What is the Best Way to Sleep After a Tummy Tuck?


Sometimes, patients ask us the best way to sleep after a tummy tuck. The best way to sleep is in a position that is comfortable while promoting healing and rest. We hope this article helps you plan for a smooth recovery.

 This article isn’t a substitute for personalized medical advice. Ask your plastic surgeon if you have specific questions. We hope it helps you have more productive conversations with your plastic surgeon and allied medical providers.

The Best Way to Sleep After Tummy Tuck

During your tummy tuck recovery, lying down flat causes strain on your abdominal area. It can stretch and put stress on the newly sutured skin. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can get in the way of wound healing or even damage the stitches.

As much as possible, avoid crossing your arms or legs while sleeping. We don’t want you to be so worried about rules that you can’t sleep.  However, try to arrange yourself in a position where crossing your arms and legs is less likely.

The best way to sleep after a tummy tuck is on your back with a couple of key modifications. Prop your upper body up with pillows so it is raised slightly higher than your lower body. This position helps alleviate any potential pressure on your surgical incision, reducing the chances of complications after the operation.

If you are worried about rolling over, you can use rolled towels or pillows to fill the pace and discourage you from rolling over in your sleep. This is unlikely anyway if you are in a recliner or propped up with pillows.

Your plastic surgeon will give you advice about how long you need to sleep like this. Usually, this is temporary, just for the first three to six weeks after your operation. As you heal and recover, you can return to how you usually prefer to sleep.

If you have a recliner chair or hospital-style bed, you can position it to elevate your upper body at a comfortable angle. You can also buy special pillows that guide your body into this position if you don’t have a recliner and prefer not to use multiple standard pillows to prop yourself up. 

This can be a big adjustment if you normally sleep on your side or stomach. Try getting used to sleeping on your back during the weeks leading up to your scheduled operation. The earlier you start, the better since sleep plays such an essential role in healing.

Ask your doctor about the best technique for getting into and out of bed. Sleep position isn’t the only concern as you find ways to protect your midriff while you heal. Your surgeon may suggest that you roll onto your side, maintaining a bend at the hips. Next, use your hands to help guide yourself into a seated position. Finally, rock forward and stand. Staying in a slightly bent position helps protect your incision as it heals.

If you haven’t had your surgery yet, consider doing exercises to strengthen your arms, legs, back, and core muscles to make this easier.

Other Ways to Enhance Your Healing Sleep While Recovering

Wear compression garments while you sleep, especially garments that support your belly area. Your plastic surgeon will most likely offer guidance about compression garments and their role during your recovery. While it may sound strange, some find that waist binders actually feel more comfortable since the compression can be soothing to vulnerable and tender areas after surgery.

Look for one with the right height and angle, making it easy for you to reach for a glass of water, your light, your phone, and other items while relaxing in bed. Since you won’t want to twist and contort, position it so you can easily reach it. Some people find trays used for breakfast in bed can also be very useful.

Some people find an evening ritual makes sleeping easier, even when recovering from an operation. One person may prefer reading before bed, another may drink unsweetened herbal tea, and another may like breathing and relaxation exercises. Try to limit screen time for a couple of hours before bedtime since the blue light can upset your circadian rhythm. Even if you usually sleep well, the stress of surgery might disrupt your usual rhythm.

No doubt your surgeon will talk with you about which pain medication you should use at home while you recover. Most likely, pain medication will make it easier for you to sleep the first few days after your operation.

The Importance of Sleep for Recovery After Surgery

Sleep plays a crucial role in recovery after a tummy tuck or any other type of plastic surgery. When you sleep, your body goes into repair mode, healing wounds, regenerating tissues, and building new cells. This is particularly important after tummy tuck surgery, as your body needs to heal the surgical incision and adapt to the changes.

Moreover, quality sleep can help manage postoperative pain and reduce inflammation. It also supports a healthy immune system, which is essential for preventing infections and complications after surgery. In addition, getting enough sleep can improve your mood and energy levels, making the recovery process more manageable.

So, ensuring you get plenty of restful sleep after your tummy tuck can significantly contribute to a smoother and quicker recovery. It’s not just about the quantity of sleep but also the quality, so make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable and conducive to deep, restorative sleep.

If you are considering getting a tummy tuck, the first step is to book a consultation with a skilled plastic surgeon. During your consultation you can know more about the different types of tummy tucks we offer. The team at Charlotte Plastic Surgery provides top-notch care and aftercare for people who live in and near Charlotte, NC. If you live in the area, don’t hesitate to contact us to book your appointment.