After breast augmentation surgery, it can be difficult to find a good sleeping position. Patients will be concerned with angling themselves for optimal comfort, but they’ll also be aware that they need to be careful with their new breasts. After all, proper healing is critical if you want great results.
In this article, we’ll outline the proper sleeping positions for patients after undergoing breast augmentation surgery — including Dr. Aghayan’s own tips for optimizing both healing and comfort.
What Is the Proper Sleeping Position After Breast Augmentation?
For most Portland breast augmentation patients, Dr. Aghayan will ask that you sleep on your back — at least for the first one to two months. You should also elevate your upper body while sleeping. Aim for a sleeping incline of around 30 to 45 degrees. This will facilitate a natural position for your breasts. It will also help to minimize swelling during the post-operative period.
Use a Wedge Pillow
Many patients find that using a wedge pillow in bed is the easiest way to elevate themselves. While you can certainly pile your regular bed pillows up to create an incline for your upper body, this situation tends to be more precarious than helpful.
Regular bed pillows that are made of down feathers or down alternative tend to be very squishy. This means that you will sink down into them even if you set up what looks like a decent incline.
Wedge pillows (which you can purchase online or at some mattress stores) are firmer. Furthermore, because it is just one pillow and not five pillows stacked on top of one another, your wedge pillow will be easier to arrange for yourself before sleep. You’ll be sore and tired after surgery, so straightening and re-straightening your pillows will not be something you’ll want to do.
If you want to add pillows at the top or bottom of the wedge, that’s up to you, but your wedge pillow alone will give you a good foundation for creating a clear incline during sleep. Even if you roll to one side or another, your wedge should support you.
Prevent Rolling During Sleep
It’s important that you don’t roll to your side after breast augmentation surgery. Side sleeping will be fine after you’ve made a full recovery, but directly after your procedure, you’ll want to avoid this position. Some patients will put pillows on either side of them while sleeping for this reason — usually underneath each arm.
If you are someone who tends to roll and move around a lot during sleep, placing one pillow beneath each arm can help to prevent this. Likewise, if you sleep with a partner, ask them to be aware of your sleep position as well. If you roll to one side during sleep, they may be able to gently wake you up and help you transition onto your back again.
Practice Your New Sleeping Position Before Surgery
For many patients, back sleeping is uncomfortable. This is usually true when it’s not what you’re used to. Most people tend to be side sleepers or stomach sleepers or both.
Still, getting quality sleep after your surgery is important. So, if you’re not used to sleeping on your back, it’s a good idea to get used to it before your scheduled surgery. Practice makes perfect.
At home, give back sleeping on an incline a try, and take notice of any additional pillows or sleeping tools that might help make the position more comfortable for you. Some people like to place an additional pillow underneath their knees, for example. Or, you might even consider sleeping in a recliner if sleeping on your back in bed is too uncomfortable.
Practicing a bit before your scheduled surgery date can help you get used to the position and will make the transition to back sleeping less bothersome — especially if you are used to sleeping on your stomach or side.
How Long to Sleep Elevated After Breast Augmentation
Patients often want to know how long to sleep elevated after breast augmentation.
Essentially, you’ll need to sleep in an elevated position after breast augmentation surgery for at least one to two months (around six weeks for the majority of patients). The reason is that this position helps to reduce swelling, largely by taking the pressure off the incision areas and the implants themselves.
In some cases, Dr. Aghayan will ask that you sleep in this position for longer. Speak with him about the specifics of your unique situation.
When Can I Sleep on My Side After Breast Augmentation?
After sleeping in an elevated position on your back for at least four to six weeks, you can usually transition to just sleeping on your back, flat on your bed, for a few weeks. Sleeping like this can also become tiresome, however, so patients ultimately want to know, “When can I sleep on my side after breast augmentation?”
Ultimately, side sleeping can usually resume six to eight weeks (around two months) after your surgery. Again, always discuss your unique situation with Dr. Aghayan as sleeping recommendations will vary from patient to patient.
When Can I Sleep Without a Bra After Breast Augmentation?
Initially, for the first few days and weeks after your surgery, you’ll need to wear a compression garment. This will be the garment you went home with after surgery.
Some patients simply refer to this garment as a bra, and it is very similar even though it has a specific medical purpose as well. That is, wearing a compression garment around the surgical area can help reduce swelling and will ensure the reshaping techniques Dr. Aghayan performed stay well-intact.
Your compression garment/bra should be worn 24/7 after surgery. It should only be taken off when bathing. Plan on wearing your bra for at least two to four weeks after your procedure.
After several weeks, and with Dr. Aghayan’s go-ahead, you can begin to limit the amount of time you wear your compression garment to the daytime only. This means you’ll be able to stop wearing your bra at night if you prefer. On the other hand, some patients like wearing their compression garments/bras at night.
Dr. Aghayan’s Top Sleep Tips After Breast Augmentation
Sleeping is one of the top concerns for breast augmentation patients. Here are a few more tips from Dr. Aghayan to help you sleep better after surgery.
