12 ways to sleep with an insulin pump

Feet sticking out of bed

When I first got my insulin pump and got into bed, I asked myself, “If I have to wear this to sleep, where am I supposed to put it?” I quickly found there are many answers to that simple question. Like me, many people are initially unsure of how they will sleep with an insulin pump, but this challenge is not as difficult to overcome as it may first appear. We asked the diabetes online community to tell us what they do and here are the top 12 ways to sleep with an insulin pump.

1. The PJ Clip

  “Clipped to my pajama waist band. I specifically seek out thicker bands so the clip doesn't make holes through the material over time.” - Kristin Mudd

2. The Undies

  “I just clip my pump onto my undergarment and tuck the tubing inside the undergarment.  This allows me to buy whatever type of sleep wear that I enjoy.  My pump is safe and secure and out of the way.  After all we all want a goodnight's sleep.” -  Kitty Castellini

3. The Body Pillow

  “I sleep with a body pillow on my side and I put my pump under the pillow. I switch sides a couple times through the night, but have somehow learned to move my pillow and pump with me in my sleep.” - Whitney Mielke

4. The Blanky Buddy

  “In a pouch made from the same material as my sons favorite blankey! Made by his grandma for him!” - Christina Byerly

5. The Classic Pocket-T

  “I have a t-shirt with a left breast pocket that I turn inside out and put my pump in that pocket during the night.” - Lee Bring

6. The Bra Clip

  “Clipped to the strap on the middle of my bra. Pretty much wear it that way all day.” - Michelle Wilson

7. The Skilled Sewer

  “I had pockets sewn into my night gowns. I put it in the pocket secure the pocket with a safety pen. Works really well!” - Pamela Swearingen Primrose

8. The Workout Shorts

  “Workout shorts with a key pocket. Pump fits perfectly there. In the winter, workout leggings with a key pocket. Those with a t-shirt have become my favorite PJ’s with the pump.” - Meri Winchester

9. The Back Sleeper

  “When I was playing with the Tampa Rays baseball team in 1998 I had a stress fracture in my back and I was told to always sleep on my back and so it grew to become natural to me to always sleep on my back so I put my insulin pump on the side of my pants when I sleep and it never gets in the way.” – Jason Johnson

10. The V-Neck Nighty

  “I always buy nightgowns with button down or V-neck collars so I can clip my pump to the front of my nightgown. I use the pump clip not the holster so it weighs less. It's also close enough to hear any alarms or adjust a temp basal rate if needed in the middle of the night.” - Peggy Sue Small

11. The Velcro Strap

  “I slide it into a pocket attached to a Velcro strap I purchased from Medtronic. It straps around my chest and the pump is safely tucked away, but due to the clear window, I can see my numbers if I need to see them.” - Andy Inskeep

12. The Monkey

  “I made a little pouch on a soft-cloth belt with a flap over the pouch in the shape of a monkey for my son, so he would answer this question by saying, "Monkey holds it." If not Monkey, then Froggy, or Zeebie [zebra], or Stripey [striped, but no animal]. He's asked for a lion next...” - Elizabeth Platt Hamblin   


Not every one of these will work for you. And not everyone has someone to make them a monkey (though wouldn’t it be great if we did). But hopefully something here will help you get some much-needed zzz’s.


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Submitted by Louise Robinson (not verified) on

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Like Pamela in #7 above, I've also sewn pockets into the insides of my nightwear. I make them out of stretchy knit material and they "hug" the pump securely without need for any additional pin to secure them. I toss and turn a lot during the night but this keeps my pump safe and secure.

i went to a store that sells work clothes and bought a surgical scrub outfit top. It is lightweight and has a pocket in the top left. Works great.

Submitted by Dawn (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I bought toddler socks and diaper pins and pin it to the inside of my nightgowns.

I thought I was the only one wearing socks on my nightie! It works well but drags down the neck of my nightgown sometimes and can be, ahem, risque!

Submitted by Stefanie Simonis (not verified) on

In reply to by Dawn (not verified)

This works for me,too. I wear my pump in a baby sock in my bra during the day. I secure it there with a safety pin. I am a nurse and am constantly bending over and this keeps my pump from popping out of my pocket during busy times at work.

Submitted by Bobbie (not verified) on

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My daughter puts her pump in a snap cell phone case

Submitted by Tracy (not verified) on

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The pillow....Clipping it to me at night sounds aweful (I know just to me) But the first night with the pump when I got out of bed...it move and I thought oh no a mouse...so I held real still and decided to hit the mouse off my bed as hard as I could. When it hit the end ofthe tubing and started swiging I laughed until I cried.

Submitted by Marsha Arnold (not verified) on

In reply to by Tracy (not verified)

Sounds like something I would do! Thanks for the laugh! I'm new here so I was wondering how I was going to sleep with this. I toss and turn a lot and flip from over from my stomach to my back. I have visions of smacking my husband on his head with my meter.

