Suffering With a Stomach Ulcer? These Seven Tips Will Help You Sleep

According to the National Library of Medicine, about 4 million people in America are peptic ulcer patients. This makes peptic ulcer disease (PUD) a common disease in the United States and the world at large. So if you’re a sufferer, you’re not alone.

Patients with PUD often have to make some lifestyle changes in order to accommodate, manage and enhance the healing process of the disease. This includes changes in diets, physical activities, sleeping habits, and so on.

Patients with ulcers, especially seniors, often find it difficult to sleep peacefully and without pain. In fact, some patients have confirmed that ulcer pains worsen at night which makes sleeping difficult at night.

Since ulcer pains usually occur around meal time, it is not unusual for most patients to typically find it challenging to go to bed after dinner.

Fortunately, there are sleeping habits that you can adopt that will ensure you get a rejuvenating sleep, even as an ulcer patient.

We’ll go over them in this article in our seven must-know tips for how to sleep with a stomach ulcer, in the hope you can get a better and more restful sleep despite your stomach ulcer.

But first, let’s have some background knowledge on what PUD exactly is.

But First: What Exactly is Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD)

Generally, ulcers are painful sores or holes that take time to heal. Unfortunately most often than not, they are prone to recurrence.

In particular peptic ulcer disease are ulcers that affect the small intestine and the stomach lining.

There are thick layers of mucus that prevent the stomach’s acid content from touching the intestines and lining of the stomach. However, some factors can cause this layer of mucus to reduce or be eroded, thus allowing tissues in the stomach to be washed away by the stomach’s acid content, causing a sore.

Causes of Peptic Ulcer Disease

There are two major causes of PUD.

Helicobacter Pylori

Accounting for 50% of stomach ulcers, Helicobacter pylori  is a bacterium that produces certain secretions that increase or decrease the production of a compound in the body called somatostatin.

If the production of somatostatin is reduced, the acid content produced in the stomach also decreases, causing gastric ulcers. On the other hand, if the production of somatostatin increases beyond normal, it can cause duodenal ulcers.

Regular Intake of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Regular intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen can cause peptic ulcers.

This is because NSAIDs prevent a compound in the body known as cyclooxygenase from working effectively.

Cyclooxygenase produces prostaglandins that stimulate gastric mucosa secretion – the layer of mucus that protects the stomach and intestines – from being washed away by digestive juices.

Other Causes of Ulcers Can Be Linked To:

  • Stress from other diseases like Crohn’s disease, liver cirrhosis, etc.
  • Regular smoking of tobacco-based cigarettes.

Symptoms of PUD Include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Vomiting of blood

Now that you know what ulcers are and how to recognize them, we’ll go over some tips to help you cope with the pain and help you sleep with a stomach ulcer.

Seven Must-Know Tips On How To Sleep With A Stomach Ulcer

1. Reduce Stress and Unhealthy Habits

Several studies have confirmed that mental and physical stress affects the immune system and the ability of the body to repair and heal itself.

There’s also ongoing research seeking to understand the effects of stress on gut health.

Stress and unhealthy habits can aggravate stomach ulcer symptoms or cause a recurrence. Therefore, any unnecessary activity that might cause stress should be avoided.

Furthermore, unhealthy habits like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, eating junk food, and so on can further cause the inner lining of the stomach and esophagus to wear away, which can worsen the pain. So, these should be avoided.

2. Eat a Few Hours Before Going to Bed

Most ulcer pains are usually experienced during mealtime, so eating a few hours before you go to bed can make you get some shut-eye that won’t necessarily be painful.

Additionally, it would be best if you were mindful of the meals you eat and any trigger meals that make your ulcers worse. Have a strict regimen for when and what you eat, and stick to it. Note down any foods that make things worse and avoid them, especially in the evening as that will eventually help you get a better sleep with a stomach ulcer.

3. Sleep in a Position That Elevates Your Head

Ulcer pains are caused when the stomach acid irritates the sores of your stomach that have formed as a result of the erosion of the stomach lining by the stomach’s digestive enzymes.

Sleeping in a position that can prevent the stomach acid from reaching the sore may potentially help to reduce the pain, and help you to get a better sleep with a stomach ulcer.

Sleeping on your back and in a way that elevates your head may help achieve this as sleeping in this position will take pressure off your stomach and prevent the acid from reaching the sore.

4. Avoid Taking NSAIDs at Night

One of the most significant causes of ulcers is a regular intake of NSAIDs. In fact NSAIDs can increase the risk of peptic ulcers by 4 times.

So, to avoid aggravating the symptoms, it would be better to forfeit taking NSAIDs, especially at night.

However if you must take NSAIDs, you should take a low dose.

5. Don’t Sleep on Your Stomach

Apart from the effects it might have on an ulcer patient, sleeping on your stomach is the most unhealthy position to sleep in. Especially as sleeping on your stomach can cause pain in other parts of the body, such as the neck or back.

For ulcer patients, sleeping on your stomach will mash up your digestive system and organs. It will also worsen any acid reflux and cause stomach acid to easily reach the sores, causing more pain and making it much harder to sleep with a stomach ulcer.

6. Create a Cozy Environment For Sleeping

Creating a cozy environment will further help you sleep better. So 1-2 hours before bed make sure you stay away from harsh light, loud music, mobile phones or TVs, etc.

Instead, light a candle with a subtle and relaxing fragrance (just make sure you blow it out before falling asleep!) or play soft music if you need to. Create an environment that will make sleep come easier.

7. Take Your Prescribed Medication at the Right Time

Once you’ve been diagnosed with PUD, you will most likely be prescribed some medicine to help manage the pain. You will also be given the time frame to use those drugs.

Ensure you stick to your medication regimen, as failure to do so might worsen the condition and make it harder to sleep with a stomach ulcer.

How to Sleep With a Stomach Ulcer: Our Final Thoughts

PUD is a fairly common disease, and with the proper lifestyle and management habits, it can be dealt with and managed. But it’s also a common question to ask: how is it best to sleep with a stomach ulcer?

But if you follow the helpful tips we’ve discussed above, you will find that it is still possible to get a good night’s rest, even with an ulcer sore.