Chances are you already know that sleep plays a vital role in your health and how you feel each day. Waking up after a bad night's sleep often leads to a tired appearance, including bags under the eyes.
Inadequate sleep can impact not only your appearance but also your physical and mental health. So it only makes sense that quality sleep would be a major component of your plastic surgery recovery. However, sleep isn't always easy after a surgical procedure.
How surgery can contribute to insomnia
While you can feel your body is not 100 percent after surgery and you may feel tired, insomnia after surgery is a common concern. Problems sleeping can be caused by the effects of anesthesia, pain or discomfort and the change to your normal routine. Understanding these factors and following the recommendations of your surgeon can help you find your way to a restful night's sleep.
Sleep plays a vital role in the recovery process
Surgery of any kind places the body under stress. Your body needs time to regenerate, recuperate and heal from the surgical procedure. Sleep helps your body do just that. In fact, quality sleep plays a vital role in your recovery in many different ways.
- Helps reduce pain – As you sleep, your body releases natural endorphins that can help to alleviate pain while also promoting healing. In contrast, a lack of sleep can make you more sensitive to pain and discomfort.
- Boosts the immune system – Quality sleep helps boost your immune system to combat inflammation, stress and infection, which aids in the healing process.
- Reduces inflammation – When you have plastic surgery, it is normal for the body to have an inflammatory response in order to promote healing. However, this also contributes to swelling and discomfort. Quality sleep helps to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Improves mood – Plastic surgery recovery can be a stressful time, and changes to your normal routine can contribute to mood swings and negatively affect your overall well-being. Sleep helps to improve your mood and mental health, making your recovery more manageable.
- Boosts collagen production – Collagen is a natural protein that is necessary for healthy skin and plays a vital role in the healing process. Your body produces collagen at higher levels during sleep.
How you sleep can be just as important
Most plastic surgery procedures require a modified sleeping position for at least the first few days of your recovery. For example, recovery after facial procedures, like a facelift, require sleeping on your back with your face elevated.
If you normally sleep on your side, this can be difficult and require time to get used to. However, it is important that these sleep positions are followed for the recommended time in order to achieve the final results you desire.
Tips for quality sleep during plastic surgery recovery
If you are struggling to find a healthy sleep schedule during your plastic surgery recovery, these tips can help you create a quality sleep schedule that helps promote quality healing and get you on the fast road to recovery.
- Practice your sleep position – Changing your sleeping position can be difficult and affect your ability to get quality sleep. Before your procedure, talk with your surgeon about the recommended sleep position and spend a week or so before your procedure adjusting to that new sleep position so it is not something new during your recovery.
- Take pain medication as directed – Pain can often disrupt quality sleep so it is important that you take any pain medication at the prescribed intervals in order to reduce potential pain that may wake you up.
- Sleep alone to avoid disruption – After your surgery, it may be a good idea to sleep without your significant other, child or pets. Sleeping alone helps reduce the risk of potential injury, as well as sleep disruptions, such as snoring.
- Change your sleeping location – If you must sleep with your head elevated, it may be easier to avoid your bed and instead sleep in a recliner. This helps ensure you stay on your back and your head remains elevated. If you are still sleeping in your bed but must remain on your back, try adding additional pillows that will help prevent you from rolling over.
- Create a comfortable environment – Your environment plays a major role in your sleep quality. For example, if your room is too hot, it may be difficult to sleep. Before your surgery, make sure your recovery room meets your comfort level.
Following these tips can help promote quality sleep which will, in turn, help promote healing and recovery, getting you back to your normal routine and able to enjoy the benefits of your new look.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.