Some sleeping positions may relieve specific symptoms of Crohn’s disease, including gas and bloating. Different positions may have different benefits.

If Crohn’s disease is keeping you awake, you’re not alone. Lack of sleep is a common concern among people with this type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

In fact, it’s estimated that between 51% and 80% of people with Crohn’s disease don’t get enough quality sleep.

This may be related to a variety of factors, such as:

  • gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort
  • nighttime wakeups to use the bathroom
  • overall anxiety due to living with Crohn’s

Lack of quality sleep can become cyclical with Crohn’s disease.

Poor sleep may contribute to daytime GI symptoms. It may also affect disease activity. Research from 2019 suggests a clear, complex relationship between sleep, inflammation, and the immune system.

Here are some steps you can take to help you get a better night’s sleep.

There’s no scientific consensus for the best sleeping positions for someone with Crohn’s disease. The best sleeping position is the one that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep long enough to feel rested and recharged.

Here’s what to know about common sleeping positions.

Infographic showing sleeping positions for Crohn's disease symptom reliefShare on Pinterest
Illustration by Jason Hoffman

Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. If you wake up often during the night and frequently feel tired during the day, chances are you’re not getting quality sleep.

The first step toward sleeping well involves forming good sleep habits, such as:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Change sheets and pillowcases often, and wear comfy pajamas.
  • Remove electronic devices from the bedroom.
  • Exercise regularly earlier in the day, not too close to bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and meals before bedtime.

You can work with a healthcare professional to manage Crohn’s disease as best as possible. Putting a treatment plan into place for Crohn’s disease may help you get a better night’s rest.

What is the best position to sleep in with Crohn’s disease?

Lying on your left side or in the fetal position may relieve pressure on your abdomen from gas and bloating.

How do you sleep with inflamed intestines?

If your Crohn’s disease symptoms regularly affect your sleep, consider talking with a healthcare professional. They may be able to adjust your medication in order to better manage your symptoms.

You may be able to try practices like meditation and yoga, which may help soothe digestive pain.

Some people with gastrointestinal diseases relieve pain from gas and bloating by using a hot water bottle or heating pad before going to bed.

What is the best position to sleep in with colitis?

You may be able to find some relief sleeping on your left side or in the fetal position, as it may relieve abdominal discomfort by taking the pressure off your intestines.

Is Crohn’s disease worse at night?

Crohn’s disease symptoms can make it harder to sleep and not sleeping enough can worsen Crohn’s symptoms. You may be able to find relief with doctor-prescribed medication and practices such as yoga and avoiding eating before bed.

With Crohn’s disease, a variety of factors may affect your sleep. And poor sleep can make it harder to manage your condition.

You can’t sleep if you’re not comfortable. Start by experimenting with new sleep positions to see what works for you. Then take steps to form good sleep habits so you can wake up feeling well-rested.