Sleeve gastrectomy is a procedure that affects your life majorly, including your sleeping routine. It’s perfectly normal having trouble sleeping after gastric sleeve surgery at the beginning of your recovery period.
A long, goodnight rest can accelerate your healing process. Here in the article, we offer you some tips and tricks on how to sleep after gastric sleeve. We will talk about habits before bed to maximize your sleep, sleeping positions after gastric sleeve, and some other useful hacks that will help you get a better rest at night.
Maximize your sleep: tips and tricks
There can be some short-term and long-term changes to your sleep quality after your weight-loss surgery. It’s a good idea to know some useful strategies that can help you improve your health and lifestyle. The most common problem with sleep you may have after your gastric sleeve surgery may include insufficient sleeping duration and sleeping cycles aka circadian rhythm disorder.
In the first case – remember that you need restorative sleep for your body to fully recover after the surgery – a minimum of 8 hours per night. Also, keep in mind that good quality rest at night will help you boost your metabolism and therefore impact your weight loss.
Here are some tips and tricks for you to avoid sleeping problems or overcome them:
1. Create a sleeping cycle routine
Your body’s internal clock is related to circadian rhythms, which is basically your 24-hour sleeping cycle. How exactly does it work and affect your lifestyle?
Circadian rhythm is related to the day-night cycle, thus, exposure to light is crucial for this cycle.
When you see the light, your brain sends signals that you need to stay awake. If the light decreases at night, you relax and switch to sleeping mode. All this helps you to synchronize your internal clock.
It’s best if you always try to fall asleep a few hours after dark and wake up a few hours after sunrise. An adult should sleep around 7-9 hours each night. Most people don’t need more than 8 hours on a regular basis to be well rested. Remember to stick to your night and daily routine if possible, go to bed, and wake up at the same time every day.
2. Stop eating and drinking 2 hours before bedtime
One of the useful hacks on how to sleep after gastric sleeve is related to eating and drinking before bed. There is a high possibility that it may disturb your stomach. Why is that? While you’re sleeping your body is resting and keeps digesting as a secondary mission. This may lead to gas pain or stomach ache. Your metabolism will also be slower and the body will consume energy to do both: sleeping and digesting. This way it won’t be able to do its job fully for either one of these activities.
For this reason, it’s better if you avoid any kind of unnecessary sleeping disturbance. Make your sleep as comfortable as possible to fully recover after this major surgery.
3. Support with a pillow
You can try using some surgery pillows that will give you support for your head and neck if you decide to sleep on your back. In this position, it may also be useful to put a pillow under each of your knees. This way you can help relieve pressure on your abdomen and lower back.
If you prefer to sleep on your side, put a pillow between your legs to avoid some excess pressure on your spine. We also recommend that you use a wedge pillow. This kind of pillow elevates the upper or lower body to help improve blood circulation. It’s important in healing, pain relief, and a good night’s rest in general. A wedge pillow is usually made of polyfoam or memory foam, which reduces snoring and relieves pressure from sensitive areas. It typically has a triangular shape that stays in place better than any sort of standard pillow.
4. Activities before sleep
It’s important that you relax both your body and mind before you go to sleep. You can try reading a book or meditating for 15 minutes before going to bed. Remember that your sleeping area should be quiet, and dark, and your room temperature needs to be optimal. Let some fresh air into your bedroom for 15 minutes before your bedtime.
Keep in mind that it’s best to avoid blue light coming from screens for a minimum of 1 hour before bedtime. Don’t be exposed to phones, computers, and TVs – they will decrease good sleep quality. Light controls your body’s internal clock. If there is too much of it, your body can’t realize it’s time to sleep and you may suffer from a sleeping disorder.
5. Choose cotton pajamas
Loose and good-quality cotton pajama is going to be the most comfortable sleepwear for you. It will help you move with ease at night. This is especially important when considering how to sleep after gastric sleeve surgery. It’s essential because you shouldn’t put any pressure on the abdominal area after your surgery. Good quality cotton on the other hand will help your skin breathe while sleeping. It will also be comfortably cool against your skin and won’t cause you any skin irritations.
Best sleeping position after gastric sleeve surgery
Which position is the best? We strongly advise you to a sitting or semi-sitting position. If impossible, try sleeping on your back or on your left side. Don’t lie down on your stomach for about 2-3 weeks after your sleeve gastrectomy procedure.
There are 4 main sleeping positions: sitting or half-sitting position, on your back, on your stomach, and on one of your sides. Let us explain to you why these positions matter in your recovery process and how they can affect your sleep and health.
Try sleeping in a sitting position
It’s best if you sleep in a sitting position or, if impossible, a half-sitting position. This way you will reduce pressure both on your stomach and on your lungs. It may be difficult at first, but this way you will experience less body pressure on the operated area. A recliner might help if you don’t feel comfortable sleeping this way. A recliner is an armchair or a sofa that reclines when you lower its back and raises its front. If you tried it and still don’t feel comfortable, try to sleep on your back.
Which side is best to sleep on after the gastric sleeve?
Can you sleep on your side after gastric sleeve surgery? It may be difficult for you to sleep in a sitting position, or even in a half-sleeping position if you are not used to it. Luckily, sleeping on one of your sides is good for your health as well. The best side sleeping position after gastric sleeve surgery is on your left side. It will help your stomach to stay steady while you are asleep. However, this doesn’t mean sleeping on the right side is bad for you. A study shows that sleeping on the right side reduces heart pressure.
Both sides have their advantages. What’s important is in which position you feel more comfortable. You can also consider changing positions, too.
Remember though about putting a pillow between your legs while sleeping on your side, so that your spine is set in a comfortable position.
Why can't you sleep on your belly?
If you like sleeping on your belly, you will probably ask, “can I sleep on my stomach after gastric sleeve?” The answer is, no – after the sleeve gastrectomy surgery sleeping on your belly is highly discouraged. It won’t be good either for your comfort or your recovery.
Sleeping on your belly will be really uncomfortable after abdominal surgery. Most probably it won’t be your first choice even if you’re a stomach sleeper. Sleeping on your stomach will put a lot of pressure on your abdomen and your lungs. Breathing will be difficult for you at night, especially if you have sleep apnea. You may then wake up while you sleep and disturb your sleeping routine this way.
Keep in mind that it will take some time for your wounds to heal, so it’s better not to put any excessive pressure on them for at least a couple of weeks following your weight-loss surgery.
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