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How long do you have to sleep on your back after breast augmentation?

Breast augmentation, also known as augmentation mammoplasty, is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries performed today. During this procedure, implants are placed under the breast tissue or chest muscle to increase breast size. Recovery time varies for each patient, but there are general guidelines to follow for optimal healing, including instructions for sleeping position.

Immediately After Surgery

In the first 24 hours after breast augmentation surgery, patients are advised to sleep propped up on several pillows or in a recliner chair. Sleeping completely upright allows proper blood circulation and drainage from the breasts as the incision sites begin healing. This helps reduce swelling and the risk of fluid buildup. Patients are also advised to sleep on their backs during this initial recovery period to avoid putting pressure on the chest and breasts.

Tips for sleeping upright:

  • Use 4-5 pillows to prop yourself in an inclined position
  • Place pillows under your knees for comfort and support
  • Use pillows under your arms to keep your hands and elbows propped up
  • Try a recliner chair that allows you to sleep in an upright or slightly inclined position
  • Avoid straining your neck by using soft pillows or a small rolled towel as a neck support

The First Week After Surgery

During the first week after surgery, your surgeon will likely advise you to continue sleeping propped up on your back. This allows the implants to settle into position properly and helps relieve tension on the incision sites as they continue healing. Sleeping on your side or stomach places pressure on the breasts that can shift the implant position. Back sleeping also reduces the risk of post-surgical complications like fluid buildup or capsular contracture.

Tips for back sleeping in the first week:

  • Aim for an incline of 30-45 degrees
  • Continue using extra pillows for propping, comfort and arm support
  • A body pillow can help maintain back positioning
  • Wear a supportive post-surgery bra 24/7, including while sleeping

Your surgeon may recommend switching to a sports bra or soft bra without underwire after a few days. But no bra is usually advised for the first 24 hours so bandages and dressings can be monitored.

After 1-2 Weeks

After the first week or two of recovery, your surgeon may clear you to start sleeping on your side in addition to your back. Side sleeping becomes an option once initial healing has taken place and the risk of implant shifting decreases. Slowly transitioning from upright back sleeping to side sleeping can help you adjust.

Here are tips for side sleeping after breast augmentation:

  • A body pillow or other supportive padding between your breasts can minimize pressure
  • Try alternating sides during the night
  • Use a soft supportive bra, sports bra or post-surgical compression bra
  • Place a pillow under your mid-back for alignment and to prevent rolling onto your stomach

As you incorporate side sleeping, continue using pillows to maintain a slightly inclined back sleeping position as well. Combining back and side positioning, while gradually making the incline less steep, allows your body to adjust to the implants over time.

After 6 Weeks

Most surgeons recommend avoiding stomach sleeping for 4-6 weeks after breast augmentation. At around 6 weeks, once initial healing is complete, you may be cleared to start slowly easing into stomach sleeping. However, many patients choose to avoid stomach sleeping long-term to prevent pressure on the breasts and implants over time.

Here are some tips if you choose to stomach sleep after 6 weeks:

  • Use soft pillows or padding to create space between your chest and the mattress
  • Try sleeping face down but turned slightly to one side
  • Place a pillow under your pelvis and hips to minimize arching of the back
  • Choose a very soft mattress and supportive bra
  • Limit stomach sleeping to short periods to avoid discomfort

As always, follow your surgeon’s specific guidance on sleeping position timelines. The above general timeline must be adjusted based on your individual healing process and recovery.

Long-Term Sleeping Position Guidelines

While your surgeon will provide specific instructions for sleeping position in the first 6 weeks after surgery, you may wonder – how long do you need to sleep on your back after breast augmentation? Here are some general long-term guidelines:

  • After the initial 6 week healing period, you may sleep in any position that feels comfortable as long as it does not cause pain or discomfort to the breasts or implant area.
  • To reduce implant pressure over time, aim to sleep on your back or side whenever possible.
  • Avoid stomach sleeping as a regular long-term position.
  • Use supportive pillows and padding during side or stomach sleeping to minimize pressure.
  • Wear a lightweight bra, sports bra or soft bralette when sleeping to provide support.
  • Adjust your sleeping position if you notice any discomfort, swelling or changes to your implants or breast shape.

While back sleeping is most important in the initial recovery stages after surgery, maintaining good sleep habits and minimizing pressure on your breasts long-term can help preserve your augmentation results. Be sure to discuss sleeping position and duration guidelines with your plastic surgeon during pre-op planning and post-op appointments.


It’s crucial to follow your surgeon’s timeline for sleeping position in the weeks following breast augmentation surgery. Initially sleeping upright and progressing slowly to side and possibly stomach sleeping allows proper healing and implant settling. While back sleeping is key early on, after 6 weeks you can resume normal sleep positions as long as no discomfort occurs. To protect results long-term, aim to sleep on your back or sides whenever possible. Listen to your body and adjust position as needed for optimal recovery.