How to Sleep Better After a Facelift Surgery

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How to Sleep After a Facelift – Tips for Sleeping Better After Surgery

It’s not hard to understand why we have always sought to counteract the effects of time, from pursuing magic potions to considering cosmetic facial procedures. Facial surgery, in the form of facelifts, is one of many anti-ageing procedures that has been increasing in popularity in the past few years. A facelift should restore the natural youthful appearance of your face. Like any other surgery that involves tissue manipulation, a proper recovery period is needed to ensure the best possible results. Sleep is a crucial part of recovery after a facelift. It boosts your immunity, helps your body repair damaged tissue, as well as reduces inflammation and pain levels. Unfortunately, being able to sleep comfortably is difficult during the post-operative stage of facial surgery. In this article, you’ll learn more about facial rejuvenation, its recovery process, and how to sleep better during this period.

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What Is a Facelift? cosmetic-surgery-facelift-necklift-

A facelift is a facial rejuvenation procedure that lifts and tightens sagging facial tissue. It gives a more vibrant youthful look that will have you donating all your turtlenecks and scarves. Facial rejuvenation turns back the hands of time, consider this procedure if you have:

  • Droopy jowls and/or fading jawline
  • Droopy skin folds between your nose and mouth (nasolabial folds)
  • Visible lines between your mouth and chin (marionette lines)
  • A double chin
  • Saggy neck skin and/or midface drooping
  • or if you feel that your ageing appearance is affecting your self-image, career, or relationships

During your facial surgery, excess sagging skin is excised and removed, smoothing your skin folds and lifting your deep facial tissues into a more youthful facial contour. A neck lift (platysmaplasty) is often done with your facial rejuvenation procedure to remove any sagging skin around your neck. Overall, a facelift does not only make you look younger but overall, just better.

Read more about The Perfect Age for Getting a Face Lift.

What to Expect When Recovering After Facelift?

A standard facelift is an intricate procedure that requires the right set of skilled plastic surgeon’s hands. It is performed under general anaesthesia in an accredited hospital.

One of the most common concerns following a facelift is how soon will you look presentable after surgery. This is quite understandable when your face, unlike other aesthetic procedures that involve the body, cannot be covered by articles of clothing.

Instead, your facelift incisions will be covered by bandages to provide protection and gentle pressure to ease bruising and swelling. Bruising and swelling are expected and normal after a facelift. They reach their peak approximately two days following your surgery. In your 1-week follow-up appointment, your plastic surgeon will remove any bandages, sutures, etc, and you’ll notice that your bruising and swelling have started to fade. By 2 weeks, they should become barely noticeable.

Facial rejuvenation may be a 2 – 4 hour procedure, but the recovery process can take 2 – 4 weeks. Sleep is a vital part of your facelift recovery and the way you sleep can play a major role in how well your end results will look. Follow your plastic surgeon’s instruction to learn what sleeping position you should adopt at first, and how you can sleep comfortably following your facelift procedure.

What Is the Best Sleeping Position After a Facelift?

Facial surgery, like any other major procedure, can be exhausting. And as tempting as your bed might look, there are a few things that you should consider before getting comfy.

The ideal sleeping position for a facelift patient is to sleep on your back with your head slightly elevated. If you are one of many who tend to sleep on their tummy or sleep on their side, it’s wise to practice your new sleeping position a couple of weeks before your facial rejuvenation surgery for a smoother transition.

Any other sleeping position, like sleeping on your side or front should be avoided in the first weeks following your facial surgery. These positions can increase your swelling and prolong your recovery period. Moreover, they can cause friction to your face, aggravating the healing tissues at your facelift site.

Recliners, though expensive if not readily available, are a great option that forces you to stay on your back without the risk of tossing and turning. Any unwanted pressure on your face can cause your facelift incisions to reopen. Using extra pillows is a more economic option and can achieve similar results when recovering after facelift surgery. Just prop some pillows beneath your head to keep your chin slightly extended. It’s best to box yourself with even more pillows, placing them underneath both arms to prevent you from turning over while you rest.

Even well after your facelift recovery period ends. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists advise that sleeping on your back is a good habit to adopt. It relieves back pain, helps you breathe better and sleep better.

How to Sleep Comfortably After Facelift?

Anxiety, pain, swelling, adjusting to your new sleeping position are all factors that can hinder you from having a goodnight’s sleep after your facelift surgery. When sleep is an integral part of the healing process after a facial rejuvenation procedure, it’s important to follow these recommendations and tips to help you sleep better:

Be Prepared

Before your facelift surgery, clean up your house, prep some meals, and tie up any loose ends from work before taking time off. You can go an extra step to ensure that you sleep better, by making up your bed into a DIY recliner with some extra pillows before your facial surgery, as well as keep anything you might need from medication to headphones to your phone charger close to your bed. See The 5 Best Post-Operative Pillows for the Most Uncomfortable Surgeries.

