While getting enough quality rest is an important part of the recuperation process after any surgery, the way you sleep after facial surgery can be just as important. When asking questions about facial rejuvenation recovery, most people want to know how long they will need to take off from work or what activities they should or should not engage in. However, I wanted to use this month’s blog post to talk about sleep–the unsung hero of the recovery process. If you’re considering any type of facial plastic surgery–such as neck lift or facelift–at my Boston, Massachusetts-area office, I want you to be prepared for every element of the recovery process.
The Importance of Sleep
As we all know, sleep is vital to maintaining overall health and well-being. When we sleep, our cells regenerate, and our brain chemicals “refill,” giving us a sense of refreshed clarity to get us through the next day. The benefits of sleep increase substantially after surgery, when your body is actively using its resources to heal itself. Quality sleep can help curb inflammation and improve blood flow between tissues and cells, helping to heal your incisions and affected tissues. Additionally, because a rested brain is more resistant to pain stimuli, sleep can function as a low-level pain medication.
How Should I Sleep After Surgery?
For people who are used to sleeping on their abdomens or sides, it can be challenging start sleeping on their backs. But during the initial healing process, it’s imperative to stay on your back with your head elevated throughout the night. This helps in 3 distinct ways:
Reduces swelling: After facial surgery, head elevation decreases the amount of fluid that accumulates near your incisions, thereby reducing swelling. Diminished swelling can improve your comfort and hasten the healing process, as well as allow you to see your results sooner.
Protects incisions: Sleeping on your stomach or side can cause friction between your face and your pillow, creating tension on your incisions and potentially causing complications related to healing.
Maintains results: Finally, sleeping on your back is just good practice and will help maintain your new aesthetic look. Contorting your face against a pillow night after night can cause wrinkles and creases to develop. Outsmart this sneaky element of aging by getting into the habit of sleeping on your back when you can.
If you think making the transition to back sleeping might be a challenge, I recommend adjusting your habits at least a couple of weeks before surgery. This helps you adjust to the position and determine the techniques that work for you. Many of my facial rejuvenation patients find that sleeping in a recliner is effective, especially in the first few days after surgery. Using a firm mattress, keeping a pillow or 2 under your knees, and using extra pillows around your body to prevent you from rolling over in the night can also do wonders for keeping you comfortable.
By treating yourself to the gift of great sleep after your surgery, you can reap the rewards of a comfortable recuperation and lasting, beautiful results. Be sure to ask your surgeon if you have any questions about the benefits of sleep after facial surgery.