This advice is true for anyone that experiences any symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) also known as heart burn. GERD is a syndrome where the lower esophagus (where you stomach connects) does not close off properly after swallowing. This can allow food and stomach acid to move up from the stomach into the esophagus. The esophageal lining is not equipped to handle the stress of the acid from the stomach. Years of stomach acid hurting the esophagus can cause many problems including cancer of the esophagus. One of the main symptoms of GERD is heart burn which is a sensation of burning in the chest area where the esophagus resides. One way to help prevent these symptoms is to stay upright after you eat. This helps prevent reflux by allowing gravity to work in your favor helping to keep food in the stomach. For most people, this strategy is only mildly helpful and medications are also required.
This is the type of question that can be handled by your primary care physician
. If you report any symptoms of heart burn to your doctor
, he or she may give you the same advice you got from your roommate. Otherwise, I don't think there is any reason you can't lie down after you eat.