Sleeping Comfortably After Getting a Revision Rhinoplasty: Quality sleep is one of the most important steps to follow after a rhinoplasty. The surgery may not feel major, but recovery time is still required.
What Does Post-Surgery Mean?
Revision rhinoplasty can change both the size and shape of the nose. Regardless if you are getting a rhinoplasty for medical or cosmetic reasons, the post-surgery phase is the same.
Post-surgery refers to the time directly after the surgery has finished. This is the time when you may or may not still be under anesthesia. It is one of the most vulnerable and critical times of the process.
Generally, patients are not allowed to drive home post-surgery. Even if the effects of anesthesia have worn off, it’s still recommended to have someone waiting for you after the rhinoplasty. This is partly because they can help with the driving and prescriptions that are necessary for a full recovery.
Post-surgery is a part of the recovery process. It is the first part of healing before moving toward your regular day-to-day activities. The first part of post-surgery is probably the most important: sleep.
Sleeping During Recovery
It can take up to a year before nose swelling completely goes away. The noticeable swelling will gradually disappear during the recovery process, but the swelling located inside the nose may take longer. This is part of the reason why sleep is both necessary and difficult.
Why Sleep Is the Natural Healer
The body will naturally try to heal itself after surgery. Sleep plays a critical role in this process for several reasons.
Sleep boosts the immune system. When we are least aware of ourselves, our bodies produce cytokines in our sleep. This type of protein focuses on inflammation and infection so the immune system can work properly. Without enough sleep, the body is more likely to succumb to illness and infection.
Some consider sleep even more effective at healing than nutrition. The risk of bruising or bumping wounds significantly decreases once you’re in a sedentary lifestyle. In addition to preventing further damage, blood flow will increase. This is helpful in the reproduction of human cells.
Revision Rhinoplasty vs. Sleep
Sleeping is not always easy after revision rhinoplasty. While your body may be tired, finding a comfortable position is usually harder than it seems.
Patients must pay attention to their sleep position directly after surgery. Since rhinoplasty focuses on the face, many people assume sleeping on your back is the only position possible. Sleep modifications are an option for those who prefer to sleep on their side.
The number one post-surgery sleep position involves lying down at an angle with your head elevated. Other than a leg extension, it is similar to sitting down. It is helpful for many patients to practice proper sleep hygiene to make the process easier.
Tips for Falling Asleep
Sleep hygiene helps patients fall asleep faster. By practicing these helpful hints you should start to feel drowsy after approximately one hour.
Have a routine. Change your clothes, brush your teeth, and read a chapter in the latest book. Practicing this every night will help signal your brain that it’s time to end the day.
Minimize light. Turning off all screens an hour before bed can help unwind. This includes phones, tablets, laptops, and TVs.
Use melatonin. Melatonin is one option to naturally fall asleep using a supplement. Melatonin interacts with the body’s natural hormones and receptors to improve the quality of sleep on a nightly basis.
How To Get Comfortable
If you already practice sleep hygiene, a few at-home tips can help you sleep comfortably after a rhinoplasty.
For those who sleep on their side, it can feel extremely uncomfortable to try a forward-facing position. To make sleeping easier it’s recommended that patients try sleeping on their back before surgery. This will prepare patients for a few weeks in recovery.
Propping pillows on either side of the body also helps. This prevents you or your partner from accidentally rolling over. Firm pillows work best for this trick.
Make sure your hair is completely out of your face. Loose hair can get tangled during the night and may fall, annoyingly, in your face. Wearing a hair tie or even a shower cap may protect your nose from your own hand.
Squishy neck pillows often help patients that sleep on their side. By using the pillow at an angle it mimics the gravity and position. Towels or folded clothes can also mold comfortably around your head.
Sleeping in cool air makes some people feel cozy under the blankets. This is not a different position to try, but it can create the right atmosphere for deep sleep.
This is also true when listening to a podcast or radio show before bed. There are multiple guided meditations available for free online. Even the sound of white noise can soothe a restless night.
What Not To Do
Sleeping alone is recommended for at least the first few nights. The nose is especially vulnerable during these first few days and it needs to be protected. If there is further trauma to the area, this can reverse the surgical treatment.
Pets are also discouraged from sleeping in the same bed. Even after a few nights, it is still not safe to sleep with an animal that could unintentionally knock your nose. If possible, it’s best to wait a week or two until sleeping with your dog.
Drinking lots of caffeine may keep you up at night. While having a cup of coffee in the morning is fine, sodas and certain tea should be avoided after two pm. High-fat foods with lots of sugar may also prohibit sleep.
Relaxing After a Revision Rhinoplasty
A revision rhinoplasty does not take longer to heal than a rhinoplasty. Even though it is a second procedure, it still requires the same post-surgery care.
In addition to sleep, Dr. Becker recommends engaging in stress-relief activities. Reading or crossword puzzles can prove very helpful while relaxing the body. For more information about revision rhinoplasty, call The Rhinoplasty Center at 609.436.5740.