Getting a good night’s sleep is important for everyone, particularly if you have IBS.

Lack of sleep always makes everything, including your IBS, worse. But many people with IBS often tell us that their sleep has been disturbed and they do not feel rested when they wake up in the morning.

Sleep deprivation changes both mood and physiology. Not getting a good night’s sleep can cause irritability, overeating, infections, lack of concentration, difficulty remembering things, pain in various parts of the body and sensitive and erratic bowels.

If you are struggling to sleep, having a regular bedtime routine will help you wind down.

Keep regular sleeping hours

This helps your body clock to get used to a set routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Although it may seem like a good idea to catch up on sleep after a sleepless night, doing this on a regular basis can disrupt your sleep pattern and routine.

Take time to wind down before bed

It is important to take the time to relax and wind down before going to bed. There are lots of ways to do this, so find what works for you. This could include having a bath, reading a book or listening to music, doing some light yoga stretches, or listening to relaxation audio.

Avoid using mobile phones and electronic devices

The blue light from the screen of electronic devices stimulates the part of the brain that makes us feel alert. Try to avoid using your mobile phone or any other electronic device for at least an hour before you go to bed.

Keep a sleep journal

We always recommend that people with IBS keep a food and mood diary to record what they are eating and how they are feeling. Keeping a diary is also a great way to keep track of your sleep patterns and the affect sleep is having on your IBS. Looking out for any patterns will be helpful, but don’t be obsessive about it; everyone has the odd disturbed night.

You should contact your GP if you have insomnia that lasts longer than four weeks.

More information on sleep is available on the NHS website here.

The Complete Guide to Insomnia – and How You Can Manage is available here on the How to Sleep website.