Tips for a better night's sleep after facelift surgery

23 July 2021

Facial surgery - close up of a woman's faceBy plastic surgeon Dr Dirk Kremer

A facelift performed with care and expertise can achieve phenomenally natural looking results, but just like any other major surgery, going through the process to achieve said results can be exhausting and uncomfortable during the recovery period - albeit always so worth it in the eyes of so many past patients.

Following a facelift procedure there is no doubt you’ll need plenty of rest, but before jumping into your bed there are some things you should be aware of to make your recovery time as comfortable as possible…

The best position to sleep in after facelift surgery

You’re never going to feel 100% comfy when trying to get some sleep after the procedure, but to make life as comfortable as possible you should sleep on your back with your head slightly elevated - you can prop your head up with an extra pillow or two and box yourself in with other pillows to prevent yourself from accidentally tossing and turning during the night.

Many people naturally prefer to sleep on their stomach or side, so if you’re one of these people it could be a smart idea to try to get used to sleeping on your back during the lead up to your facelift surgery. Recliners are also great if you happen to have access to one, as they force you to remain on your back without the risk of turning onto your front or side.

The reason you should sleep on your back during the recovery period is because sleeping on your front or side can increase the swelling which in turn would prolong the healing process. Furthermore, it may also cause friction or unwanted pressure to your face, which could aggravate the healing tissues around the site of your facelift and potentially reopen the incisions.

Achieve a comfortable environment for your facelift recovery

There are many factors that can hinder you from having good night's of rest after facial rejuvenation surgery, including anxiety, swelling, pain and struggling to adjust to a new sleeping position. Sleep is a vital part of the recovery process, so follow these recommendations to create a more comfortable sleeping environment:

Prepare for your downtime

It will likely take a few weeks before you are feeling ready to return to full normality, so before your facelift surgery takes place prepare things in advance. Leave yourself with no cleaning to do, have some meals prepared for the immediate days that follow and finish running any outstanding errands that won’t be able to wait. Prepare your bed with the extra pillows you’ll need, and keep anything of use close to your bed, such as medication,  phone charger, magazines, remote control etc.

Remind yourself of what’s coming

The vast majority of people find facelift surgery to be far less painful than expected - they tend to find it more uncomfortable than painful. Despite this, patients can still feel stressed and anxious about how they physically appear in the days that follow. It’s important to remind yourself that you’ll look worse before you begin to look better because the swelling and bruising will need time to subside. Stress and anxiety will never help with a good night's sleep, so understand that how you look a few days after your procedure is no indication of how you’ll look just a few weeks further down the line.

Ease the swelling

For the majority of facelift patients, discomfort when trying to sleep tends to stem from the swelling. Cold compresses wrapped in a cloth or light towel and lightly pressed on the areas of swelling can help alleviate a lot of the discomfort. Gently press them against your face in 30-60 second intervals, for 15-20 minutes - then take an hour or two break in-between. Be sure not to apply ice packs directly onto the skin as this can cause skin burn.

There are many other things you can do to remain as comfortable as possible while recovering from facelift surgery, such as keeping yourself lightly active once you feel up to it to ensure your body doesn’t stiffen up and to keep your blood circulation flowing, avoiding caffeine due to the way it can disrupt sleep, regularly cleaning your face very lightly with a damp cloth - but only once your plastic surgeon advises it’s ok to do so - or by simply asking friends and family for help when you need it.

Why not learn about things you can do to help maintain a facelift?

If you’re keen to learn more about the facelift surgery, including my signature TBT facelift procedure, or would like to discuss any of the other cosmetic surgeries that I offer here at Harley Street Aesthetics, don’t hesitate to get in touch so that we can book in your initial consultation. Contact us today by calling 0845 519 7232, e-mailing or by completing our simple online contact form.


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