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Best positions for sleeping with IBS


How to manage the effects of IBS while you sleep

Trying to sleep with pain or discomfort can be challenging and even exhausting. If IBS wreaks havoc on your bowels, getting some shuteye amidst bloating or frequent trips to the loo, might feel like a distant dream.

While there’s no medical ‘silver bullet’ for this common digestive condition, attaining rest with an excellent quality mattress and comfortable sleep position for your body will certainly put you in good stead.

Visit us at Sleep Republic to learn why our technologically advanced mattress is the ultimate choice for comfort, support and superior slumber. You can try for 100 days, completely risk free. If you don’t like it, you can return for a full refund.

What is IBS?
sleeping with IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome or ‘IBS’, is a gastrointestinal disorder that affects around 1 in 5 Australians at some point in time. With IBS, your gut becomes more sensitive, and the muscular contractions of your intestines don’t work the way they should.

The severity of the disorder varies from person to person. Some people experience symptoms that come and go and are simply a nuisance. Others have severe daily bowel problems that affect work, general enjoyment of life and importantly their ability to sleep.

As a disorder, it can be rather elusive as symptoms may change over time, or someone may experience severe symptoms for several weeks and then feel be symptom-free for months or years.

Common symptoms of IBS

Many with IBS remain undiagnosed. But cramps in the tummy and awful bloating can really interfere with our basic needs — like getting a good nights sleep. Some of the common signs of IBS include:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping (often relieved by passing wind or faeces)
  • Alternating diarrhoea and constipation
  • A sensation that the bowels are not fully emptied after passing a motion
  • Bloating and gas
  • Mucus present in the stools
  • Nausea

*Please note that none of these symptoms, however, are exclusive to IBS.

Although the symptoms of IBS often change over time, people tend to develop their own pattern. For example, some people have mostly diarrhoea, some have mostly constipation and others have abdominal pain without a major change in bowel movements.

If you are concerned about signs of IBS seek advice from your local GP or experienced health professional.

Is there a best position to sleep with IBS?
side sleeping with a pillow between legs

It’s not uncommon for people who experience symptoms of IBS to have trouble getting comfortable when it’s time to hit the hay. Is there an optimal way to lie? For those who experience bloating, for example, sleeping on your stomach will likely feel unpleasant.

There is no scientific evidence that says which sleeping position is best for people with IBS. But exploring what’s best for your body and your condition, by trying out different positions – can help you decide if one particular position feels betters than another.

Some sleeping position alternatives if you are experiencing discomfort:

  • On your side
  • On your side with a pillow between your legs
  • On your back
  • On your back with a pillow under your knees
  • On your back with your head raised

There are pros and cons to each, so aside from switching it up to find what works, it’s best to consult your doctor for individual advice. Hopefully, with some small adjustments, relief and relaxation will be just around the corner.

Other considerations for choosing the right sleeping position

While IBS and digestion more generally are factors that may have you trying out different sleep positions — there are other ones that will come into play to find the best slumber. Personal preference, along with physical and medical conditions are all part of the equation including:

  • Age
  • Back and shoulder pain
  • Sleep apnea
  • Snoring
  • Pregnancy

There’s really not a one-size-fits-all solution. But a high-quality mattress that offers proper body and in particular lumbar support can make a world of difference. Also having some pillows or a bolster and experimenting with exact placement and height can be an easy fix.

Learn more about Sleep Republic’s highly awarded mattress. Contact us today and talk to our friendly team. With over 20 years of expertise we love to see our superior mattress design translate to customer comfort and satisfaction.