Submitted by Valerie (not verified) on

In reply to by Tracy (not verified)

I always get the long tubing and just tuck it under my pillow and I am able to move back and forth without it moving but I have gotten up and forget about it (25 year user) and it just hangs there

Submitted by Gail Mackie (not verified) on

In reply to by Tracy (not verified)

OMG....this my first night with a pump. Each time I read your story I LMAO. That's hilarious. You made my day. Thank You!

So much truth here! I've tried many of these but mostly just let the pump do its own thing, by itself in the bed. Thanks for the tips!

You are right just let it be in the bed with you so it will be free to move when your body moves around

Heck yeah. Lol ill wake up and its all tangled with my phone charger wire or ear phones. Lol

I do the same with my pump at night.....just put it on my bed if I don’t have a pajama pocket. I was diagnosed with type one in 1954, so I’ve had a lot of practice in dealing with my pump, tubing etc.
Carol Ann Narozniak
Paducah Kentucky

Wow Carol Ann. You've been on the pump for that long! thats the year I was born. I was diagnosed in 1980 with type 1 so I see U have had a long time dealing with the pump! I've been on the pump for 11 years, Susan Wesley

Submitted by Whitney (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I wear a cami-top with a shelf-bra inside of it, day and night. I usually just stick the pump right down between my breasts, and it sits on the "shelf" in the cami top, with the tubing out the top. I do this during the day around the house as well.

Submitted by Diane (not verified) on

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i just lay it next to me. Tried so many of these options-none worked for me.

Submitted by Dale (not verified) on

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None of these are helpful if you only sleep au naturel . Can't stand being strangled by clothes under sheets and blankets. When I get up a robe pocket works just fine.

Submitted by Esther Daum (not verified) on

In reply to by Dale (not verified)

I do this as well.

Submitted by MyKayla (not verified) on

In reply to by Dale (not verified)

That's my concern too. I just got my pump so I'm not using it yet, but have been wondering how to sleep with it. I haven't wanted to ask my doctor or the people at Medtronic for fear of it being awkward. "I don't know, wear clothes to bed?" No thank you lol. Was starting to get worried I'm the only person with this dilemma.

I sleep naked- so this has been an issue for me also! If I leave pump next to me or near pillow - it tangles or beeps and wakes me up. I purchased several items- some worked better than others- the 2 best are - a slim XXXX running pouch that has a zip pocket with a clip on the side and a lightweight cloth travel money belt. Tried running belts or fanny packs with bulky clips in the back - those bother me cuz I sleep on my back and my side.

Submitted by Myra shoub (not verified) on

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I have tried all the above in the 30 years I have been a pumper. My favorite by far has been llbean flannel cargo pants. Plenty of choices of places for pumpy. I use the other cargo pocket for my CGM.

Submitted by Gregory Lollar (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

With it on the dresser and batteries removed. Not needing insulinvia doing what you can to fight Diabetes Type 2.

In ALL my pants , shorts or long pants I cut a small hole in the TOP of the left front pocket just large enough to fit my reservoir through and that is where I keep my pump 24 hours a day.

I just let it roam freely on the bed next to me (or on top of me, or under me, or wherever it may end up). I'm not going anywhere, so it doesn't need to be clipped. I find the clip to be uncomfortable if it's pressing against my skin anyway.

Submitted by Chelsea (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

Had mine for 6 years now and I just put it inside my sports bra or built in bra cami. I had a friend growing up that put hers in a sock and laid it next to her. I have the quickest with the longer tubing so if it does fall out I get tangled up in it before it will ever fall out. I've learned to always shop for pants with pockets and cami's with a shelf bra or "roomy" sports bras.

Submitted by Scott E Gius (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

Wow, doesn't look like many people sleep au natural. We do, i wear my pump on elastic or leather belts my wife makes for this purpose, using the belt clip or a small cell phone holder with clip. No pajamas or undies for us...

I do sleep in my birthday suit. Have been using long tubing since I started pumping 15 years ago. I just put the under the pillow on the side where of the site is. Have yet to have a problem.

Submitted by Duane J. (not verified) on

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I sleep au natural. I have an elastic strap that I wear around my knee area that I clip the pump to. Tubing doesn't get tangled up in anything.

Submitted by BOB (not verified) on

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I sleep naked and just lay it in the bed next to me. 6 years and no problem.

I made a pocket for my pump that closes with velcro and put a couple of bands on the back. I slide this on a piece of soft elastic that I put around my waist with snaps on it to fasten the "belt". Slides along comfortably in bed. I always sew "pump pockets" inside the waistband of skirts or pants without pockets to hold that baby.

When I leave it next to me it gives me "weak signal and lost sensor" error messages. I have found unless I keep within about 8 inches of the sensor it will not maintain communication. Does anyone know the parameters of how far the signal will transmit beyween the sensor and the pump?

