What is the best way to sleep with a stoma?

What is the best way to sleep with a stoma?

One of the most common questions as you start to adapt to life with a stoma is "what is the best way to sleep with a stoma?"

Especially if you were a stomach sleeper before your surgery, even doing something so natural as sleeping can seem quite the challenge! Add hospital nights with beeping machines and being woken up what seemed like a zillion times to get your blood pressure checked and even getting back into some sort of sleeping routine can often take a good while. 

Sleeping comfortably can seem quite the task at first, especially if you've had open surgery and/or your rectum taken away but the good news is that sooner or later, you will find a routine that works for you and one that you can rest comfortably with.

Ant's top tops for sleeping after stoma surgery

In this blog post, Ant shares his top tips.


Our Level 1 waistbands can be worn overnight, as mentioned by Ant in this video.

Amy's tips on sleeping with a stoma

  • Sleep hygiene - Things outside of ostomy life can help you sleep such as a good sleep hygiene. Doing things to promote this is vital such as sleeping at a regular time, doing things that help to wind you down before bed such as journaling or reading a book (preferably avoiding screen time an hour or so before bed) and making your bedroom sleep-friendly. This can involve keeping a tidy room and promoting a relaxing environment with a comfortable sleeping temperature and no light.
  • Reducing the chance of leaks - early days post surgery, it can help to set an alarm 2-3 times in the night to empty your bag as your stoma will be unsettled and probably quite active. Leaks may happen and preparation for this is key to make the process of dealing with it easier, should it happen. Keeping spare stoma supplies, spare bed sheets, cleaning products and spare pyjamas close to your bed can help this as well as sleeping on top of an incontinence pad. Using dark sheets can be preferable if you don't want to have to throw lighter bedding away and keep having to buy new bedding if you are experiencing leaks and washing your sheets regularly. Also, having a waterproof mattress cover under your sheets can give you peace of mind too. I am very lucky in the sense that I have had a select handful of bedtime leaks in over 11 years.
  • Experiment with when you change your bag - changing your bag before bed may help get a good night's sleep as the filters and bag will be fresh, but if you notice you experience leaks or problems closer to when you've just changed your bag, it might be wiser to change it in the morning. Experiment and see what works best for you.
  • Ask your stoma nurse to recommend medication and dosage to slow your output down, such as taking Loperamide.
  • Empty your bag before you get into bed. Having an empty bag when you settle down for sleep can reduce getting up in the night and also reduce the chance of leaks from your bag becoming too full.

Disclaimer: As always, this post is from our vlogger, Ant's experiences and our Social Media & Marketing Specialist, Amy's experiences with ostomy life & living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Nothing in our blog posts should be taken as medical advice. It's always best to consult a medical professional if you have queries or concerns.

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