Tips to Help You Sleep After Heart Surgery

Posted by Heart Hugger on Feb 11, 2020 12:15:00 PM

sleeping after heart surgery

It is quite common for patients to complain of having trouble sleeping after heart surgery. It can mean added stress during recovery, as patients are tired and want sleep, and because most recognize how vital sleep is to the recovery process

Let's take a look at some of the factors that affect post-surgery sleep patterns as well as tips to help you sleep better.

Things That Can Impact Your Sleep After Surgery

It can be helpful to understand the different variables that can reduce your ability to sleep. The most common reasons for an inability to sleep include:

  • Anesthesia's lingering effects
  • Pain or discomfort 
  • Disruptions to your daily routines
  • Stress, worry, or concern stemming from the surgery or other issues in your life

Fortunately, physical symptoms can be addressed with pain management techniques and will begin to get better over time. Patients tend to get accustomed to changes in their routine relatively quickly as well, so it might be helpful for you to know that sleep issues will improve with time on their own. 

Tips For Better Sleep After Heart Surgery

Of course, knowing things will get better later doesn't help you when sleep is elusive now. Try out some or all of these tips to help you rest easier. 

Pain Management

You will likely be prescribed some pain medication, so talk to your doctor about the best times to take them. Ask specifically about when to take them before bedtime for maximum benefit. 

Ensuring you don't overdo any physical activity during the day can also help you at bedtime. Consider a surgical support device like Heart Hugger for physical support and pain relief. Heart Hugger offers maximum comfort, accelerated healing, and overall relief during your recovery process.


One of the most powerful things you can do after heart surgery is create a routine. Routines can help your body learn the signals of rest, relaxation, and when it's time to go to bed. Some of the tasks to consider adding into a daily schedule include:

  • Taking pain medication at specific times
  • Avoiding long naps and taking strategic, shorter ones earlier in the day
  • Slowly incorporating activity and balancing it with rest
  • Creating a bedtime routine with relaxing rituals 
  • Stopping caffeine intake at a set time in the afternoon 

Though your typical routine is disrupted, adapting to a new routine during your recovery is easy if you stick to it from the very beginning. This is most important when it comes to bedtime routines and those tasks throughout the day that might impact your sleep later. 

Ask For Help

You'll need help in a variety of ways after surgery, so don't be afraid to seek it out -- from loved ones and from tools. Some ways you might ask for help related to sleep are:

  • Enlisting your spouse or friend to chat when you're feeling anxious
  • Listening to relaxing music, guided meditations, or any other soothing sounds you find helpful
  • Asking for a back or shoulder rub
  • Getting help when needed to get comfortable by arranging pillows or shifting positions

Take Care of Your Body

It's crucial that you be kind to yourself and listen to what your body is telling you. Overexerting yourself can cause more pain, resulting in less sleep and a longer recovery time. 

Additionally, it can be useful to treat yourself as you're healing. That might mean something as taking a relaxing shower in the evening, snuggling up with a favorite blanket, or reading a good book to wind down before bed. 

In many cases, patients recovering from heart surgery don't have to sleep in a specific position. Be sure to ask your doctor about this so you can get comfortable at bedtime without worrying about disrupting your incision. 

Talk to Your Doctor If…

It's a good idea to chat with your doctor if your lack of sleep is making a pronounced difference on your wellbeing or recovery. You should also consult with your doctor if your sleep patterns do not return to normal within three weeks or so.

You'll likely have follow up appointments post-surgery, so don't be afraid to bring up any concerns you might have about your sleep. Physicians understand the importance of rest during recovery, and they will want to make sure you're getting as much of it as you can. 

Heart Hugger

Written by Heart Hugger

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