Sleeping Diverticulitis: Top 4 Recommended Sleeping Positions

Getting good quality sleep is crucial for our overall health and well-being, and this is especially important for individuals who are dealing with a health condition.

During sleep, our body has a chance to repair and rejuvenate itself, which is essential for individuals with health conditions who need time to recover.

Good sleep habits can help to manage the symptoms of health conditions such as pain, inflammation, and fatigue. When the body is well-rested, it is better equipped to handle the challenges of living with a health condition.

By making good sleep a priority and adopting healthy sleep habits, individuals can improve their overall health and well-being, and better manage the challenges of living with a health condition.


Diverticulitis is a condition where small pouches, called diverticula, form in the colon’s lining and become infected or inflamed. It’s a common condition, especially in older adults, and can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, fever, and nausea. The severity of symptoms can depend on how much inflammation or infection is present, and in some cases, it can lead to complications like abscesses, fistulas, or bowel obstruction.

Although the exact cause of diverticulitis is not fully understood, it is believed to be related to several factors like a low-fiber diet, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, and genetic predisposition. High pressure in the colon causes weak spots in the intestinal wall to bulge outward, leading to the development of diverticula. When fecal matter becomes trapped in these pouches, it can cause inflammation or infection, resulting in diverticulitis.

In the United States, about half of people over 60 have diverticulosis, and 10-25% of them go on to develop diverticulitis, with the risk increasing with age. It is more common in developed countries and more prevalent in men than women. Caucasians are more likely to get diverticulitis than African Americans or Hispanics. Studies suggest that changes in dietary habits and lifestyle factors may be contributing to an increase in the incidence of diverticulitis.

How Does Diverticulitis Affects Sleeping Quality?

Diverticulitis can impact sleep in various ways, and one of the most common symptoms that can interfere with sleep is abdominal pain. This pain may be severe and can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. It is often located in the lower left side of the abdomen and can worsen with movement or pressure. Additionally, other symptoms of diverticulitis such as nausea, bloating, and diarrhea can also affect sleep by causing frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.

Stress and anxiety related to diverticulitis can also negatively impact sleep quality. The fear of potential complications, treatment, and symptoms can cause increased levels of stress, making it more difficult to fall or stay asleep.

It is crucial for individuals with diverticulitis to manage their symptoms effectively, including taking prescribed pain medication, adopting a low-fiber diet, and finding ways to manage stress levels. By doing so, individuals with diverticulitis can improve their sleep quality and overall quality of life.

Top 4 Recommended Sleeping Positions

Sleeping with diverticulitis can be challenging, but there are some sleeping positions that may be more comfortable and beneficial for individuals with this condition. Here are four sleeping positions that may help alleviate symptoms of diverticulitis and promote better sleep:

1. Sleeping on the left side

Sleeping on the left side

Sleeping on the left side may be the most effective position for individuals with diverticulitis. This is because the colon is located on the left side of the body, and sleeping on the left side can help to promote better digestion and relieve pressure on the colon. Moreover, it can help prevent acid reflux, which is a common symptom of diverticulitis. Lie on your left side with your knees slightly bent and a pillow between your knees for added comfort and support.

2. Sleeping on the back

Sleeping on the back

Sleeping on the back can help distribute weight evenly and relieve pressure on the abdomen. This position may also help promote better digestion and prevent acid reflux. However, it may not be suitable for individuals with sleep apnea or snoring issues. Lie flat on your back with a pillow under your head and a small pillow or rolled-up towel under your knees for added support.

3. Sleeping in a fetal position

Sleeping in a fetal position

Sleeping in a fetal position can be a comfortable option for individuals with diverticulitis as it can help alleviate pressure on the abdomen and promote better digestion. Lie on your side with your knees bent and pulled up towards your chest, and a pillow between your knees for added support. This position may also be helpful for individuals with lower back pain.

Sleeping with a wedge pillow

Sleeping with a wedge pillow

If you experience acid reflux or heartburn at night, sleeping with a wedge pillow may be a good option. A wedge pillow can elevate the upper body, preventing acid from flowing back into the esophagus. Place it under your upper back and head, with your shoulders and hips still on the bed, to keep your body at an angle and prevent acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

What Disturbs Diverticulitis?

There are several factors that can trigger or exacerbate diverticulitis, including:

  1. Eating a diet low in fiber: A diet low in fiber can cause constipation and hard stools, which can put pressure on the colon and lead to diverticulitis.
  2. Eating foods that are difficult to digest: Foods that are difficult to digest, such as red meat and fried foods, can increase the risk of diverticulitis.
  3. Lack of physical activity: Lack of physical activity can lead to constipation and increase the risk of diverticulitis.
  4. Obesity: Being overweight or obese can put pressure on the colon and increase the risk of diverticulitis.
  5. Smoking: Smoking can weaken the walls of the colon and increase the risk of diverticulitis.
  6. Certain medications: Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can increase the risk of diverticulitis.
  7. Stress: Stress can weaken the immune system and increase inflammation, which can trigger diverticulitis.

It is important to manage these factors and adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent or manage diverticulitis.

Does Laying Down Help Diverticulitis?

There is no definitive answer to whether laying down helps diverticulitis, as the effectiveness of different positions may vary depending on individual preferences and symptoms.

However, some people with diverticulitis find relief by adjusting their sleeping position to alleviate pressure on the abdomen, promote better digestion, and prevent acid reflux. Sleeping on the left side, sleeping on the back, sleeping in a fetal position, or using a wedge pillow to elevate the upper body may be helpful for some individuals.


It’s important to understand that the sleeping positions recommended may differ for each individual depending on their symptoms and personal preferences. It’s also crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your sleep position to ensure it’s safe and suitable for your specific condition.

In addition to adjusting sleep positions, individuals with diverticulitis can promote better sleep quality by following healthy sleep habits. This includes maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol consumption before bedtime.

By adopting healthy sleep habits, individuals with diverticulitis may be able to improve their overall sleep quality and promote better digestion.

Obianuju Chukwu
Obianuju Chukwu
She has a degree in pharmacy and has worked in the field as a pharmacist in a hospital. Teaching, blogging, and producing scientific articles are some of her interests. She enjoys writing on various topics relating to health and medicine, including health and beauty-related natural treatments, the nutritional worth of various foods, and mental wellness.

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