It is important to rest after any surgery, but for some surgeries, how you sleep is also important. When women have breast augmentation at my practice serving Chandler, Gilbert, and Scottsdale, AZ, 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.
Sleep is very important after breast augmentation.
Sleep is essential to a healthy immune system and a speedier recovery. Your body has to work hard to heal from surgery, which is why you will likely find yourself feeling fatigued in the days following your breast augmentation. However, 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.
Additionally, sleep can play a part in our response to pain. According to this WebMD article, getting more sleep can help reduce the amount of pain you experience. Ideally, you should be trying to get 8 hours per night, and likely more when your body is healing.
How you sleep matters, too.
It is important to sleep on your back for a while after breast augmentation surgery. To reduce swelling, your upper body should be elevated, especially while you sleep. This helps minimize fluid buildup, enhances circulation, and also keeps the breasts in a more natural position as they heal.
Another reason to sleep with your body elevated is that it can help with mobility. Getting out of bed requires some upper body strength. During recovery, using your arm and chest muscles is not advised, and sleeping upright can ensure that you don’t need to reach 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.
After several days, when swelling and bruising have gone down, you can usually sleep flat on your back if you feel comfortable doing so. However, it’s important that you don’t sleep on your side or roll onto your side in your sleep. This could put pressure on the implant or your incisions as you heal, which may affect your results. My 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.
Side and tummy sleepers should prepare early.
If you don’t normally sleep on your back, it may seem difficult to make the change. To prepare for surgery, it is a good idea to start training 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 back 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.
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.
A few more tips for sleeping comfortably after 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. This helps with 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.
To start your breast augmentation journey near Chandler, Gilbert, or Scottsdale, AZ, please contact us online or call (480) 466-7355 (Gilbert) or (480) 423-1973 (Paradise Valley) to request a consultation.