Diverticulitis Sleeping Position: Does It Help Reduce Inflammation and Pain?

Whether you have been having trouble with diverticulitis for a long time or are experiencing symptoms for the first time, your sleep has a huge role in it. It is interesting to know how your sleeping position could affect your risk for diverticulitis.

However, is diverticulitis sleeping position a real thing?

Sleeping in an odd position may cause your colon to twist or pull on itself, triggering diverticulitis. This is because the body uses gravity to keep things in place. If you are sleeping in an awkward position, gravity takes over, and your colon twists around itself. This creates a torsion force that distorts the affected colon tissue and causes pain.

So which side should you sleep on with diverticulitis? Left, right, or on your back? Let’s get into the basics!

How Is Diverticulitis Related to Sleeping Positions?

To understand how diverticulitis is connected to sleep, you need to know how and why it is caused. Let’s dig into it, shall we? Diverticulitis refers to pockets or sacs which form in your large intestine and can become inflamed.

diverticulitis-sleeping-position

If the pouches become inflamed due to bacteria, toxins, or food, they become infected and cause severe pain and burning in your abdomen. That’s not the only reason! Another common reason is excessive pressure on your colon due to certain sleeping positions.

Many people don’t know that their sleeping position can lead to problems in their digestive system. This is why it is important you consider a proper sleeping position if you are suffering from any gut-related problem.

So, what side to lay on with diverticulitis?

A study revealed that nearly half of patients suffering from diverticulitis prefer lying on their left side. Why? Because the ascending colon is present on the right. By sleeping on our left side, we avoid pressure on our colon and allow proper oxygen flow to our organs.

Best Diverticulitis Sleeping Positions to Relieve Pain

Diverticulitis pain is already bad. And if that’s not enough, it usually aggravates at night when you lie down to sleep, leading to poor sleep. But we hear you! To prevent the pain and the resulting sleeplessness, here are some recommendations on what side to sleep on with diverticulitis.

On Your Left

Several positions are considered best for diverticulitis. However, lying on your left side is considered the best sleeping position for diverticulitis. Since the ascending colon (common site for diverticula) lies to your right, sleeping on the opposite side helps relieve the pressure on the affected site.

sleeping-position-on-your-left

Positioning your body in a fetal position to your left has also shown to be beneficial for some people. Make sure you do not curl your body too tight that it puts pressure on your abdomen and worsens the condition.

On Your Back

Some people find it best to sleep on their backs, with their legs elevated on a pillow. Besides reducing the pressure on the lower abdomen where the diverticula usually develop, it allows better blood flow.

sleeping-on-your-back

It is totally fine if you prefer sleeping on your side rather than on the back. But make sure you do not sleep in a prone position (on your stomach). Sleeping on your stomach can aggravate diverticulitis since it keeps the intestines twisted, causing diverticulitis to flare up.

What Is the Healthiest Sleeping Position?

Healthy sleeping positions vary from person to person, depending on their current health status. Thus, there is no right position that fits all. However, some sleeping positions promote a more comfortable sleep compared to others. Do you want to know what these are? Read on to find out!

Side sleeping positions, specifically on your left side, make the best sleeping position for stomach pain. Why is that so? This is because it increases blood flow and reduces pressure, resulting in better gut health.

When you sleep on your left, the fecal contents also have a better chance of moving through your colon, leading to bowel movements first thing in the morning. This reduces the risks of developing constipation, a common cause of diverticulitis.

Many people sleep on their back because they feel more comfortable that way. This allows for an optimum spinal alignment while eliminating any pressure on your internal organs.

healthiest-sleeping-position

However, in the case of GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease), or sleep apnea, back lying may be difficult for some. What side to sleep on with stomach ache then? Don’t worry; there is a solution! Add a pillow or use reclining beds to prop your head higher than your body to prevent reflux while lying on your back.

Do you now see why sleeping positions are important? A proper sleep posture can help you feel more relaxed and alert in the morning. Therefore, it is important to ensure you are not putting excessive pressure on your organs or spine.

Best Position to Sleep for Constipation

Have you heard how healthy sleep is a natural remedy for most digestive problems? There is no rocket science behind it. Sleeping, or more specifically sleeping in a way that promotes the evacuation of your bowels first thing in the morning, is why it is crucial to be mindful of it.

Sleeping on your left has shown commendable results when it comes to constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. This is why it is also considered the best sleeping position for bloated stomach. It works alongside gravity and arranges your colon, promoting the movement of feces from the ascending to the descending colon smoothly.

Constipation leads to bloating and more serious problems like diverticulitis; hence, it is necessary to take precautionary measures. However, sleep is not a magic pill! You also need to take care of your diet. Start with a high fiber diet, including fruits and vegetables daily. Also, avoid eating too much sugar and starch.

Constipation can be painful, but you need to make efforts in order to get rid of it. When a person with constipation experiences an episode, the first thing they should do is get out of bed and move around to help loosen up.

Best Side to Sleep on for Acid Reflux

Most people don’t understand that the position they sleep in is the biggest factor in how they feel when they wake up. Thus, you must change your sleeping routine to gain some relief during your sleep.

When you lie down, you put pressure on your stomach, which strains your stomach and esophagus. This causes acids to go up into your esophagus and cause a burning sensation. The best way to combat this is to sleep on your left side.

best-side-to-sleep-on-for-acid-reflux

How does this work? There is little research to back up why the left side works better for GERD patients. However, it is thought that sleeping on your left side can reduce the pressure in the esophagus, which can decrease the amount of acid and gas coming up from your stomach.

Another excellent way to prevent acid reflux during the night is to invest in some propping pillows and a height-adjustable bed. Since the upper part of your body is higher than the abdomen, gravity does not let the acids go up to your esophagus.

Final Verdict

If you have had diverticulitis in the past, you know what it’s like to suffer from chronic pain in the abdomen, not to mention restless sleep. There are different ways to treat it, but none of them works permanently. Therefore, you need to put in the effort and change your lifestyle.

This means including a fiber-rich diet and sleeping in a diverticulitis sleeping position at night to reduce the pain. It will need some conscious efforts on your part initially, but the pain relief will be long-lasting!

FAQs

Which sleeping position is best for digestion?

The best sleeping position for digestion has to be to your left, with a pillow between your knees. This helps keep the pressure off the internal organs as well as regulate blood flow properly. It also promotes a smooth bowel movement reducing the risks of constipation and diverticulitis.

How do you sleep with diverticulitis pain?

To sleep with diverticulitis pain, you need to alter a few sleeping habits, such as your sleeping position. The doctors recommend lying down on your left side to limit the pressure on the right side. This allows the fecal contents to pass through easily without causing pain.

What happens when you sleep on your right side?

Sleeping on the right side is highly beneficial for people suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Since the heart is located slightly on the left, sleeping on the right reduces the pressure on it. It also regulates blood pressure, resulting in improved health.

What is the best position to sleep when constipated?

The left side of your body is the best position to sleep when constipated. It allows the passage of feces from the ascending colon on the right to the descending colon on the left side of your body. By sleeping on your left, your colon stays untwisted, aiding the excretion.

Marium Sohail

Marium Sohail

Marium Sohail is an MBBS student at Karachi Medical And Dental College, Pakistan. Besides spending a major chunk of her time studying about the human body, she love breaking down the what's and how's of medicine for people through her writing. During her free time, she can be found with a book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

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