Health & Wellness

Sleeping Positions After Open Heart Surgery: 10 Things to Know

Are you looking for sleeping positions after open heart surgery? After surgery, patients may experience different types of pain and discomfort. Sleeping positions can help reduce the pain and inflammation that occurs while you are sleeping. Additionally, certain sleeping positions can help improve your breathing and circulation.

If you’re like most people, you probably sleep in various positions. However, after open heart surgery (OHS), some people find it difficult to sleep in the same position for an extended period of time. In this post, we discuss the different sleeping positions after OHS and provide tips on how to sleep comfortably after OHS.

Read on to help you find the best sleeping position after open heart surgery!

In This Article

  1. Sleeping Positions After Open Heart Surgery
  2. What is the best position to sleep after heart surgery
  3. How long after open heart surgery can I sleep on my stomach
  4. Can I sleep on my left side after open heart surgery

Sleeping Positions After Open Heart Surgery

Sleeping Positions After Open Heart Surgery

It is advised to sleep upright during the first few weeks post-surgery for proper healing of the chest bone. You can sleep in a chair or a fold-up bed. To support your spine and neck, use a neck cushion.

Some people tend to sleep on their stomachs; however, they are not advised in this sleeping position after heart surgery. Try sleeping on your side as an alternative. But be careful to only sleep on your right side, as sleeping on the left side can worsen chest pain and breathing issues.

Some general tips that may help include:

1. Avoid Sleeping on your Back

This is the most common sleeping position after open heart surgery, and it can cause increased pressure on the surgical site. Instead, sleep on your right side to reduce pressure and improve blood flow.

2. Avoid Sleeping on your Left side

This position can aggravate the lung area and lead to breathing problems. Instead, sleep on your right side if possible.

3. Use a Pillow or wedge pillow

A pillow between your legs can help reduce pain and support the lower spine. Additionally, using a pillow during sleep can keep your head from tilting backward, leading to neck pain in some people.

4. Avoid Sleeping in the same Position for more than two Hours

Your body needs time to adjust to new sleeping positions, so avoid staying still for too long in one spot. Instead, move around every few hours to keep your body moving and avoid stiffness or pain in any area.

5. Elevate your bedding

If possible, elevate it, so it is at least six inches off the ground. This will help improve your circulation and help reduce inflammation and swelling.

6. Try Sleeping on a soft mattress

A firm bed can be uncomfortable after surgery and may lead to increased pain and inflammation.

7. Avoid heavy lifting

Heavy lifting may increase the risk of further injury, so please be careful not to overdo it. Instead, focus on gentle activities such as walking or yoga.

8. Drink plenty of fluids

Hydration is key after any surgery, especially open heart surgery. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and avoid drinking juice or alcohol, which can increase the risk of dehydration.

9. Get plenty of rest

You must get plenty of rest after surgery to help reduce the risk of complications. Make sure to take it easy for the first few weeks and let your body heal properly.

10. Talk with your Doctor

If you cannot get comfortable in any of the above positions, speak with your doctor about possible sleeping aids or devices that can help improve your sleep.

What is the best position to sleep after heart surgery?

The right side is the best position to sleep after heart surgery. Some people tend to sleep on their stomachs. However, this position is not advised following heart surgery.

Try sleeping on your side as an alternative. But be careful to only sleep on your right side, as sleeping on the left side can worsen chest pain and breathing issues.

How long after open heart surgery can I sleep on my stomach?

You should generally avoid sleeping on your stomach for the first six to eight weeks after open heart surgery. After that time, you may gradually resume sleeping on your stomach. In general, you shouldn’t sleep on your stomach for more than two hours at a time.

If you experience discomfort or pain when sleeping on your stomach, you may want to speak with your doctor about other options for sleeping.

Can I sleep on my left side after open heart surgery?

It is generally recommended that people should sleep on their right side after open heart surgery. Sleeping on their left side after open heart surgery could increase the risk of respiratory problems.

If you choose to sleep on your left side, make sure to elevate your pillow so that your head and neck are elevated as much as possible.

In closing

Open heart surgery doesn’t just affect your health but also the way you sleep. That is why it is essential to be extra careful while choosing the right position to fall asleep.

Experts have recommended sleeping on your left side after open heart surgery as this can help reduce pressure on the damaged area and make sleeping more comfortable.

Have you ever faced any complications while falling asleep? Share your experience here!

References

  1. Sleep disturbances after open heart surgery – PubMed
  2. Sleep disturbances post coronary artery bypass surgery
  3. Improving sleep after open heart surgery

Dr Maria

MD. Board Certified physician. Fellowship In Family Medicine UK. 8 years of medical experience in Lifestyle-related health disorders. Graduated from AIIMS – All India Institute Of Medical Science, INDIA

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