Sleep Recovery After Surgery
The Daily Doze
Post-surgical recovery is a delicate time for anyone, with all your available energies going towards healing and repair.
Many patients experience sleep problems and disturbances in the days and weeks following a surgical procedure. They report decreased sleep time, increased sleep disturbances, lower sleep quality, night sweats, and even nightmares.
In the hospital, sleep loss is common for its own set of reasons:
- External Disturbances
Nurses and doctors come and go in your hospital room to check vitals, and give medication every few hours. Moreover, hospitals are noisy places, and monitoring devices in your body can cause discomfort.
- Drugs / Medication / Anesthetics
Narcotic pain or morphine-based medication can interfere with sleep, causing insomnia, sleep disturbances, and “jitters.” Narcotic pain medication may decrease airway control during sleep, causing sleep apnea and snoring.
- Pain or Surgical Trauma
Aches and pains felt throughout the body, even if more manageable than your pre-operative symptoms, can make it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, and reach deep sleep.
- Increased Stress
Sleep problems may begin even before surgery. Feelings of anxiety and stress about undergoing the procedure can make it difficult to sleep.
Post-surgery is a crucial period when you’ll need even more restorative sleep to help recover from the stress of surgery. Sleep disturbances can increase health risks, cardiovascular events risk and thus delay recovery.
Your body doesn’t shut down when you sleep. Our bodies go on regenerative mode and are busy mending and rejuvenating to be refreshed and energized for the next day and the next chapter in our lives.
Check out these expert sleep tips on recovering from specific areas of surgery!
Spinal Fusion / Back Surgery
The position in which you sleep can greatly impact your sleep quality and spine health. Avoid lying on your stomach – this position puts stress on your back and disc spaces.
It’s best to avoid sleeping this way, but if you need to lie on your stomach, place a pillow beneath your chest and stomach to help relieve some pressure.
The recommended sleep positions for back surgery patients are on your back and on your side.
When you sleep on your back, you can reduce the chances of complications. Adding a pillow under your legs can relieve stress on your spine. Avoid sleeping with your arms tucked beneath your neck, as it will add pressure to your neck and shoulder area.
Sleeping on your side can also alleviate pain and pressure. Alternating between sleeping on your left and right to distribute pressure and improve spine alignment.
Read more: Your Mattress: The Hidden Culprit Behind Your Back Pain
The best sleeping position to help ease your pain after neck surgery is on your back. Stomach sleeping is not advised. To protect your neck, use a Majestic Pillow to keep your spine in a neutral position. You can also use a U-shaped travel pillow or rolled-up towel to assist your neck.
If you prefer to sleep on your side, place the pillow between your legs to ensure your whole spine gets full support. On your back, place a pillow under your knees with your knees bent.
Back and side positions are typically recommended -- with a few modifications to alleviate pain where you need it. Experts suggest the strategic use of pillows to align the curves of your back. Sleep on your non-operative side with pillows between your legs and avoid bending your knees. If the surgery is on your legs, take care in not turning or twisting your leg inward; nor should you cross your legs or ankles.
Read more: Sleep and Arthritis: How to Sleep Better with Joint Pain
General Tips on Improving Sleep Post-Surgery
Sleep is essential for recovery and healing after any surgical procedure. Some disturbances may be unavoidable, but taking the proper steps can improve the quality of your rest and recovery.
Optimize your sleep environment to reduce noise, light, and external stimuli during nighttime. Finally, invest in a superior sleep surface and pillow. Since sleep is so essential in aiding recovery, your mattress is just as important as the need for medications, natural remedies, and self-care measures intended to relieve pain.
Our Majestic Plus, Ergo Comfort, and Majestic Solution 1 are designed to aid in recovery from surgery and built to minimize pressure.
Want more info and support? Speak to our sleep specialists regarding your conditions and symptoms to best recommend a bed suitable for you. Your journey for a pain-free life is within reach!
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Learning more about better sleep will help you find and make the adjustments that will work for you. Check out our other blog posts to enrich your information on sleep:
- How Sleep and Heart Health Affect Each Other
- Sleep and Arthritis: How to Sleep Better with Joint Pain
Our Majestic Beds Team Sleep Experts would be more than happy to advise you about relieving pain or discomfort and getting a better night’s sleep. We can help you find the best solution to your sleep needs.
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