5 Positions to Lay In To Relieve Stomach Pain and Get Cozy
Positions to lay in to relieve stomach pain include lying on your left side, using a body pillow on your side, lying on your back, propping up your knees, and sleeping in a slightly elevated position. However, scientific studies haven’t confirmed a ‘best position,’ so the jury is still out
Stomach pain can be caused by reactions to foods, even if they’re not full-on allergies.
It may also be a sign of serious medical issues if symptoms linger.
Scientific studies are lacking, but the best sleeping positions for stomach pain seem to be on the left side or in a slightly elevated position.
Did you know?
Stomach pain is one of the most common reasons for sleep disturbances at night, and it often occurs when the person eats food too close to bed or eats food that they can’t tolerate.
Dealing with tummy troubles? Are they making it hard to get a decent night of sleep?
Pain in that part of the body can come for several reasons, and if it sticks around it can ruin your chances of getting a deep snooze.
Whether you’re dealing with it for the first time or if you have a chronic problem, there’s more than one position to lay in to relieve stomach pain. However, they don’t guarantee comfort for every issue. So, to maximize your bed time you’ll need to consider the symptoms and give a few positions a try.
What Causes Stomach Pain?
Most people run into stomach problems at one point in their lives or another. In most cases it’s temporary and may be over by morning or after a day or two.
However, if the problem persists or if other symptoms are present, you may want to seek medical attention. With that said, here are some of the common sources of stomach pain.
The stomach produces acid by design in order to break down food, but fatty, processed, and sometimes acidic foods can lead to overproduction of stomach acid. This can lead to stomach pain as the acid travels back up toward the chest, especially while lying down.
On top of that, there are chronic conditions like Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) which make it even more difficult to keep the stomach acid down. To manage this problem, try to avoid fatty foods, especially right before bed.
Everybody poops, and everybody gets gassy. It might be an embarrassing topic, but it’s one that we can all relate to. And if too much of it builds up too quickly it can lead to more tummy troubles.
Certain high fiber foods, like beans and broccoli can lead to bloating in the stomach, and medical conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) makes it worse. IBS symptoms are also linked to worse sleep.
Another common problem associated with IBS is constipation, but it can happen to anyone. If it does, you may be in for a rough ride until it passes.
Here are a few of the common causes of constipation:
- Diets low in fiber (on the other hand, high fiber diets can prevent it)
- Some medications
- Lack of hydration
- Lack of exercise
Food Intolerance and Allergies
Roughly 20% of the population has some form of food intolerance. Some of these are more serious than others, but they can all lead to sleep interruptions and stomach pain.
Here are the food products that cause the most issues for people:
- FODMAPs, found in many fruits, vegetables, and dairy products
- Histamines, found in stored and fermented foods
- Food additives
- Food products associated with genetic intolerance like lactose and sucrose
Finally, there are several medical situations that can lead to stomach pain, some being more serious than others. Here’s a short list:
- Stomach viruses
- Food poisoning
- Stomach ulcers
- Bowel blockages
If you experience stomach pain alongside symptoms like vomiting, especially over an extended period of time, it may be time for a trip to the doctor.
What Positions Help With Stomach Pain?
Whatever the reason for your gurgling belly, the end result at night is often the same: tossing and turning in bed.
And while there are some positions to lay in that seem to relieve stomach pain, there isn't much bullet proof evidence. With that said, there are some potential solutions that apply to different problems.
Sleeping On Your Left Side
If it feels like the source of your pain is somewhere in the stomach and below as opposed to higher up, you may want to get cozy on your left side. The idea is that your stomach is on that side of your body, so lying there allows gravity to do its thing, easing digestion.
Evidence is sparse, but many people claim that it works wonders, especially if you’ve had one too many goodies before bed.
On Your Side With A Pillow Between Your Legs
Sleeping with a pillow between your legs has all kinds of benefits, one being the simple fact that it keeps you on your side for longer. This can be useful if you want to try sleeping on your left but aren’t used to it. It can also make changing sides more comfy, something that studies have shown can help with gallstone-related tummy pain.
A typical head pillow may help, but our Cuddler body pillow’s ergonomic design was made to support you in this position. Hug it between your shoulders and thighs and you might find yourself drifting off to a peaceful rest before you know it.
On Your Back
Sleeping on your back is the optimal position for general pain relief in most people, and it could be the same for stomach pain. However, if you experience back pain during sleep or GERD symptoms, you may be due for some adjustments.
On Your Back With A Pillow Under Your Knees
To get the benefits of sleeping on your back while keeping your spine in check, try sliding a pillow under your knees. This raises the legs slightly which helps keep the spine in a proper position throughout the night.
On Your Back With Your Head Raised
For those battling acid reflux or GERD, sleeping in a slightly elevated position can help. Just try not to make the angle so steep that you might as well be in a chair.
The extra angle makes it a lot harder for stomach acid to travel up toward the esophagus, which in turn can relieve stomach pain
Sleeping Positions to Avoid When Having Tummy Trouble
While some positions can be great for tummy pain, there are others that make the discomfort worse. As mentioned, if you’re suffering from acid reflux, lying flat on your back may not be optimal.
Sleeping on your tummy can also be difficult, since the optimal way of doing so is to slide a pillow under the gut for spine support. This can, in turn, put pressure on an already rough situation.
With that said, there’s no scientific evidence that says, “This is the best position to lay in to relieve stomach pain.” All you can do is try out some different options based on your symptoms and adjust based on the results.
Got more questions about stomach pain? Here are some of the common ones and their answers.
Is Lying On The Stomach Good For Stomach Ache?
Lying on the stomach is not good for a stomach ache because it puts extra pressure on the gut. This can hinder digestion and worsen symptoms associated with acid reflux. Additionally, the face-down position may put strain on the spine which can cause pain and extra tension in the mid-section.
Because of concerns for the spine’s health, doctors also often recommend a pillow under the stomach when sleeping in that position. Unfortunately this also could make stomach pain worse.
Where Is The Pressure Point To Stop Stomach Pain?
There are several pressure points said to stop stomach pain. The zusanli point is located just below the kneecap and toward the outer side of the shin, the sanyinjiao point is a few inches above the ankle on the inner part of the shin, and the qihai point is just below the belly button.
To massage these acupressure points, place two fingers on the spot and move in a circular direction, applying gentle pressure.
What Causes Stomach Pain?
Stomach pain can have many different causes, often involving food intake. Intolerance to foods containing lactose, wheat, FODMAPs, and histamines are one potential source. Overeating high-fiber foods like beans can also lead to painful gas and high-fat foods can lead to acid reflux.
Medical conditions like ulcers, blockages, and cancers can also be a source of stomach pain. Consult a doctor if you’ve been in pain for an extended period or if you have other symptoms like vomiting.
What Side Should You Sleep On If You Have Stomach Pain?
If you have stomach pain, you may want to try sleeping on your left side since this is where the stomach is located. Sleeping on that side may help aid in digestion, though it’s not a guarantee.
If you’re experiencing pain associated with acid reflux, you may want to try sleeping in a slightly elevated position, either on your back or on your side. This helps to keep stomach acid down.
The best position to lay in to relieve stomach pain is ultimately whatever you see the best results from. For many people that’s sleeping on the left side, and for those with acid reflex that may involve propping their upper body up to prevent acid flow.
If you’re looking for a way to make these positions a little more comfortable, you may want to try our Cuddler body pillow. It can keep you comfy-cozy in any position and could help relieve your tummy troubles along the way.