Don’t Stress

A common theme when it comes to cosmetic surgeries, including facelifts, is that you’ll look worse before you look better. Do not allow the bruising and swelling that appears right after your facial surgery to scare you and cause you stress. You should understand that it is completely normal, along with other signs like puffed-up eyes and scrunched-up skin in front of your ears. Stress is notoriously known to adversely affect sleep quality, vice versa not having enough sleep contributes to increased stress levels. Therefore, always remind yourself that what you look now is no indication of how you will look once you fully recover from your facelift.  It is a process and takes time.

Manage Your Swelling

Most of the discomfort that facelift patients experience when they attempt sleep is due to swelling. Use cold compresses wrapped in a cloth to reduce swelling. Press them lightly on your face in thirty seconds intervals, for 15 minutes. Take a break after, then re-apply your cold compress after an hour or when needed. Cold helps reduce inflammation and swelling around your facelift site by slowing down your blood flow. This can provide comfort and speeds up the recovery process along the way.  Do not apply ice packs straight to the skin – you can cause skin burn.  Wet cloth in ice water is a nicer way to do things or wrap your ice mask/pack in a paper towel or a small towel.

Be Active

While any strenuous activity following surgery is prohibited in the first few weeks following the procedure, getting up and moving is encouraged. Facelifts, unlike other body procedures, does not leave you bedridden. So, it’s important to get going during your recovery period. This will not only improve your blood circulation but also improves your mood. Being completely inactive can make you feel restless and your body sore, robbing you of a goodnight’s sleep.

Go Caffeine-Free

Coffee, espressos, energy drinks, and even black tea contain caffeine, a notoriously known sleep disruptor. Caffeine, especially when combined with pain medications or antibiotics, can interfere with sleep. Swap your caffeinated drink with some herbal tea at night, its soothing warmth can easily help you slip into a more comfortable sleep with less disruptions.

Stay Clean

Having dried blood or fluid on your face from your facelift site is an irritating sensation to many patients who’ve undergone facial surgery. This can cause notable discomfort when you attempt to sleep. And while you’re not allowed to touch your face until advised, you can use a clean damp cloth to very lightly clean these areas. Always check with your surgeon first as each patient will differ.

Ask for Help

There’s no shame in needing some assistance after your facelift surgery. This can be from your partner, family member, or a close friend. Having someone that can take care of you the first few days following your facial surgery can be of great help. They can help drive you to and from your appointments, take care of your household, and help you with your medications. This will take a lot off of your shoulders, allowing you to recover more comfortably with your mind at ease.

FAQS about Sleep after a Facelift – Other frequently asked questions about sleeping after facelift

When can I sleep normally after a facelift?

  • You should sleep on your back the first few weeks following your facelift procedure. You may resume back to your normal sleeping position around 4 weeks from your facial surgery.

How do you take care of your face after a facelift?

  • To take care of your face after a facelift: sleep on your back with your head slightly elevated, wear your elastic wrap sling both day and night in the first week, and any time your home and at night for the 4 weeks after that. Apply cold compresses on your swollen tissue, avoid any makeup or products on your facelift site, and most importantly follow your plastic surgeon’s post-operative care instructions.

How bad does a facelift hurt?

  • Pain following a facelift is at its worst two to four days after your procedure, and your movement may be slightly less animated than usual. Your doctor will prescribe you pain medications to provide you with some relief and help you sleep better.

Can I ruin my facelift?

  • Sleeping in the wrong position after a Facelift can cause unnecessary pressure on your facelift incision site. This can irritate your facial tissues and, in some cases, lead to the re-opening of your facelift sutures. Moreover, not following your plastic surgeon’s instruction can increase the risk of infections and hematomas (blood collection outside blood vessels), two serious complications of facial rejuvenation. It is very important to follow the surgeon advice.

How long does a regular facelift last?

  • Facelift results are not permanent. They usually last about 10+ years. Surgery cannot remove gravity but it can slow it down.  Sleeping on your back, staying in good health and good skincare post-surgery are all things that will assist your surgical outcome.

Further Reading and Medical Sources:

Last updated: 13/06/2022
Author profile image
Dr Richard Sackelariou - MBBS, BMedSc, FRACS (Plast)
Dr Richard Sackelariou, MBBS, FRACS/FRCS, is a leading Sydney Specialist Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgeon who sees patients in two locations: Double Bay, Sydney and Melbourne VIC (Australia). Dr Sackelariou offers extensive experience in attaining natural-looking, excellent surgical results for patients of all ages. Graduate of Sydney University, FRACS, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery plus additional training in Cosmetic Surgery in Paris at the Clinique Turin in 1994. BIO PAGE: Click here

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What to do next?

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Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.