Aim for at least eight hours of sleep every night.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep every night is critical for optimal breast augmentation recovery. Long hours of restful sleep will have a restorative effect on your whole body. It gives your muscle, tissue, and bone time to grow and repair itself — especially after a disruptive event such as surgery.
Don’t forget to wear your compression garments.
Wearing your compression garments during breast augmentation recovery is critical. Dr. Aghayan will provide you with the compression garments he wants you to wear directly after your surgery. He’ll also tell you how often to wear them. Follow his directions closely.
Compression garments help to minimize swelling and bruising and will also reduce the tension you feel around the incision sites on your breasts. Patients who wear their compression garments reliably and as directed consistently achieve optimal results after breast augmentation surgery.
If you want to know when you can start to sleep without a bra after breast augmentation, check with Dr. Aghayan. Every patient is different, and only your surgeon will know when sleeping without a bra is okay.
Wind down before bed.
This tip can be useful for anyone at any time, but it’s particularly important for patients recovering from surgery.
It’s important to wind down before bed because it prepares your mind and body for sleep. Turn off all screens, dim the lights, and get into your pajamas. Doing all of these things and other “sleeping rituals” will set your mind and body up for a restful period of sleep. Watching screens right up until bedtime and continually absorbing social media and other content doesn’t allow your mind to shut down properly.
Sleeping is already a challenge after any type of surgery. After breast augmentation surgery, it can be especially difficult because of the unique sleeping position that must be adopted (on your back and at an incline).
This is why winding down is so important.
The good news is that many smart phones these days have unique applications that will help you schedule your sleep time better. Some of them will automatically turn your phone to “do not disturb” or will shut down your phone entirely in anticipation of sleep.
Make your sleeping space as comfortable as possible.
Whether you plan on sleeping in your bedroom or on the couch in the living room after your surgery, make wherever you sleep as comfortable and cozy as possible.
First, be sure you have dark curtains on your windows to block out the light, especially if you plan on sleeping during the day or going to bed in the early evening when the sun may still be shining through the windows. Blackout curtains can do a great deal to facilitate good sleep.
Next, make your sleeping space as cozy and luxurious as possible. Invest in comfortable sheets, blankets, and pillows to make the experience of sleep more enjoyable. Play some soft and relaxing mood music as you prepare for bed. Get some comfy pajamas that you feel good in.
Doing all of these things will help make sleep more of a relaxing and enjoyable experience — as it always should be.
FAQ: Sleeping After Breast Augmentation
Here are some of the most common questions we receive regarding sleep after breast implants.
Why is sleep important during breast augmentation recovery?
While you are sleeping, your brain and body are active doing important things. If you are sick or recovering from a physical injury or surgery, your body is actively trying to heal what needs healing. Sleep is a period of rejuvenation and repair. The rest of your systems are “shut down” for the night, and this gives these other processes (healing and restoration) a chance to work.
Why can’t I sleep on my stomach after breast augmentation?
There are several reasons why we want you to avoid sleeping on your stomach after breast augmentation surgery. Most notably, your breasts are on the front of your body, so if you sleep on your stomach, you’re going to have more pain and discomfort there.
Likewise, sleeping directly on your breasts can actually minimize your results.
During this tenuous time after your surgery, your new breasts are settling into their permanent positions. The skin around your incisions is also healing, and the breast tissue is settling. With this in mind, you don’t want to apply harsh pressure to one isolated area on your breasts as this could inevitably cause your results to be lacking.
Alternatively, lying on your back ensures that no direct pressure is applied to your breasts. This will always be the best position for sleeping after breast augmentation surgery.
Should I wear a bra to bed after breast augmentation?
Yes. Technically, we call it a compression garment, but it operates much like a soft wire-free bra. At first, you’ll wear this bra/garment 24/7. Only take it off when you shower or take a bath (check with your surgeon to know when you can start taking baths).
After several weeks, you should be able to stop wearing your wire-free compression bra and switch to a bra that you like more. You’ll still want to wear this during the day and at night when recommended by your surgeon.
Some patients — especially those who’ve had significant reshaping — should wear their bra at night for a longer period of time. Other patients who have larger implants actually like wearing a bra at night all the time — even several years after surgery. This is typically because it provides more support and comfort while sleeping.
Interested in Breast Augmentation Surgery? Contact Dr. Aghayan’s Office Today
Whether you’re interested in breast augmentation because of asymmetry or a lack of volume after breastfeeding or you’ve always wanted a bigger, fuller chest, it’s important to choose a trusted surgeon who has both experience and expertise.
Dr. Aghayan has extensive training and experience performing breast augmentation surgery in the Portland area. Just take a look at his breast augmentation before and after photos to get an idea of the results he can achieve.
When you’re ready, contact our office to learn more about this procedure and schedule your first consultation with Dr. Aghayan.