For some patients, one of the toughest things to get used to after facial plastic surgery, whether they have a facelift, brow lift or rhinoplasty, is the change in sleeping position. If you’re used to sleeping on your side or on your stomach, suddenly having to sleep on your back, with your head propped up, to help minimize swelling and prevent injury to the still-healing area, can be quite a change. While it might take a bit of getting used to, there are a few things you can do to help yourself fall fast asleep on the nights immediately following your surgery.
Try to Relax
One of the best ways to fall asleep (and stay asleep) as you recover from a facelift or other facial surgery is to take the time to relax and unwind first. Stop looking at any type of screen, whether it’s your computer, tablet, phone, or even the television, at least 30 minutes before you plan on turning in for the night. The blue light from screens can lower your melatonin levels and make falling asleep more difficult.
Along with cutting down on screen time, you might to rethink the activities you do right before bed. Spending a few minutes meditating or taking deep breaths can help your body unwind, as can reading a light novel or magazine. Soaking in a tub of warm water can also help you relax and prepare for sleep. Just make sure you follow your surgeon’s instructions when it comes to getting your face wet.
If you regularly consume a lot of caffeine, you might want to cut back to help yourself sleep after facial plastic surgery. Instead of having a cup of coffee in the hours before bed, try a cup of herbal tea. You can also try a classic trick parents have used on children for years and try drinking a glass of warmed milk before you head up to bed.
Make Your Bedroom a Sanctuary
If you have trouble falling asleep under normal circumstances, it might be that your bedroom is partly to blame. It’s usually recommended that you limit the number of activities that take place the bed. If you’re using it as a family gathering room, a work room, and a place for sleeping, it’s easy for wires to get crossed and for you to have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Move the laptop and TV out of the room and ask your family not to congregate in there (that’s what living rooms are designed for).
It could also be that the decor of your room is too stimulating, making it hard to fall asleep. If there’s a lot of bold color or vibrant patterns in your bedroom, consider replacing them with more neutral or toned down shades, before your surgery, if possible.
Invest in Pillows
A good pillow can make the difference between a night spent wide awake and a peaceful night’s sleep. It can be helpful to invest in special pillows to help you sleep after your procedure. A wedge shaped pillow will give you enough support and will keep your head elevated, minimizing swelling and discomfort.
Pillows can also help you stay still throughout the night, which is important when you’re recovering from rhinoplasty. You don’t want to roll over onto your side or stomach and bump your nose in the process. When you climb into bed every night, position pillows along either side of your body, to keep yourself in place and prevent any tossing or turning.
Make Yourself Comfortable
Several factors can affect how comfortable you feel at night and how well your sleep. The first is how much pain you are dealing with. While pain after surgery is usually minimal, it can make sleeping difficult during the first few days after a procedure. If that is the case for you, taking a pain reliever prescribed by your surgeon can help bring down the pain and help you get to sleep.
The temperature of the room also affects your comfort level. If it’s really hot in there, no one will get a good night’s sleep. Make sure you run the air conditioning at night during the hot months and don’t be afraid to keep it very cool. You might see a bump in your energy bill, but it’ll be worth it if you’re able to get six to eight hours of sleep instead of lying restlessly awake at night.
Dr. Stephen P. Smith, a fourth generation facial plastic surgeon in Ohio, wishes a comfortable recovery for all of his patients. If you have questions about your recovery or want to learn more about a specific facial plastic surgery, call 614-702-7342 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Smith at one of his two Ohio practices today.