Whether you’re awaiting surgery or have just been through it, it might be playing in your mind about the best position to sleep after kidney surgery. You may want to know which positions give you a quality night’s sleep while preventing you from causing more pain.
In this guide, I will give you lots of handy tips that will hopefully mean you can get a good night’s rest and also help you find the most pain-free sleeping position that could help speed up your recovery. After all, if you sleep in the wrong position, you could injure the area further.
Staying Comfortable Through The Night After Kidney Surgery
Of course, there are many different forms of kidney surgery, so how you sleep will depend on what you’ve had done, whether it be Nephrectomy, kidney stone removal, or the treatment of kidney disease.
So to try and keep it more specific, I will look at the different forms of surgery and the best form of sleeping position to help you recover and stay comfortable.
How to Sleep After Kidney Removal (Nephrectomy)?
After undergoing a Nephrectomy, the recovery time can be anything from 3 – 6 weeks, and the way that you position yourself to sleep at night can play a large part in helping you feel a lot better within a shorter amount of time.
Having a kidney removed is quite a significant operation, so you must expect a lengthy recovery before you are well enough to move around again. Sleeping can become a problem as you may experience bloating around your abdomen.
The best position to sleep in is flat on your back, with your arms by your side.
Something else that medical professionals have advised is sleeping in a reclining chair, and this is especially beneficial for the first couple of days.
Sleeping Positions After Kidney Stone Removal
If you’ve recently undergone surgery to relieve the symptoms of large kidney stones, you may have either had something called percutaneous nephrolithotomy.
The recovery of both of these operations can be lengthy and painful, and you may need to go to the toilet more than you usually would, which can lead to you waking up multiple times through the night.
Although these symptoms often pass after a few days, you still want to make sure you’re getting the best possible nights of sleep while you’re in the early stages of recovery.
There are things you can do at home to ensure you have a more comfortable night’s rest, which is very simple to follow. You can take over-the-counter pain relief, ensure you stay hydrated, and if you have got a stent fitted. However, ensure that the string is easily located as these can cause discomfort if positioned incorrectly.
No medical reports say that one sleeping position is better than the other if you’ve fitted a stent. So it’s really down to whatever makes you more comfortable; reading about people who’ve had the operation done previously, many of them seem to recommend sleeping on the opposite side to where the stent has been placed.
How to Sleep With Kidney Dialysis?
Sleeping during kidney dialysis is no mean feat. It can be extremely taxing to find the correct sleeping position, especially at the start when your body is still getting used to a foreign object inside it.
The good news is, once you start adjusting, things get much easier, and there are some things you can try to make yourself more comfortable, such as sleeping on the same side as your catheter’s exit. Another thing you can do is to sleep with a pillow under your side to act as a support cushion and buffer should you need to change position during the night.
If you are suffering from pain where your catheter is located, you may want to look into how much you eat and drink before bed. The best idea would be not to have anything to eat for around three hours before you go to sleep. Don’t deprive yourself of water; if you’re thirsty, make sure you have a drink. Just try not to overload on liquids very close to your bedtime.
How to Improve Sleep Quality After Having a Kidney Stent Fitted?
Stent surgery is one of the most common forms of kidney surgery and is usually used to help treat the symptoms of kidney stones. Straight after your operation, it’s imperative that you get a good amount of sleep. After all, your body has been through a rough ordeal, and regaining energy and healing is a must. Therefore, ensuring you’re getting a comfortable night’s sleep is vital.
Below are a few things you can do to help you improve your quality of sleep following stent surgery.
1. Alpha Blockers
This type of medication is usually used to help relieve the pain that some people experience from having a stent fitted. Some of these medications include Tamsulosin and Alfuzosin.
These medications help to relieve spasms that can happen in the ureters, which often cause cramps. However, if you have cramps or any form of pain or discomfort related to your stent, you must seek advice from your doctor.
These medications also come with some common side effects, which can include dizziness, and a stuffy nose, and in males have been known to cause retrograde ejaculation.
2. Anticholinergic Medications
These medications are another alpha-blocker used to help relieve some symptoms from stent discomfort, such as urinary urgency and frequency. You should always consult your doctor if any of these symptoms keep you awake at night or cause problems.
The side effects of this medication may include a dry mouth and/or constipation. There are also some concerns about dementia risk with these medications, especially in patients over 65.
3. Over Counter Pain Relief
Taking pain relievers like paracetamol or Ibuprofen throughout the day and before you go to bed might help reduce any discomfort while you try to sleep.
Due to its anti-inflammatory effect, Ibuprofen will probably have the most effective outcome regarding stent-related discomfort.
Again, always speak with your doctor before taking any medication, especially aspirin, as this is a blood thinner and can increase your bleeding risk after stent surgery.
