Any surgery is painful and finding a suitable sleeping position – one that won’t affect the surgical area – is integral to the healing process.

Getting The Best Sleep After Rhinoplasty

35-40 degree angle

After having rhinoplasty, to minimize swelling, it’s best if your head and nose are above the heart – at least for awhile after surgery. Ideally, if you have a reclining chair, it would be best to sleep in it for about a week after surgery. Failing that you could use a few pillows to prop up your head. Sleeping in a midline position will not only reduce swelling but nasal congestion making it easier for you to fall asleep.

Your surgeon knows best

It’s important to be a comfortable as possible and to try to be well-rested, but you also don’t want to risk bumping your nose. Initially, lying on your side may cause asymmetrical bruising and swelling. You might inadvertently bump your nose this way as well. Your surgeon will give you the best sleeping instructions.

First few weeks are most important

Remember, your nose will be changing for many months after surgery and it’s during those first few weeks that sleep patterns have the most effect on the ultimate outcome. Sleeping on your stomach (where your nose is most compromised) six weeks after surgery may cause your nose to swell slightly, but shouldn’t affect the overall positive outcome of your rhinoplasty.

Sleep position is not the only factor

If you normally sleep with your spouse/partner or even allow a pet on your bed, now is the time to go solo for awhile. You don’t want to have someone’s hand or paw accidentally hit your nose. Not only would that be painful, but it could affect the end result of your surgery – not something you want to risk.


Post-operative rest is crucial. And since some will find it hard to sleep in an almost upright position for the first week or so, doing (or not doing) things that could inhibit restful sleep is the best course of action. Try to stay away from caffeine. It is not conducive to a good night’s rest. Instead, try a decaffeinated herbal tea like chamomile before bedtime.

Dr. Oakley Smith specializes in rhinoplasty. He will answer all the questions you might have regarding post-operative dos and don’ts, including sleep positions. Call his office today to schedule a consultation if you’re thinking about rhinoplasty.

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