Hi Dale. I’m sorry to hear you’re having issues with your sensor signal while sleeping. Your pump should be less than 6 feet away from your sensor transmitter. If you receive this message, try moving your pump closer to your transmitter or to another position. Let me know if you’d like to connect with someone to discuss further, and I’ll have someone from my team reach out to you.

Submitted by Dale Kauffman (not verified) on

In reply to by naomi.kingery@…

Its 6 feer is the limit in my pump/sensor is defective in the signal transmit/receiver function. My Safe-T assembly is 18 inches and I have to keep the pump and my sensor on the same side of my body or it loses signal. Either the sensor or the pump is not working properly. I have to keep the pump and my sensor on the same side of my body or it loses signal. Do I have to return it to the manufacturer to get it fixed?

Submitted by naomi.kingery@… on

In reply to by Dale Kauffman (not verified)

Hi Dale. I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your sensor connection. I will have a member of my team reach out to you to try and help. In the meantime, you may find this helpful: http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/lost-sensor-alert.

Submitted by Marcelino (not verified) on

In reply to by naomi.kingery@…

Hello, I am still getting used to wearing the sensor and have this same issue. In the first 60 days I have had this error wake me up at least once a week. I sleep with the pump in my gym short pocket so know that it is less than 6 feet away. Thanks for any assistance!

Submitted by naomi.kingery@… on

In reply to by Marcelino (not verified)

Hi Marcelino, I’m sorry to hear you’re having issues wearing the sensor while sleeping. I’ll have a member of my team reach out to you to try and help.

Submitted by Michael (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I have a pair of pajama shorts, and I cut a small hole on the inside pocket pouch, I feed the tubing into the pocket and out the hole I have cut, then attach it to the site. I pull the excess tubing inside of my pajama shorts and the pump into my pocket.

Submitted by Anita (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I have to use the heavy holster as my bodies magnetism short circuits my pump yearly if not. Thanks for the tips. Any tips on dealing with magnetism and an insulin pump?

Anita, I’m glad you found these tips for sleeping with an insulin pump helpful! We recommend not using pump cases that have a magnetic component, as exposure to magnetic fields may interfere with the motor inside the pump.

Submitted by Mary McKenna (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I put my pump in a sock and put it under my pillow

Submitted by Dawn (not verified) on

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I just buy pj's with pockets in the shorts or pants and put my pump in a pocket.

I couldn't agree more with you, some great stuff here.

Submitted by Heidi (not verified) on

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I used to just leave it next to me or in a pj pocket (without securing it somehow) but after I got married it would wind up under my husband on my left side in the night. After reaching with my beringed left hand under him and waking a grouchy bear of a husband a couple times I moved to always putting it under my temperpedic pillow on my right side. As I'm only 5' and I have 42" tubing this leaves me with plenty of room to roll around and keep my pump from migrating under my spouse where it gets stuck, tugs on me and winds up waking us both.

Submitted by Kronae (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

Okay everyone has an idea for sleeping with the pump. What do you do with it when you have a sexual partner happens by. Where do you put it then?
I have had it ripped out, broken off and every sort of thing happen to it. I am
certain I am not the only one with this problem. Do you have to take the whole thing out including the set to keep it together. The activity does not lend its self to an attached pump.

Submitted by naomi.kingery@… on

In reply to by Kronae (not verified)

That’s an interesting question, Kronae. If you’re concerned with your pump being in the way during intimacy, you can simply detach your pump from your infusion set at the site disconnect. Or if you and your partner are comfortable with your pump around, just keep your tubing and insulin pump connected. Be sure to talk with your healthcare team if you’re going to be disconnected from your pump longer than an hour.

Yes Kronae I have learned that the pump is now a part of me and along with Naomi's excellent advice I just want to add that it becomes kinda lije anything else in the world of intimacy between two adults I always let the person know where my site is and too 'be careful of that area' as things become steamier and that always works. Most of the time I disconnect it at the site and then cap the site to smooth it over for hmm...ensuing skin to skin contact. If I can't be without the insulin for that long I'll stop for "blood sugar breaks' or protein breaks from time to time and connect and pump the needed unit or two at that time to stay within optimum range. Most importantly if you've found a partner you're comfortable enough to be intimate with then they'll have to get to know the whole you and should learn to be comfortable to love you "And your Infusion Site" and you two should be able to come up with ways to romantically connect while not jeopardizing your medical areas. Does this help? And yes, there are times when a site can become dislodged, my partner and I have done this, fortunately just ended up with us laughing our butts off.

Submitted by Elsie Seeberg (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

2 days after getting my pump 12 years ago, my husband suggested I buy a travel waist pouch for my pump at night. I still use that same pouch every night.

Submitted by Mary McKenna (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I place it in a sock and put under my pillow:)

Submitted by William Lytle (not verified) on

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I clip it to the waist band of my PJ's, just not on my hip, but closer to my belly button and that way I can toss and turn all night and it doesn't bother me and I can feel it vibrate if an alarm goes off.

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