The Best Sleeping Positions for UTI Relief

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Dealing with a urinary tract infection (UTI) is painful and uncomfortable enough during the day. But trying to get a good night’s sleep while battling a UTI can feel nearly impossible. The symptoms have you tossing and turning all night long. Finding the right sleeping position can help minimize nighttime UTI discomfort so you finally get some rest.

If you have ever experienced the frequent and burning urge to urinate that comes with a UTI, you know it makes sleeping a challenge. The nagging urge to pee disrupts your sleep every couple hours if not more frequently. Even when you don’t need to go, the burning pain makes it difficult to get comfortable.

On top of interrupted sleep, discomfort while lying down can exacerbate UTI symptoms. Certain positions can put pressure on the bladder or compress the urethra. This intensifies the constant urge to urinate as well as painful bladder pressure.

But changing up your sleeping position in the right way can help take the edge off those unpleasant UTI nighttime symptoms. Let’s look at the best and worst sleeping positions when trying to rest peacefully with a UTI.

Best Sleep Positions for UTI Relief

1. Sleeping on Your Back

Sleeping flat on your back is usually the most comfortable position when dealing with an uncomfortable UTI. This posture takes pressure off your bladder and abdominal area.

When lying on your back, avoid bending your knees or elevating your legs. Keep your body in a straight, flat position all the way from head to toes. You can use a very thin pillow for head support if needed.

Back sleeping aligns your entire body in a straight line. This prevents your bladder and urethra from becoming compressed or contorted while lying down. Proper alignment lets urine flow out more easily when you need to get up and go during the night.

While back sleeping has its challenges – snoring and sleep apnea being two issues – give it a try for UTI relief. Place a flatter pillow under your knees if this position causes back discomfort.

2. Sleeping on Your Side

If resting flat on your back proves difficult, side sleeping can be another good option. Just be mindful of which side you lie on.

Sleeping on your right side is ideal, as the position of your organs reduces pressure on the bladder. Sleeping too long on your left can worsen bladder irritation and urgency. Your descending colon resides on this side, potentially compressing the bladder on this side.

Draw your knees up slightly toward your chest when sleeping on your side. Bend them just enough to maintain spinal alignment without putting undue strain on your back. Place a pillow between your knees for optimal comfort and support.

A medium-firm mattress will contour to your body in this posture without sagging too much. Use a supportive pillow that keeps your head, neck and spine aligned.

3. Sleeping propped up

Rather than lying completely flat, adjusting your upper body into an incline of 30 to 45 degrees can remove pressure from your pelvic region at night. This angled approach is ideal if you are dealing with intense UTI pain that worsens when lying down.

To prop yourself up, pile some firm pillows behind your back. Or place pillows under your mattress at the head of the bed to create an incline. You can also use a foam wedge pillow designed for upright positioning.

This propped position allows your bladder to drain properly downward with the help of gravity. It prevents your urine from back flowing up the ureters into the kidneys – a dangerous complication of some UTIs. The angle also decreases pressure on the bladder itself.

While not necessarily the ideal posture for prolonged sleep, propping yourself up can provide UTI relief when you need it most. Then try to transition to back or right side sleeping once pain subsides.

Positions to Avoid with a UTI

On the flip side, certain sleep positions can worsen those unpleasant UTI symptoms, so it’s best to avoid:

1. Sleeping on Your Stomach

Sleeping face down on your stomach is one of the worst positions when dealing with a UTI. The prone posture exerts pressure on your pelvic area, squeezing the bladder and urethra. This intensifies your urgency and need to urinate.

Stomach sleeping can also curve the urethra, making it more difficult for urine to fully empty from the bladder. Any urine leftover in the bladder exacerbates irritation and infection.

While relinquishing this long-time favorite sleep position may be tough, your bladder will thank you for it!

2. Sleeping in the fetal position

It may feel natural to curl up in a ball during UTI discomfort, but this fetal position can worsen symptoms. Tucking your knees up tightly to your chest bends and compresses the urethra.

Drawing your legs upward also grounds your tailbone, which then points the urethra upward. This makes emptying the bladder completely challenging. Any retaining urine amplifies the UTI misery.

Try to resist that instinct to curl up and instead focus on straight spine alignment. Place a pillow between your knees when sleeping on your side to prevent bringing legs upward.

3. Elevating your legs

While elevating the head with pillows can help, doing the same with your legs is not ideal. Placing pillows under your knees or lower legs while lying on your back bends the bladder and urethra forward.

This curled position prevents the bladder from fully draining. The backed up urine increases that urgency to go even when minimal urine is present.

It also reduces the flow of urine, straining your urethra muscles, which worsens UTI discomfort. Keep the legs flat to allow optimal drainage.

Tips for More Comfortable UTI Sleep

Beyond picking the prime sleeping postures, a few additional tweaks can enhance comfort and rest:

  • Use a hot water bottle or heating pad – The warmth helps soothe and relax bladder muscles.
  • Avoid drinking before bed – Limit fluid intake 2 hours before bedtime to help prevent those middle of the night bathroom runs.
  • Take UTI medication before bed – This lets it work overnight for reduced daytime urgency.
  • Try over-the-counter UTI numb relief – Products like AZO or Cystex decrease painful burning sensations.
  • Wear loose, breathable clothing – Tight pajamas put extra pressure on an already cranky bladder.
  • Use a lightweight blanket – You’ll likely be throwing off covers thanks to intense UTI night sweats.

Prioritizing sleep is vital when healing from a UTI. Follow your body’s signals on which position gives you the most relief night after night. Switching positions during the night is very normal too.

Keep in mind that while positional tricks can help reduce symptoms, the only cure for a UTI itself is proper medical treatment. See your doctor right away if you have symptoms like:

  • Fever and chills
  • Lower back or abdominal pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Confusion or delirium

Left untreated, a UTI can spread to the kidneys, leading to potential complications and permanent damage. Don’t let the discomfort of a UTI go on for too long before seeking medical advice.

Getting that much-needed restful sleep is crucial when recovering from a UTI. Pay attention to how subtle position tweaks can optimize your comfort. Aligning the spine, taking pressure off the bladder, and allowing downward drainage are key principles. With the right posture, you can finally drift off into some healing sleep.


Finding a comfortable sleeping position is vital yet tricky when dealing with a painful UTI. Lying on the back, right side, or propped up can alleviate pressure and allow drainage. Avoid stomach sleeping, curling up, or elevating legs which strain the bladder. Listen to your body’s signals on optimal alignment and contact your doctor if UTI symptoms persist or worsen. Prioritize rest using these positional tips so your body can fully heal.

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