Can You Fart in Your Sleep?

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Written by Afy Okoye

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Breus

Our Editorial Process

Table of Contents

Farting is a natural body function that happens during both wakefulness and sleep. It’s normal to have gas in your digestive tract and fart in your sleep, especially if you go to bed shortly after eating dinner. 

While having gas is normal, several factors can increase the amount in your digestive system and lead to excessive farting. Certain health conditions, lifestyle choices, and what you eat and drink during the day can contribute to how much gas your body produces. If you’re concerned about nighttime farting, working with a doctor and making simple lifestyle changes may help.

How Common Is Farting During Sleep?

The average person passes gas around 13 to 21 times a day. Most gas gets passed while a person is awake. The digestive system slows down after a person falls asleep, which reduces the amount of gas produced by about half. 

While gas is usually nothing to worry about, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue if it’s accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, vomiting, or unexplained weight loss. Also, if a person’s symptoms have changed over time or are causing them distress, it may be time to talk to a doctor.

What Causes Farting While You Sleep?

Farting during sleep is a normal experience in which the body releases gas that builds up in the large intestine. While people have some control over when they fart during the day, muscles in the anal sphincter relax after falling asleep and gas passess involuntarily.

As the body digests food, bacteria naturally produce gas in the large intestine. While some amount of gas is normal, excessive gas can be caused by swallowing air, eating certain foods, pregnancy and menstruation, and a variety of digestive disorders. 

Swallowing Air

Everyone swallows some amount of air, but swallowing too much air can increase gas. Swallowed air that isn’t relieved from burping builds up and is released through farting. People swallow more air at certain times, including:

  • Smoking
  • Eating too fast or while standing up
  • Drinking through a straw
  • Feeling jittery or anxious
  • Wearing dentures that don’t fit well
  • Chewing gum

Foods That Cause Gas

Certain foods can contribute to gassiness, especially those that contain fiber, sugars, and starches that are broken down in the large intestine. Not everyone is affected by the same foods, but some foods that are known to increase gas include:

  • Dairy
  • Beans
  • Fruits
  • Certain vegetables, including asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, corn, and potatoes
  • Breads and other foods made from whole grains
  • Carbonated beverages, such as sodas and seltzers
  • Artificial sweeteners

Pregnancy and Menstruation

Excessive gas and other intestinal issues may develop during menstruation and pregnancy. During these times, hormone levels can trigger changes to the digestive process that result in more gas.

For example, constipation is common during pregnancy because of higher levels of the hormone progesterone, which can slow down bowel activity. Since constipation can cause gas, this may explain why some people who are pregnant complain of being gassy.

Increased gas is also common in the days leading up to menstruation and during the menstrual cycle. As with pregnancy, fluctuating hormone levels may be to blame.

Digestive Disorders

Some people get gas symptoms from eating or drinking lactose, a sugar commonly found in milk and dairy. This is called lactose intolerance. Several other digestive disorders and health conditions can also cause increased gas. 

  • Constipation: Being constipated, which means having less than three bowel movements in a week, can cause gas. 
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): IBS may cause increased gas. This condition can also cause abdominal pain and fluctuating bouts of diarrhea and constipation.
  • Crohn’s disease: Symptoms of this inflammatory bowel disease vary depending on which part of the digestive tract it affects, but they may include constipation, abdominal pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, and watery or bloody diarrhea. 
  • Celiac disease: People with celiac disease are unable to eat foods that contain gluten. If they do, they may have digestive problems, including gassiness, and their small intestines may become damaged.
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: People with this condition may experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain due to elevated amounts of bacteria in the small intestine.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease: This digestive condition occurs when food and acid from the stomach back up into the esophagus, causing gas, heartburn, and other symptoms.

Tips for Reducing Gas

The bacteria in your large intestine produces gas from the food you eat, so farting is natural, and it’s normal to fart in your sleep. However, if your gas symptoms are uncomfortable or distressing, it may be possible to reduce the amount of gas by talking to your doctor and making changes to your lifestyle. 

  • Change your diet: Eating smaller meals, replacing carbonated beverages with water, and avoiding foods known to produce excess gas may help alleviate your uncomfortable gas symptoms. This may include foods with a lot of fiber, lactose, or sugars. 
  • Reduce air swallowing: You may be ingesting more air when you’re smoking, chewing gum, or talking while you’re eating. You might swallow less air and have less gas if you change these habits.
  • Eat earlier: A large meal in the evening can affect your digestion and cause problems with gas at night. Consistently having dinner earlier can allow enough time for digestion. 
  • Exercise: If your gas is related to constipation, getting more physical exercise and drinking plenty of water may help.
  • Get better sleep: Since sleep and gut issues can go hand in hand, getting adequate sleep on a regular basis may help ease some stomach complaints. 
  • Talk to your doctor: Ask your doctor about supplements or medications that may ease your symptoms. Your doctor’s recommendation will depend on the cause of your excess gas.

About The Author

Afy Okoye

Staff Writer, Sleep Health


Afy is a writer and creative strategist in San Francisco with a master’s degree in international health policy from the London School of Economics. She has written for VeryWell Health, BlackDoctor.org, and Paste magazine and edited peer-reviewed journal manuscripts for Elsevier. Afy says her work with The Sleep Doctor is anything but “sleepy.” She enjoys the opportunity to learn new information and share knowledge that gives people the power to make better choices. Afy also likes to read non-fiction, do creative writing, and travel solo.

  • POSITION: Side Sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Hot Sleeper
  • CHRONOTYPE: Bear

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