How to Sleep After a Tummy Tuck: The Five Steps You Must Take

A tummy tuck is a popular procedure that is completed to reduce fat and skin around the stomach for many different reasons. It must be completed in a hospital setting and will require overnight care and ongoing after care. Part of the healing process will require increased sleep and rest, though it can be quite difficult to sleep after a tummy tuck. However there are a few things that can be done to help reduce the discomfort and encourage the sleep you need to speed the healing process.

Here we will show you how to sleep after a tummy tuck, the best sleeping positions, what pillows to use, how to speed up healing and more, including the five steps that are essential to sleeping after a tummy tuck.

But First: The Procedure

During the procedure you will be sedated under general anaesthesia. There will be instructions provided for preparing for surgery and it is important to follow them exactly for the best outcome to be achieved. If the preoperative instructions are not followed the procedure will unfortunately be cancelled or postponed.

There will be an incision made in the abdomen and any extra fat will be removed. The tissue will then be adjusted and stitched together if it has been separated. Once this has been completed the skin will be stretched to fit, and excess skin will be removed. Stitches will then be placed to secure the skin in the correct position after the excess skin has been removed, and there may be tubes placed for drainage where needed. These tubes will reduce swelling, lower the chance of infection, and improve the healing process and time.

As a cosmetic procedure, the tummy tuck can be offered after pregnancy to reduce added abdominal fat and to reduce any skin that has become stretched. After a c-section a tummy tuck can address the shape of the abdomen as well as address any scars that remain.

The procedure is commonly used to improve health and/or to improve confidence. People who are happy with their appearance can interact with a more confident approach and can find themselves more comfortable with themselves.

As with any procedure there are also some risks involved, including fluid buildup beneath the skin which will need to be removed, wounds healing improperly and causing infection or separating, or scarring that was not expected. The risks and benefits are both discussed with a cosmetic surgeon before the procedure so an informed decision can be made.

How to Sleep After a Tummy Tuck

Aftercare

Aftercare instructions will be provided both before the appointment and after the procedure. They must be followed carefully to ensure proper healing and to avoid infections and complications. This will include resting both during the day as well as making sure you increase your time asleep, as that is when the body does most of its healing.

Any incisions or open wounds will require cleaning, drainage tubes will need to be emptied, cleaned, and cared for, and food choices may be restricted for the first few days. There are ways to adapt your sleeping space and routines to create ideal sleeping conditions.

So how to sleep after a tummy tuck? Below we show you the five steps you must take to ensure sleep quality and proper quick healing.

How to Sleep After a Tummy Tuck

Sleeping After a Tummy Tuck: The Five Steps You Must Take

1: Sleep on Your Back

It may be difficult to sleep after a tummy tuck procedure, so you will need to make preparations to make it as easy as possible, and to ensure that you manage to get rest. For comfort and to protect the area it will be necessary to sleep on your back. Those who are not used to sleeping on their back should begin sleeping this way a few weeks before the procedure so they are adapted to this position by the time of surgery, and will therefore have fewer struggles with the transition.

A reclining chair is ideal for this sleeping position as it requires and encourages you to remain on your back throughout the night as it limits any other sleeping position options. A recliner will also support you in a comfortable position, with several angles for your back that will allow the stitches to not be stretched and keep the muscles in a resting position. That then removes the pressure from the area and allows healing to progress unhindered. Sleeping in a recliner may be recommended for several weeks after surgery, both for comfort and healing purposes. A well padded yet supportive chair can also provide a comfortable sleep and be easy to get both in and out of.

If using a recliner is not possible, there are ways to make sleeping in a bed more comfortable too. After a tummy tuck it is important to remain slightly bent at the waist when getting into or out of bed, and while sleeping. Support your back with pillows or cushions so you remain in this position, and body pillows may be used on each side of your body to keep your sleeping position stable as well as limit movement and turning during sleep. Alternatively, you can stack pillows on each side of your body to prevent rolling or turning so as to keep the correct sleeping position. Moving during sleep can stretch or damage the incision and slow the healing, so you must try and limit this as much as possible.

An adjustable bed is also well suited for sleeping after a tummy tuck as it will ensure the correct posture and support needed. These are available for home use and come in a range of comfort settings with several adjustable heights and angles to choose from. Such beds are comfortable for sleeping not only after a tummy tuck but at any time of year, and can help clear nasal congestion during cold or allergies too!

How to Sleep After a Tummy Tuck

2: Make Sure Your Mattress Doesn’t Sag

Regardless of the style of bed that is used it will be necessary to ensure that the mattress is supportive and does not sag.

