How To Sleep After Tummy Tuck: The Complete Guide


surgery drawings on a patient's tummy

Sleeping after tummy tuck surgery is not impossible regardless of how much fat was removed and the number stitches needed to cover up the incisions. It is easy for anyone who has never undergone plastic surgery to be scared of their nighttime rest prospects.

But as long as you follow the right tips and techniques, a good shuteye after the popular surgery can become the norm. With many of us accumulating body fat in the abdominal region, tummy tucks have become one of the most popular plastic surgery options according to surgeons.

The good news is that this guide can help even people with a history of sleep troubles to get the level of sleep they deserve.

What Is The Best Sleeping Position After Undergoing Tummy Tuck Surgery?

A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess body fat and skin in the abdomen to make it firmer and flatter. An incision is typically made by the surgeon to remove fat deposits in the central and lower abdomen.

The abdominal walls are then tightened to eliminate sagging or excess skin from hanging around. The nature of the procedure means the abdomen is likely to get bruised and sore for at least a couple of weeks afterward.

This essentially means sleeping on the stomach or sides may be impossible unless you want to aggravate the swelling, increase the pain, and risk disrupting the stitches used to close up the surgery wounds

Thus, sleeping on the back is the best way to recover after tummy tuck surgery. Sure, you may be a dedicated side or stomach sleeper but finding ways of getting through the night on the back can become a necessity.

Get A Head Start On Back Sleeping

If you’ve always gained more sleep on the back then recovering after tummy tuck should be relatively breezy. However, switching to the back overnight after the procedure can be a huge shock to the system for long-term stomach and side sleepers.

The good news is that getting plastic surgery is a decision many folks take over the long-term. This may allow enough time to practice back sleeping before the day of the surgery. Experts recommend switching to the back at least 4 weeks before going under the knife since there’s no magic pill that can make a non-back sleeper suddenly get comfortable in that position.

With the body significantly swollen and bruised from the surgery, the least of your worries should be getting through the night in a new position.

Are you a long term back sleeper that battles lower back pain? Check out the article we wrote on The Best Mattress Topper For Lower Back Pain.

Why Sleeping On The Side Is Not Recommended After Tummy Tuck

It is easy for side sleepers to think that they can get away with lying down on one side of the body after undergoing a tummy tuck. However, the reality is much different and the realization may only dawn when it is too late.

Sleeping on the side still exposes a substantial area of the abdomen to the bed. The already bruised area can swell significantly overnight when you forcefully sleep on it. Just like lying down on the tummy exposes the stitches or sutures to rupturing, so does side sleeping.

This is why lying down on the back is the only recommended option after undergoing a tummy tuck.

Love sleeping on the back? Click here to check out the article we wrote on Sleeping On Your Left Side: 7 Health Benefits You Didn’t Know.

What To Eat For Better Sleep After A Tummy Tuck 

fresh pineapple fruit

Your diet can be an important part of the tummy tuck recovery process and this is why it is important to watch what you eat.

Foods such as berries, broccoli, and nuts contain significant amounts of collagen which is renowned for reducing inflammation levels. Seafood also contains cod liver oil which may boost pain reduction by reducing inflammation. The result is an improvement in sleep fortunes for patients.

Additional diet tips for anyone recovering from a tummy tuck include:

  • Eat fiber-rich diets to ease bowel movements 
  • Drink green tea to increase antioxidant levels and enhance immunity
  • Take probiotics like yogurt 
  • Consume fruits like pineapples to reduce inflammation and boost appetite 
  • Drink ginger tea to reduce nausea 

How To Sleep After A Tummy Tuck

Getting restful nights after the procedure does not come by chance. You’ll have to adopt various techniques to improve comfort and ensure amazing nights. Here are tried and tested tips for boosting the chances of good sleep after tummy tuck surgery.

