It is important to rest after any surgery, but for some surgeries, how you sleep is also important. When women have breast augmentation, they often have concerns about sleeping after surgery. In this post, I will offer advice on how to sleep comfortably and cautiously after your procedure.
Good Sleep After Breast Augmentation Is Vital
Your body has to work hard to heal from surgery, whether you’ve had a breast augmentation, breast lift, or a tummy tuck. This is why you will likely find yourself feeling fatigued in the days following your surgery.
Sleep is essential to a healthy immune system and a speedier recovery, helping with the following:
- Healing: When we sleep, the body is still and can dedicate more blood flow to the injured muscles and tissues, delivering oxygen and nutrients to promote healing.
- Pain relief: Sleep can play a part in our response to pain. According to WebMD, getting more sleep can help reduce the amount of pain you experience.
Ideally, you be trying to get 8 hours of sleep per night, and likely more when your body is healing.
What’s the Best Position for Sleeping After Breast Augmentation?
It is important to sleep on your back with your upper body elevated after breast augmentation surgery. This position minimizes fluid buildup, enhances circulation, and also keeps the breasts in a more natural position as they heal.
Sleeping propped up also helps with mobility. Getting out of bed requires some upper body strength, but using your arms and chest muscles is not advised. Sleeping upright ensures that you don’t need to reach, press, or pull with your arms to get out of bed.
Often patients sleep in recliners or use special pillows to ensure that they stay in the right position.
Can I Sleep Flat on My Back?
After several days, when swelling and bruising have gone down, you can usually sleep flat on your back if you feel comfortable doing so.
When Can I Sleep on My Side After Breast Augmentation?
In the first couple of weeks after surgery, it’s important that you don’t sleep on your side or roll onto your side in your sleep because it could put pressure on the implant or your incisions. This unnecessary pressure may affect your results. Patients can typically return to side sleeping (while wearing a supportive bra) within 2 weeks. Sleeping on your stomach is an absolute no-no until you get the green light from your surgeon.
How Can I Get Used To Sleeping on My Back?
If you don’t normally sleep on your back, it may seem difficult to make the change. Here are a few tips to help you train yourself to sleep on your back before your actual surgery date:
- Use positioning pillows. Extra pillows in the bed can help you keep your body positioned correctly. Many people successfully sleep on their backs by placing a pillow under each arm.
- Keep a pillow under your knees to help maintain proper alignment of your back. This can also help people who experience lower back discomfort.
- Don’t quit. Always roll to your back when you catch yourself on your side or stomach.
- Use a special pillow that will hold your head in place. This will prevent your head from rolling to one side and give you good support.
How Long Will I Have To Sleep on My Back?
Once you are fully healed, you may return to whatever sleeping position you like. However, continuing to sleep on your back has some benefits. This position can prevent neck and back pain because it keeps your head, neck, and spine in a neutral position. There is also some evidence that sleeping on your back is better for preventing the formation of lines and wrinkles.
Tips for Sleeping Comfortably During Recovery
- Wear a supportive bra when you sleep. This will help hold your breasts in place, ease tension on your incisions, reduce swelling, and enhance your recovery overall.
- Take a warm shower (not a bath) in the evening. This is a proven technique for relaxation and getting to sleep faster.
- Walk around regularly throughout the day. Movement helps circulation and reduces the risk of developing blood clots. It also helps keep you from getting stiff and achy from too much immobility.
- Avoid known sleep disruptors like caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and electronic screens.
If you want to learn more about how to make your recovery as comfortable and quick as possible, check out our previous blog post that answers common questions regarding self-care after breast augmentation.
This post was originally published in February 2018 and updated in June 2023.