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.

Other Tips

  • 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