Crohn’s disease symptoms can make sleeping difficult. However, certain positions — like lying on the left side or in the fetal position — can make it easier to fall and stay asleep.

Similar to other types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease can make sleeping difficult due to its symptoms. People may experience pain, discomfort, and heartburn, which can prevent them from getting enough quality sleep.

Crohn’s disease may also cause anxiety, and it may cause people to wake up to use the bathroom.

This article reviews the best sleeping positions for people with Crohn’s disease and shares other tips that may help improve sleep quality.

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Poor sleep quality is common in people with Crohn’s disease. One study reported that 51–80% of people with the condition do not get enough quality sleep.

While there is no scientific evidence that proves which sleeping positions are the best for people with Crohn’s disease, some positions may feel more comfortable than others.

Sleeping in the fetal position or on the left side may improve sleep quality and provide relief from indigestion and heartburn. However, this position may worsen snoring and sleep apnea, so it may not be suitable for everyone.

People with anal fistula may also find relief from lying on their side. This position may reduce pressure on that area of the body.

Stomach sleeping is generally not recommended, as it does not provide much back or neck support. People with Crohn’s disease may also want to avoid sleeping on the stomach because it can increase pressure on the abdomen.

Sleep problems may exacerbate Crohn’s disease symptoms. The lack of quality sleep can cause fatigue and pain, and it can also influence the way the immune system works. This can increase the number and severity of a person’s symptoms.

Poor quality sleep can cause a cycle in which a person has difficulties sleeping due to Crohn’s symptoms.

Adults typically need between 7–9 hours of sleep per day. Crohn’s disease can cause people to wake up many times, reducing sleep quality and causing tiredness.

Some habits may help people with Crohn’s disease improve their sleep quality. These include:

  • going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day
  • keeping the bedroom dark and quiet
  • removing electronic devices from the bedroom
  • keeping a comfortable temperature in the bedroom
  • exercising regularly, though avoiding it right before bedtime
  • avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and heavy meals before going to sleep
  • changing pillowcases and sheets often
  • wearing comfortable nightwear

People who experience difficulty sleeping may consider contacting a healthcare professional. They can recommend the most appropriate treatment plan and advice.

People who have Crohn’s disease and experience difficulty sleeping or tiredness may consider asking a doctor how they can improve their sleep quality.

To help doctors understand the severity of the symptoms experienced, it may be useful to keep a record of the hours a person sleeps each day and the number of times they wake up to go to the bathroom.

Additionally, they may also recommend that people with this condition make some adjustments to their diet and lifestyle. This may help people manage Crohn’s disease and reduce the risk of complications.

Some questions people with Crohn’s disease may ask a doctor during an appointment may include:

  • How can I improve my sleep quality?
  • How can I prevent the need of going to the bathroom at night?
  • What foods should I avoid before bedtime?
  • How often should I do physical exercise?
  • Is there a type of mattress that can help me sleep better?
  • Can I have naps during the day?

People with Crohn’s disease often experience difficulties sleeping. Poor sleep may also make Crohn’s disease symptoms worse, making it difficult to manage them.

Finding a suitable sleeping position and making sure the bedroom is dark, quiet, and a comfortable temperature can play an important role in improving sleep quality.

Maintaining a sleep routine, doing physical exercise, and avoiding heavy meals before going to sleep may help people with Crohn’s disease have better rest.