and drink and then closing and contracting for digestion. Other foods that can trigger relaxation of this muscle include fried foods, tomato-based products, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, citrus fruit, carbonated beverages, desserts, ice cream and yogurt. Skim milk and low-fat or non-fat yogurt may however provide quick relief of symptoms, but lifestyle changes may have the most benefit. They include weight loss, smoking cessation, decreasing alcohol intake, eating a healthy diet, eating smaller meals, elevating the head of your bed, and avoiding tight-fitting clothing. There are also alternative herbal remedies, which include ingestion of licorice, slippery elm, and chamomile, as well as, relaxation techniques to reduce stress and anxiety and acupuncture, per one study. Nevertheless, you should always clear these remedies with your physician because of the possibility of drug interactions with medications you are already taking or prior diagnoses.