A sagging mattress will cause the body to be in an uncomfortable position and may cause stress on the stitches. Your mattress, as well as your pillows, should be comfortable and support your head and body in a stable condition. They should keep your body straight and not allow your head or feet to fall lower than the stomach, creating strain on the incision, as that will be both uncomfortable and may damage the incision and slow the healing process.

3: Think About Using a Compression Garment

A compression garment may be recommended to encourage blood flow to the area for healing, as well as to help support the abdominal muscles. These garments can encourage the muscles to tighten after surgery and will help to strengthen the core muscles while supporting the midsection. A girdle or abdominal binder can be worn for safe compression, and may be recommended by your surgeon, although others may prefer they are not used. For this step, we recommend you ask your doctor’s advice on whether to use one or not.

4: Take Pain Medication as Prescribed

You will be provided with after care instructions that include pain medication. Taking pain killers on schedule will reduce the pain enough to allow for sleep to be restful. No additional or alternative pain medication should be taken outside of doctor guidance, and all other follow up care must be followed. Skipping pain medication can result in extended periods of increased pain while the next dose begins to work. Which of course, won’t help you sleep after a tummy tuck.

How to Sleep After a Tummy Tuck

5: Follow a Regular Sleep Routine

It may seem obvious, but our last step on how to sleep after a tummy tuck is something we all should do anyway. That’s follow a regular sleep routine and schedule as that will help to improve sleep quality and quantity.

You can follow the routine and schedule that you had before surgery, but getting more sleep in the surgery’s aftermath will be needed for healing so it’s necessary to go to bed earlier, sleep in, or take naps for the first few days and weeks after the tummy tuck.

Having a regular routine of getting ready for bed, limiting screen time before bed, and having enough food and water to be comfortable throughout the night is important. Your regular sleep routine will automatically remind your body when it is time for rest, and will continue to do so after surgery.

Estimated Time to Heal

There is no set time that will determine each step of the healing process, and everyone heals at different rates, but it should take a few months to heal fully. It will be necessary to sleep on your back for a few weeks after surgery, and to do so for up to a few months in the aftermath. As the healing proceeds you will see the swelling go down, any drains will be gathering less fluid, and the incisions will become stable and begin to close fully.

As healing progresses, you will be able to move around more during the day after the first two weeks, then you will find that you require less sleep than you did right after surgery. You can then slow then stop the prescription pain killers.

After the first four to six weeks, you may find that the incisions have healed, and you can begin to move more regularly. The inner healing will also progress but you will notice this by feel rather than by sight. Bandages will no longer be required after the incisions have healed, though compression garments may still be recommended by your physician. Swelling may take up to three months to clear, and during this time movement will be limited, and discomfort will persist.

After the body has fully healed, you may begin to sleep in any position that is most comfortable. When the pain has gone you will be more comfortable at night as well as during the day, and may find some movement is ok during the night and that you can therefore change positions during sleep without pain.

How to Sleep After a Tummy Tuck

How to Sleep After a Tummy Tuck: our Final thoughts

A tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure done by choice, but it can provide improvements to health and mobility, boost confidence, and encourage more movement and exercise. It will take a few months to heal fully, and scars may remain permanently. To ensure the best opportunity for fast and easy healing it is necessary to follow all after care instructions provided, take medication on schedule and as indicated, and continue to sleep on your back.

If drains are present, they must be cared for as described by the after care information to avoid infection and to help swelling decrease. Eating health foods that do not cause bloating or stretching of the abdomen is needed too, as they will help the body to heal, as will obtaining enough sleep.

Bed rest will be necessary for the first few days following surgery, and increased sleep will be needed for a few days or weeks after that. Sleeping on your back is the only position that protects both the incisions and the interior work that has been completed. Sleeping on a reclining chair may be the best option for comfort as it keeps the body in a position that is most beneficial, keeping the waist bent slightly to keep the pressure off the stitches and the muscles within.

Rest is vital for healing as the body heals faster during sleep, so it is key to find a way to sleep comfortably on your back. Pillows along each side will help to ensure that you do not turn in your sleep. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended as it will irritate the stitches and cause the body to move in ways that are uncomfortable and may damage the area.

Sleeping for ten to twelve hours the first few days would be recommended, along with bed rest, and ten hours is recommended for several weeks after. Add activities slowly and begin by doing small walks and movements around the house to maintain circulation, as circulation will bring nutrients to the area to speed up the healing of the cells. As the healing progresses add more activities, and work up to returning to regular exercise over the first few months. Scars will take longer to heal but will fade and may disappear completely by the end of the first year. It is also necessary to keep a healthy diet and to exercise going forward to maintain the results of your tummy tuck, no matter the reason it was done.