If you have recently undergone tummy tuck surgery, a big part of your recovery, as with anything, is rest and plenty of quality sleep.
The first night after your tummy tuck might be spent in the hospital, where you might still be experiencing the aftermath of medication; however, once you get back home, how do you ensure you get a good night’s sleep?
Throughout the guide, we will cover how to sleep after a tummy tuck and talk about other aspects of your recovery and what you can do to make it a more comfortable experience.
We will also touch on what you should expect from the surgery itself and how long you should rest before returning to normal activities.
What Happens During a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a surgery given to people who might have lost weight and have extra skin around their midriff. It can also be a remedy for removing fat around the stomach area.
After the procedure, you will be required to spend some time in the hospital. This may only be one night, supposing everything went as expected. However, it’s not unusual to spend a few nights under observation in some circumstances.
The operation takes place while you’re under anesthesia.
The surgery is performed by an incision being made into your lower abdomen, where any excess fat will be removed, skin put back into place, and pulled tight to avoid any sagging, dropping, or surplus skin.
At the end of the tummy tuck procedure, once the stitches are in place, tubes are usually inserted into the area for drainage. This reduces swelling and aids the healing process. It can also prevent infection.
As with any surgery, aftercare is just as important as the procedure itself.
Make sure you ask your doctor or surgeon about a written aftercare plan to continue to recover well once you return home. General aftercare will include cleaning the area, diet changes, and adapting your sleep schedule accordingly.
Sleeping After a Tummy Tuck
The chances are that you will be advised to sleep as much as possible, post-tummy tuck. You will also notice that you feel more exhausted. This is simply because your body has undergone a hefty procedure and needs rehabilitation time.
However, on the opposite end of the scale, some people may find that they suffer from insomnia after undergoing surgery, which can make recovery a challenging situation.
There are a few steps to take to ensure you get a better night’s sleep after a tummy tuck and how you can get a comfortable night’s rest.
The following steps will tell you everything you need to know about how to sleep after a tummy tuck:
1. Pain Relief
After leaving the hospital, you will probably be advised about what kind of medication to take to help you with pain relief. Ensure you enquire about the best time to take them, and try to avoid drugs with caffeine in the evening to prevent trouble sleeping.
It’s also essential that while you’re taking the prescribed medication from your doctor, you refrain from taking any additional pain relief. This could impede your health and affect your recovery.
It’s also important that you keep up with your medication. Missing your pain relief can leave you feeling uncomfortable for extended periods of time. This can have a negative impact on your ability to sleep.
2. Use a Body Pillow
After a tummy tuck, it’s advised that you remain elevated with a bend at the stomach while resting or asleep. Therefore, when you return to your own bed, using a body pillow to prop you into a more upright position can do the trick.
If you’re worried you might not be able to withstand this position in bed, you could always try sleeping on the couch for a short period during the early days of your healing process. Sleeping on the couch can ensure you remain bent by using the arm of the sofa as a support, meaning there is less pressure on the stomach and stitches.
3. Compression Garments
As we touched on during the intro, one of the primary aspects of a tummy tuck procedure is the tightening of the skin. Therefore, this means during the healing process; the skin needs to remain in its new position until it’s fully healed.
Compression garments, like a girdle, can help hold everything in one place, keeping the muscles stable and aiding the recovery process. They can also help to prevent injury or torn stitches and help you to remain aware and cautious around the midriff.
4. Sleep Schedule
A sleep schedule is a vital part of everyone’s general health and routine. But, when it comes to surgery recovery, it’s even more detrimental.
Because of the invasive nature of a tummy tuck, the results often mean that you’re left with a lot of tenderness and bruising, making relaxing at night difficult.
The lack of sleep can impede the recovery process. Therefore altering your sleep schedule and preparing yourself for sleep is imperative. Try practicing meditation before bed, reading a book, listening to soothing music, or surrounding yourself with essential oils and other calming scents can mean you drift off to sleep with more ease.
5. Adjustable Beds/Mattresses
If you have an old bed or mattress, it could hinder your recovery by holding you in an uncomfortable position while you sleep.
There are now several adjustable beds and mattresses you can get, which means you can alter your sleeping position, keeping you elevated, and bent in the correct places throughout the night.
Plus, they make for an excellent long-term investment, too, as even after your recovery, they are also helpful for sitting up and reading in bed and can be useful for people suffering from back, neck, and shoulder problems.
How Long is Recovery After a Tummy Tuck?
One question many people ask is how long after their tummy tuck will they be able to return to regular sleeping positions and everyday activities, and unfortunately, there is no certainty regarding this.
Recovery time can vary widely from person to person.
If we’re looking at the grand scheme of things, generally speaking, you should allow yourself a couple of months to regain full physical recovery from a tummy tuck. However, by following some of the steps above, alongside the aftercare advice from your doctor and surgeon, you could see signs of improvement in less time.
The closer you get to recovery, the more you will be able to perform activities easily. You will also notice that you don’t feel as tired or require as much time to sleep.
In most cases, the wounds themselves should have started to heal, although you may still be experiencing some swelling and discomfort, so keeping up the steps above will still be necessary for some yet.
After three to four months, you should be at almost full recovery, at which point you can return to your normal sleep position.
A Final Analysis
Undergoing any surgery or cosmetic procedure can take its toll on your mental and physical health, and the fact of the matter is in order to give you the best recovery possible, you need as much good quality sleep as you can get.
It’s crucial that you follow any information given to you regarding aftercare, especially surrounding drainage, cleaning, and dressings, to avoid infection.
Finding the best sleeping position that works for you is going to give you the best chance of a good night’s sleep. However, sleeping on your back, with a curvature in your stomach, is going to be the best option to prevent injury to the operated area. You can ensure this by using pillows, adjustable beds, or sleeping on the couch.
Overall, the best way to speed up your recovery after a tummy tuck is to get as much rest as possible.
Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself sleeping for around 10-12 hours after your tummy tuck. This is expected and completely normal. In fact, it’s recommended for the first couple of weeks.
Once you’re back to full health, you will be able to return to general activities such as walking, exercise, and household chores, but be sure to stay active and look after your diet to maintain your hard work.