How to Sleep After Shoulder Surgery: Positions & Recovery Tips

Ouch! Just had shoulder surgery and sleep feels like a distant dream? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Between the pain and weird sleeping positions, catching some Zzz’s can be a real struggle.

But, there’s good news! This guide is here to help. We’ll show you how to manage pain, find comfy ways to snooze, and get your sleep schedule back to normal. Time to ditch those restless nights and cruise through recovery!

Shoulder surgery got you sleepless? Pain, slings, and weird positions can disrupt your slumber. But fear not! Our guide helps you manage pain, find comfy sleep positions, and create a relaxing bedtime routine. Get your sleep back and recover faster!

Let’s dive in!

Understanding Sleep After Shoulder Surgery

How to Sleep After Shoulder Surgery

So you just had shoulder surgery, congratulations on taking the first step towards recovery! But let’s be honest, sleep probably isn’t high on your priority list right now.

Between the pain and the sling situation, getting comfortable feels like a mission impossible. The truth is, getting a good night’s sleep after shoulder surgery is a challenge.

Here’s why:

  • Pain is a Party Pooper: Pain can make it hard to relax and drift off. Every movement might send a jolt through your shoulder, waking you right up.
  • Sleeping Positions are Tricky: Gone are the days of sprawling out like a starfish. Depending on your doctor’s instructions, you might need to sleep on your back or propped up on an incline, which can feel unnatural and uncomfortable.
  • Sling Life Ain’t Easy: Wearing a sling for support can feel restrictive and bulky, making it hard to find a position that feels secure and pain-free.

But wait! Don’t despair! While sleep might be a struggle right now, there are solutions. In the next section.

SEE MORE: How to Sleep After Bunion Surgery: Positions, Recovery & Care

Recovery Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

Conquering sleep after shoulder surgery is all about creating a comfortable and pain-free environment. Here are some key tips to help you become a sleep master during recovery:

Conquering the Pain Monster:

  • Pain Meds are Your Friend: Don’t be a hero! Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding pain medication. Talk to them about the best timing to ensure the medication helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Ice It Before Bed: Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to your shoulder for 15-20 minutes before bedtime. This can help reduce inflammation and pain, making it easier to drift off.

Finding Your Sleep Oasis:

  • Sling Savvy: Listen to your doctor’s instructions on wearing your sling at night. If you can, try to position the sling so your arm is supported and elevated, preventing it from hanging uncomfortably.
  • Pillow Power: Become a pillow architect! Prop yourself up with pillows to create an incline (think comfy backrest). Use additional pillows to cradle your injured shoulder and arm, providing extra support and preventing awkward movements.
  • Side Sleeper Solution: If you normally sleep on your side, talk to your doctor about when it’s safe to resume this position. Once you get the green light, prop yourself on your uninjured side with pillows for comfort and support.

Regaining Your Sleep Routine:

  • Lights Out, World Away: Create a sleep-conducive environment. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Avoid screen time (phones, laptops) for at least an hour before bed as the blue light can disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Relaxation Rituals: Develop a relaxing bedtime routine. Take a warm bath, listen to calming music, or do some gentle stretches (check with your doctor first!). The body responds by winding down and preparing for sleep.
  • Be Patient: Recovery takes time, and so does getting your sleep back on track. If you don’t see results right away, don’t get discouraged. Stick with your sleep hygiene practices and be patient with your body as it heals.

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Additional Considerations

While pain management and sleep positioning are key, here are some additional things to keep in mind for a smooth recovery:

Side Sleeping After Surgery:

This is a common question – when can you finally cuddle up on your side again? The answer depends on your specific surgery and healing process.

It’s best to talk to your doctor about a timeline for transitioning back to side sleeping. They’ll advise you on when it’s safe and how to position yourself with pillows for optimal support and protection of your healing shoulder.

Extra Recovery Tips:

Beyond sleep, there are other ways to support your recovery:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids helps your body heal and fights fatigue. Drink eight glasses of water a day.
  • Healthy Diet: Fuel your body with nutritious foods to promote healing and give you the energy you need for recovery exercises.
  • Pain Management Beyond Meds: Talk to your doctor about alternative pain management options like physical therapy or heat therapy, which can help alongside medication.
  • Patience is Key: Remember, recovery takes time. Listen to your body and do not push yourself too hard. Celebrate small victories and focus on making steady progress.

READ ALSO: Best Sleeping Position After Abdominal Surgery & Fast Recovery

FAQs: Sleep After Shoulder Surgery

Q1: How long will it be before I can sleep comfortably again?

A: Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Sleep comfort after surgery depends on the type of surgery, pain levels, and individual healing.

However, with pain management and proper positioning, you should see improvement within a few days to a week.

Q2: Is it okay to take a sleeping pill if my pain medication isn’t helping me sleep?

A: It’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any additional medication, including sleep aids.

They can advise you on safe options that won’t interfere with your pain medication or recovery process.

Q3: I can’t seem to get comfortable on my back, any suggestions?

A: Some people find sleeping on their back uncomfortable after shoulder surgery. Talk to your doctor to see if there are any modified positions you can try, like using pillows to create a slight incline or propping yourself up on your uninjured side with pillows (once your doctor gives the okay).

Q4: My sling is itchy and irritating at night, what can I do?

A: Skin irritation from the sling is common. Try wearing a loose-fitting cotton shirt under the sling to reduce friction.

If the itchiness persists, consult your doctor to see if there are alternative sling materials or techniques to minimize discomfort.

Q5: Is it normal to feel more tired during recovery?

A: Absolutely! Surgery and pain take a toll on your body. Don’t be surprised if you feel more fatigued than usual. Whenever possible, prioritize sleep and get enough rest.

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