1. Recliners

Recliners are a must-have for tummy tuck surgery patients for a variety of reasons. Firstly, these specialized seats are designed for back sleeping only. Regardless of how dedicated you may be to front or side sleeping, you’ll have no choice but to lie down on the back.

The good news is that you can choose a recliner that gives complete control over the amount of bend in the sleeper’s body. This means the freedom to alternate between different angles until you settle on the one that provides maximum comfort.

Sleeping in a reclined position ensures quick healing of the surgery wounds without putting excessive pressure on the abdomen. It is recommended that you switch to the reclined position for 3-4 weeks depending on how invasive the procedure was.

Full tummy tuck patients with incisions running from hip to hip may require at least 4 weeks of sleeping in the recliner to boost the recovery time.

Additionally, surgeons recommend that patients maintain a bending position at every point in time during the first 7 days after surgery. This means bending the body whether you’re standing, seated, or in any position.

The JUMICCO Fabric Recliner Chair from Amazon proved life-saving for my girlfriend after undergoing a tummy tuck 3 months ago. It features breathable fabric with thick padding for the ultimate comfort throughout the night. It also sports an armrest and footrest for elevating the legs.

2. Sleeping In Your Bed After Tummy Tuck

If you’d rather sleep in a bed after tummy tuck surgery, it is important to maintain a “bent” posture at all times, especially when transitioning from standing to lying in the bed. Any movements that may put excessive pressure on the abdomen should be avoided to reduce the risk of aggravating the pain or rupturing the stitches.

Special care should also be taken when getting out of bed, maintaining the same “jackknifed” or bent position throughout. Try to sleep close to the edge of the bed to make the getting in and out process as easy as possible.

Here’s a step by step instruction for getting into bed during tummy tuck recovery:

  • Ensure that the bed is strong enough not to buckle under the pressure of your bent position 
  • With the knees facing outward, sit on the bed slowly and gently while the abdominal region remains bent 
  • Move the legs into the bed so they can face the body straight 
  • Lower the torso slowly and gently 

3. Prop Up The Body With Multiple Pillows

Maximum comfort is essential during recovery from tummy tuck surgery which is why maintaining a bent position throughout the night is non-negotiable. One of the best ways to achieve this is to prop up the torso region with multiple pillows before jumping into bed.

This can ensure that the upper body remains elevated so that the whole body can receive enough bend to ease the pressure on the bruised abdomen and enhance comfort throughout the night. 

The only downside is that these pillows can slip from under the body while the patient tosses and turns throughout the night. Stacking up a couple of pillows on each side of the body may reduce the risk of tossing and turning which should keep the pillows under the torso stable enough for you to get through the night.

4. Contoured Pillows 

The type of pillow you sleep on can contribute towards how much bend the body may get throughout the night without compromising on neck comfort. Contoured pillows come in a unique design that ensures proper alignment of the neck with the rest of the body.

A good contoured pillow can come in handy whether you’re sleeping on a traditional bed or another sleeping surface like an adjustable base. These pillows provide soothing relief for neck stiffness and other forms of comfort while reducing the number of body pillows you need to prop up the torso for effective bending of the abdominal region.

The WEEKENDER Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Pillow is my go-to cooling pillow as a hot sleeper. It provides superior pressure relief and amazing cooling even in the summer. My girlfriend and I no longer suffer neck sweating during hot nights.

5. Adjustable Bases 

nurse speaking to a patient on adjustable bed

Adjustable beds feature multi-hinged surfaces that ensure the flexibility to sleep in a variety of angles. They can be the key to recovering in maximum comfort after undergoing a tummy tuck or another type of surgery.

These beds typically feature remote controls that ensure quick flipping between different sleeping angles until a patient settles on one that offers maximum bend in the abdominal region without compromising on comfort.

After full recovery from surgery, these beds can make activities such as watching TV or reading in bed much more enjoyable. If you can afford an adjustable bed, the whole surgery recovery experience can be taken to another level.

