Sleeping Soundly After Surgery: Finding Comfort Despite the Discomfort


Within our lifetime, many of us will have to undergo surgery. Whether it be for medical reasons, or even for the aesthetic results that plastic surgery can obtain, the period of recovery can hinder our quality of life, including sleep. Sleeping after surgery is one of the most difficult aspects to navigate. Hopefully, you have opted for surgery with a trusted surgeon such as Kshem Yapa. Surgeons who prioritise patient care can offer the most credible advice to support your recovery. With this, discomfort during sleep following surgery is inevitable, and hard to manage even with professional advice.

In this blog, we will share exactly how you can find comfort during sleep, even when you feel the most uncomfortable. First understanding the importance of sleep, and then gauging an understanding of methods to optimise sleep during recovery will support your journey to better health.

The importance of sleep following surgery

Sleep is a multilayered process which supports our body’s overall health and longevity. During sleep, your body enters a repair and retention-like state. In relation to surgery, our bodies ramp up the production of growth hormones essential for tissue repair and growth. The location of the surgery, depending on its complexity, will need to heal both the skin and muscle where the incision has taken place. Immune systems are also weakened during surgery due to the body’s energy being focused towards repairing the injured area. Sleep promotes the production of infection-fighting cytokines, which are essential in strengthening the immune system.

How to optimise post-surgery sleep

Ready for a great night of sleep? Take a look at the following tips:

  • Prepare your environment

You need to prepare your bedroom for a good night’s sleep, especially when you’re not as mobile. First, make sure that you have any fluids and pain relievers close to your bedside. Remove any distracting elements that might limit your sleeping potential, such as bright lights. Invest in blackout curtains to reduce light exposure, also avoid being on your phone at least a week before your intended sleep time.

  • Maximise comfort

Comfort is everything for sleep. When your body is in pain following surgery, you will struggle to find comfort in your typical bed setup. It is recommended to invest in more supportive and comforting bedding. There are surgery pillows available for specific bodily areas, as some treatments require patients to stay in one position to avoid possible complications. This will also reduce the risk of excessive swelling in certain areas if they need to be kept elevated to reduce the blood flow.

  • Temperature control

The room in which you sleep needs to be around 18 degrees Celsius for optimal sleep. If your bedroom is known for being excessively warm, especially during the summer months, it might be a good idea to invest in some form of air conditioning. This of course is not a feasible option for everyone, so consider a simple fan and wearing minimal clothing.

  • Prepare for sleep during the day

Your nighttime ritual can also determine the quality of sleep. When recovering from surgery, you will likely have limited mobility, which might leave you tempted to spend the day watching screens, instead of winding down for the evening. Make sure you maintain your nighttime ritual, even if you have spent the day inside. That means dimming the lights in the evening, taking a shower or bath (as long as your surgeon has permitted it), and doing habits that make you feel most relaxed such as reading, cooking, and listening to calming music.

  • Pain management during sleep

As touched on, you should have your pain relief close to your bedside. Reducing the risk of moving around in the dark is important, especially when a simple fall leaves you in hospital. Have your surgeon prescribe medication close to your bed, along with fluids to keep you hydrated.

  • Apply cold therapy

The target area will likely be experiencing swelling. Use cold therapy such as an ice pack to reduce swelling that might be preventing you from sleeping.

Adjust your expectations

It is important to adjust your expectations following surgery. While it would be ideal to experience a smooth, stress-free recovery, you should expect a level of discomfort whilst you are trying to sleep. Here are some tips to keep in mind to adjust your sleep expectations during recovery:

  • Naps make up for lost sleep

Patients often report insomnia following their first night of sleep following surgery. The lost hours of sleep catch up, especially when prolonged for several days. During this time naps will be your best friend. Sleep during the daytime if it feels comfortable to do so. This is especially important for invasive surgery, You should have taken some time off work to allow yourself the space to recover entirely. Lay on the couch, do some reading, and when it feels right, doze into a sleep when you have hours to catch up on.

  • Communicate with your surgeon

If your sleep is not improving even with all of the suggestions mentioned, it is worth getting in touch with your surgeon to make sure that there are no unknown problems. Unbearable pain should not occur following surgery as long as everything has gone correctly, so consider going to emergency care or getting in touch with your trusted surgeon,

  • Let your body do its thing

All in all, this time should truly be dedicated to rest and recovery. The truth is that our bodies have an innate ability to repair themselves, assuming that all the correct surgical measures have been taken. Allow your body to do its thing. Fuel it with nutritious foods to encourage new cell generation, and of course, try to get the recommended 7-10 hours of sleep a night. Sleeping more during your period is always a good thing, especially if you hope to be back to the old you.


Comments are closed.