Sleep Plays a Crucial Role in Recovery

Sleep and Post-Operative Recovery

Sleep Plays a Crucial Role in Recovery

Friday 15th March is World Sleep Day and Valley Plastic Surgery marks the day by sharing the integral role that quality sleep plays in your recovery process.

Sleep disturbances are very common and familiar for many people and it’s easy to understand how surgery of any kind places the body under stress. Your body needs time to regenerate, recuperate and heal from the surgical procedure and sleep helps your body do just that. 

In fact, quality sleep plays a crucial role in your recovery in many ways, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy titled “The Healing Power of Sleep: Post-Surgery Recovery.”1

Helps reduce pain: As you sleep, your body releases natural endorphins that can help to alleviate pain while also promoting healing. In contrast, a lack of sleep can make you more sensitive to pain and discomfort.

Boosts the immune system: Surgery can temporarily weaken the immune system. Sleep is essential for immune function, as it allows the body to produce immune-boosting substances such as cytokines. A well-functioning immune system is crucial for warding off infection and preventing complications during the recovery period.

Reduces inflammation: When you have plastic surgery, it is normal for the body to have an inflammatory response in order to promote healing. However, this also contributes to swelling and discomfort. Quality sleep helps to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Improves mood: Plastic surgery recovery can be a stressful time, and changes to your normal routine can contribute to mood swings and negatively affect your overall well-being. Sleep helps to improve your mood and mental health, making your recovery more manageable.

Boosts collagen production: Collagen is a natural protein that is necessary for healthy skin and plays a vital role in the healing process. Your body produces collagen at higher levels during sleep.

How you sleep can be just as important:

Most plastic surgery procedures require a modified sleeping position for at least the first few days of your recovery; however each surgeon will be able to offer their advice – in conjunction with the VPS nursing team – depending on the type of procedure you’re undergoing. 

We understand that the modified sleeping positions may be difficult to get used to, yet it is important that these sleep positions are followed for the recommended time in order to achieve the final results you desire.

Tips for quality sleep during plastic surgery recovery:

If you are struggling to find a healthy sleep schedule during your plastic surgery recovery, these tips can help you create a quality sleep schedule that helps promote quality healing and get you on the fast road to recovery.

  • Create a comfortable environment: Your environment plays a major role in your sleep quality. For example, if your room is too hot, it may be difficult to sleep. Before your surgery, make sure your recovery room meets your comfort level.
  • Take post-operative pain medication as directed: Pain can often disrupt quality sleep so it is important that you take any pain medication at the prescribed intervals post-operatively in order to reduce potential pain that may wake you up. However, it is important to note that pain medication should never be used as a sleep aid.
  • Sleep alone to avoid disruption: After your surgery, it may be a good idea to sleep without your significant other, child or pets. Sleeping alone helps reduce the risk of potential injury, as well as sleep disruptions, such as snoring.
  • Change your sleeping location: If you must sleep with your head elevated, it may be easier to avoid your bed and instead sleep in a recliner. This helps ensure you stay on your back and your head remains elevated. If you are still sleeping in your bed but must remain on your back, try adding additional pillows that will help prevent you from rolling over.
  • Practice your sleep position prior to your surgery: Changing your sleeping position can be difficult and affect your ability to get quality sleep. Before your procedure, talk with your surgeon or the nursing team about the recommended sleep position and spend a week or so before your procedure adjusting to that new sleep position so it is not something new during your recovery.

The bottom line is that sleep is a vital component of post-surgery recovery. It plays a significant role in tissue repair, pain management, immune system support, inflammation reduction, and emotional wellbeing. Patients must absolutely prioritise sleep as part of their healing process and by following the tips provided and working closely with our healthcare team, patients can improve their sleep quality after surgery, contributing to a faster and more successful recovery.

Remember, quality sleep is not a luxury; it’s a necessity for a healthy and speedy recovery journey.


1.Anadia Z (2023) The Healing Power of Sleep: Post-Surgery Recovery. J Sleep Disord Ther. 12:465.

Note: Individual results will vary according to several factors, including genetics, age, diet & exercise. All surgeries carry risk & require an appropriate recovery period & aftercare regime which may include wearing compression garments or modifying your lifestyle post-operatively. You should seek a second opinion from a Specialist Surgeon before proceeding. More information about these risks and aftercare can be easily found on our website here: