After receiving life-altering surgery to get an Ostomy, you may never have thought that your sleeping habits would have to change slightly. Common complaints include:
- Having to wake up during the night to empty the pouch. Sometimes more than once.
- Unable to find a comfortable position to sleep.
- The pouch’s weight wakes me up
- Having a leak in the middle of the night causes anxiety.
The following are some tips to help!
How to Secure Your Ostomy for More Comfortable Sleep
- Wear a tighter shirt
- Tuck shirt into PJ pants
- Wear a band/belly band around the abdomen
- If you sleep on the opposite side of your Ostomy, use a pillow to support your Ostomy.
Sleeping Positions that help:
- If you sleep on the side your pouch is on, place a pillow as support like in the photo below.
- If you sleep on your stomach, lift your leg on your Ostomy side like in the photo below. It will keep the weight off of your stoma.
- If right after surgery, a modified sitting up position as show in the picture below will help if laying down is too painful.
Tips on how to wake up less frequently
- For the first couple months after your surgery, you will have more output. Set an alarm to wake you up every three hours to empty your pouch.
- Try not to eat or drink for an hour or two before bed.
- If you want to make sure your system is clear, try eating a quick snack 15 minutes before going to sleep. This will trigger your intestines to empty.
- Ask a doctor if it is alright for you to take Imodium or GasX before bed to slow down motility.
- If none of the above helps, you can always use night drainage products or a larger bag.
Tips on avoiding Leaks
- Don’t let the pouch get too full.
- Listen to your doctor or nurse on how often to change your pouch.
Make sure your output is not too thin or thick.
- To thin: Drink more fluids
- To thicken: eat food like applesauce, bananas, or mashed potatoes.
- Keep pain meds and a bottle of water next to the bed.
- Use a nightlight in case you need to go to the rest room.
- Use pillows or blankets to splint your stomach to help relieve pain.
We hope these tips help you get a better night’s sleep. If this has helped you, or you have any tips you’d like to add, be sure to contact us on Facebook (@yurekhomehealth) we’d love to hear from you.
If you’d like to see a video on this, please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zpc5S05UExM