The LUCID L100 Adjustable Bed from Amazon has been worth every penny since it arrived in my home. It is my go-to option every time I’m struggling to sleep due to any form of body pains or injuries. Seriously, you should consider buying one because it has been a game-changer to my sleep.

6. Compression Garments 

One of the expected results from tummy tuck surgery is tighter abdominal muscles. Wearing compression garments that cover the midriff can help ensure that the muscles in the region in question tighten up during recovery.

Some of the most popular options include abdominal binders, girdles, and garments that come in corset-like designs. Whatever garment you wear, make sure it provides the right level of compression without aggravating the discomfort in the abdominal region.

Besides, compressing the bruised abdomen also reduces the swelling and speeds up the recovery process.

Do not forget to check-in with your surgeon before wearing any form of compression garment.

My Girlfriend enjoyed fast recovery after undergoing a tummy tuck thanks to the ChongErfei Slimming Girdle from Amazon. It boosts the surgery recovery process while helping to tighten abdominal muscles.

7. Get The Right Mattress 

Are you stuck with a mattress that sags in the middle or shows additional signs of struggling to provide adequate support throughout the night? It can make it hard to sleep during recovery from any type of surgery including a tummy tuck.

A new mattress may come in handy at this point as the body requires all the support it can get to navigate the tricky process of recovery. When shopping, it is important to choose a mattress that:

  • Allows the back and head to sink in while offering superior support for the neck and pelvis 
  • Provides consistent airflow 
  • Insulates your partner’s movements during the night to prevent sleep disruptions 

The Ashley Furniture Signature Design Chime Express Memory Foam Mattress from Amazon has transformed my sleep since it arrived 6 months ago. It offers amazing body contouring, firm support, and pressure relief with an ultra-plush feeling. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

8. Take Pain Meds 

You can expect significant levels of inflammation after undergoing tummy tuck surgery and this often spikes up pain levels especially at night when the mind is idle. This is why surgeons prescribe pain medications to help patients reduce their discomfort levels for better sleep.

Stick to the medications prescribed by the surgeon and discuss any other prescriptions with him before resuming them after the surgery. Do well to follow the prescription and avoid skipping them even when you feel that the discomfort has subsided.

9. Establish A Sleep Schedule 

lady seated in bed reading

A consistent sleep schedule is one of the best ways to enjoy amazing nights during recovery from a tummy tuck. Sure, the invasive nature of the surgery means bruising and swelling may be inevitable.

This can make it harder for the brain to relax to the right levels for proper sleep at bedtime without some help and this is where a sleep schedule kicks into full gear. A schedule is a subtle way of telling the brain to press the sleep mode on.

Each person may have a preferred list of activities to do at bedtime including taking a hot shower, reading a novel, or listening to a podcast. However, as long as you stick to the schedule, the brain will pick up on it and activate the sleep process as soon as you start performing your nightly bedtime tasks.

10. Throw Essential Oils Into The Mix 

Essential oils remain an ancient secret to achieving good sleep. These oils have been used to calm down distressed minds for hundreds of years and remain as potent now as they have ever been.

An electronic diffuser can disperse your essential oil of choice throughout the bedroom overnight, reducing anxiety levels and boosting the sleep process. The oils may also be poured into nighttime baths or even directly on a sleeper’s pillow.

Popular essential oils include:

  • Chamomile
  • Jasmine
  • Bergamot
  • Eucalyptus
  • Valerian Root

Conclusion 

A tummy tuck can be brutal on the body resulting in bruising, swelling, and significant degrees of discomfort. This can spike anxiety levels resulting in sleep troubles ranging from the inability to sleep as well as waking up several times during the night.

However, sleeping in a “bent” position in a recliner or adjustable base may provide the right level of comfort to get through the night without any problems. Additionally, taking pain meds, wearing compression garments, and choosing the right mattress can also reduce the level of inflammation for a better all-round shuteye.

 

 

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