4. Keeping Hydrated
After you’ve had a stent fitted, you will want to make sure that you keep hydrated to help you flush blood and urine through your kidneys.
Although, you must ensure you keep an eye on what times you drink, as if you drink close to bedtime, this can cause you to wake up during the night needing to go to the bathroom. The best idea is to drink plenty of water throughout the day and maybe drink less after dinner. (But be sure not to deprive yourself of water.
If you notice your urine is darker in color, drink, as this is a sign you’re dehydrated.
5. Avoid Late Night Exercise
Any level of exercise after stent placement is likely to cause you discomfort. Therefore, you should avoid anything too strenuous before bed.
You don’t have to avoid activities altogether; you should keep it light and avoid doing anything late at night.
How to Sleep After Stent Surgery?
No medical reports suggest that one sleeping position is better than the other if you’ve had a stent fitted, so it’s really down to whatever makes you more comfortable. After reading about people who’ve had the operation done previously, many of them seem to recommend sleeping on the opposite side to where the stent has been placed.
Tips For a Good Night’s Sleep After Kidney Surgery
There are a few different reasons you may struggle to sleep after kidney surgery, such as medication causing insomnia, stress, and anxiety, or even the after-effects of the anaesthesia. But you’ll be relieved to hear that there are a couple of things you can do to improve your sleep quality post-op.
- First and foremost, be sure to listen to everything your doctor or surgeon has told you, including when to take your pain medication. This will help you a lot when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
- Secondly, establish a sleep schedule, work out the best hours of sleep for you, and ideally, go to bed at a similar time every night so your body can regulate a sleep pattern.
- Set yourself a routine for the evening, something like having a warm bath, avoid blue-light such as phones and televisions.
- Make sure that your surroundings are quiet, peaceful, and comfortable, keep the lighting as low as possible, be sure that the room is at a good temperature, and think about what you wear to bed. Is it cool and not restricting? Also, get yourself a good supportive pillow.
- If all of this fails, speak to your doctor again, and see what they can put in place to help you sleep better.
- Ask your doctor about alpha-blockers and Anticholinergic medications.
- Have a look at reclining and adjustable beds.
Sleeping Positions After a Kidney Biopsy
The most crucial thing you should do is ensure that you lie completely flat in the hours after a kidney biopsy. This helps to prevent bleeding from the entry wound of the needle.
But what about when you get home and want to sleep? Finding a comfortable way to get to sleep is pretty straightforward. You need to sleep on your back for around a week. It makes sense that this is the best way for your body to heal and recover from the biopsy.
Lying on your side or your stomach is not advised and may even prolong your recovery.
How to Safely Get Out of Bed After Kidney Surgery?
After finding the best sleeping position for the night and hopefully getting a restful night’s sleep, you make up and worry about injuring yourself getting out of bed, so here is a quick step-by-step guide to assist you when getting out of bed in the morning.
- Place a pillow on your stomach.
- Pull one leg gently towards your abdomen, and then pull the second up in the same position.
- Lift your pelvis very slightly, and slowly roll towards the edge of the bed, on the opposite side to that on which you had your surgery.
- Hug the pillow while you place one leg gently over the edge of the bed, and then the same with the second leg until you feel ready to stand.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleeping After Kidney Surgery
Should I sleep on my side after having kidney surgery?
This depends on the type of surgery. Most positions for sleep after kidney surgery require you to be on your back, but in some cases, like if you’ve had a stent fitted, then sleeping on the opposite side of your surgery is permitted.
Can I sleep in a standard bed after kidney surgery?
Yes. You can go back to sleeping in your regular bed after kidney surgery. Some suggest sleeping in a reclining bed or chair for the first couple of days if you’re experiencing discomfort.
Can I drink before bed after kidney surgery?
Studies have shown that drinking before bed increases your chance of waking up at night to go to the toilet. After kidney surgery, you’ll likely want to avoid this in case of discomfort, so drinking plenty during the day and less after dinner is the best option, but be sure not to leave yourself dehydrated.
A Final Brief on The Best Way to Sleep After Kidney Surgery
The whole idea of this guide is to try and take away some of your concerns regarding kidney surgery and sleeping.
Whether your surgery is imminent or post-op, hopefully now you have realized that there are plenty of things you can do at home to help improve your sleep quality after surgery.
You probably now have a good idea about what to do before you go to bed, what position to lie in once you’re in bed, and how to get yourself out of bed in the morning safely.
Don’t forget, if there is anything in this guide that you’re considering trying for the first time, you must consult your doctor first. Some treatments and medications don’t work for everyone, and everyone’s case is different.
If you’ve tried all of the above but still have concerns, you should also ask your doctor about other sleep aids that might suit you more.