Getting enough quality sleep is essential for healing after any type of surgery, and this is especially true after undergoing a plastic surgery procedure. However, sleeping comfortably can be challenging in the days and weeks following plastic surgery, as things like pain, discomfort, and changes in position can disrupt normal sleep. Whether you opt for a tummy tuck, face or breast surgery, here are some helpful tips for a good night’s rest.
Choose the Right Sleeping Position
Depending on the type of procedure, plastic surgeons typically advise sleeping in an inclined position during your initial night post-operation. Stacking pillows to prop up your upper body at a 30-45 degree angle takes the pressure off surgical sites while minimising swelling and discomfort and also allows for better breathing. If you have had surgery on your breasts or abdomen, sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees can also provide relief. Side sleeping may also be possible with some additional support between the legs.
Invest in Quality Pillows
Pillows designed for recovery after surgery, like knee or body pillows, allow you to maintain alignment in the recommended sleeping positions. Wedge-shaped pillows are ideal for keeping you elevated at the right angle. Contoured body pillows offer cushioning support for hip and shoulder alignment. These pillows limit twisting or turning during sleep, so you stay in one comfortable, supported position through the night.
Wear Comfortable, Loose Pyjamas
What you wear to bed plays a significant role in the quality of sleep after surgery. Tight clothing can irritate incisions and cause scars. Instead, choose breathable, oversized button-down pyjamas that don’t rub directly on healing skin. Natural fibres like cotton that won’t cling to ointments or bandages aid in comfort and moisture-wicking. Make sure whatever you wear to bed is easy to get on and off without too much arm extension or pulling.
Set Up Your Room for Restful Recovery
Keep your bedroom as tranquil and cosy as possible during the initial recovery period. Maintain a comfortable room temperature that is neither too cold nor too warm. Consider using a humidifier if the air seems excessively dry. Treat yourself to a high-quality mattress and bedding to maximise relaxation. To minimise light disruption, install blackout curtains or try wearing an eye mask. Keep necessities like remotes, chargers, medications, and water close by your bedside for easy access without straining.
Don’t Suffer Pain in Silence
Some level of pain or discomfort is expected after surgery and can make it difficult to get quality rest. Your surgeon may recommend over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, which are typically effective and low-risk options for managing minor to moderate post-surgical pain. If discomfort is more severe initially, they may provide a brief prescription for stronger medications.
Get Up and Move During the Day
While rest is fundamental to recovering from surgery, too much time in bed or remaining sedentary can lead to stiff joints, muscle weakness, and increased pain. Light walking and other gentle movement during waking hours improves circulation, relieves discomfort, and promotes healthy sleep patterns. Just be sure to get clearance from your plastic surgeon before doing any substantial physical activity in the early healing period after surgery.
Ask for Help When Needed
In the first few days, tasks can feel like monumental physical challenges after plastic surgery. Recovering patients often struggle to lift items, reach for things, sit down or stand up, dress themselves, and complete personal care efficiently. Don’t hesitate to enlist a family member or friend to assist with these activities or run errands like grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions. The less you physically push your body, the better you heal it.
Be Patient With the Healing Process
Every patient’s plastic surgery recovery is unique, so try not to get frustrated if you can’t sleep normally right away. Allow your body plenty of time and rest to recover based on your surgeon’s specific post-operative guidelines. Stay ahead of pain by taking medications on schedule, keep up gentle movement, and don’t ignore any unusual symptoms. Follow all your plastic surgeon’s instructions carefully during recovery for the best possible healing and results from your procedure.
Getting back to a restful sleep routine is important, whether you are undergoing a tummy tuck or breast surgery. Being prepared and proactive by using these sleeping tips can help patients maximise comfort and improve symptoms during the post-surgery period. Prioritising quality rest accelerates the body’s natural ability to heal.