Tag Archives: sleep

Out of the Bag: Sleeping

stephanie hughes out of the bag colostomy ileostomy crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd ostomy blog stolen colonWhen you have an ostomy, going to bed isn’t quite as simple as it is for most people. There are a number of factors that you have to consider: What way should I lay? Is sleeping like this going to cause my bag to leak? Will I wake up if my bag gets full? Even a year out from surgery, these thoughts still go through my head fairly often.

And the truth is, I have leaks more often while I am sleeping then when I am awake, so I know it can be an issue for ostomates. In my experience, these are the things to take into account before hitting the sheets:

When you eat your last meal of the day. I try to be done eating any meal by 7:30 on normal weekdays when I’m in bed earlier. I would actually prefer to be done by 6:30, but that doesn’t always happen. If you eat too close to bedtime, you will find a very full bag in the morning or sometime in the middle of the night. Something I have realized recently is that, for me, it actually helps if I eat just a little something small about a half-hour before I go to bed. When you eat, it triggers your digestive system to continue moving things through, so eating a little something can help move some things out of your system before going to bed.

bed sleep awake tired exhausted crohns colitis ostomy blog stephanie hughes stolen colonWhat you eat before bed. I realize this is going to be very different for different people, but I can tell you about my experience. I have issues with anything that will significantly thicken my output. For me, thick output + laying down = leak. Rice and nuts are the most difficult for me. I’m fine in small quantities, but eating a lot before bed usually doesn’t end well. Alcohol can also cause issues. Now, if I’m having a few drinks, I make sure that I drink at least the same amount of water as alcoholic drinks. Just a few weeks ago, I had two glasses of wine, but didn’t follow it up with water. My output was so thick that night that I ended up with a pretty bad leak. (And waking up in the middle of the night to change your bag after drinking the night before is not fun…)
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I’ve had sleeping issues lately. And by lately, I mean for forever.

I mainly have trouble falling asleep. I’m not sure if it’s some of my own issues or if it may at least in part be due to some of the medications that I’ve been on over the past years. I tend to have trouble just shutting my mind down. I start thinking about things I need to get done or stressing out about any number of things.

I’ve taken melatonin in the past. The stuff really does work, but I don’t want to become dependent on it. Also, I tend to wake up groggy, even if I get a full 8 hours of sleep.

I’ve been trying some new things to help me sleep. A friend suggested forming some bedtime rituals to help prepare yourself for sleeping. She’s learned that having particular habits for each of your senses helps you wind down. I’ve started drinking herbal tea at the end of the day. I have a sleep aromatherapy body lotion that I use as I head to bed. So that takes care of taste and smell. I don’t know that I can do a sound. Both Jarrod and I prefer quiet while we sleep.

Sight is also difficult because Jarrod and I have gotten into the habit of watching TV as we get ready for bed. I know this is one of the worst things you can do because the lights and colors and sound are all distracting. Plus, the light also suppresses the release of melatonin. (Aha!) I know cutting out the TV is one of the first things I should do.

How about you? Do you have any rituals you do before bed? Or any secrets that help you get to sleep?