Tips on Improving Sleep after Surgery

man sleeping after surgery

Even a minor surgical procedure can have a considerable effect on your sleep. There are a number of reasons why this occurs and understanding the source of your troubled sleep helps in having to deal with the consequences.


What Causes Insomnia after Surgery

There are a number of reasons why you may be having trouble falling asleep in the days after your surgery. In fact, many thousands of people have this issue which causes them to miss out on getting a good night’s sleep and then finding themselves feeling tired and drowsy in the days and weeks afterwards.

  • Effects of Anesthesia
  • Healing Discomfort
  • Stress Associated with Surgery or Re-establishment of Daily Routines
  • Discombobulating of the Daily Routine
Anesthesia creates an artificial effect in producing sleep that disrupts the normal sleep cycles. In essence, your own internal clock has been disrupted by the effects of the anesthetic. In addition, many people after surgery feel the pain from the healing process that is taking place. While the pain is actually a good indication that everything is fine, it can disrupt your sleeping pattern.


Additional Causes

In addition, there is a considerable amount of stress that is created by the surgery and the need to recover. Generally speaking, it is best to allow for plenty of recovery time so that the body and the mind can heal and readjust to a normal life. All too often, people underestimate the time that they need to fully recover which leads to stress and the inability to sleep properly. Of course, having your daily routine disrupted causes the conditions that lead to a lack of sleep since your daily routine is essentially out of whack. Understanding the causes will help determine the right type of response that is needed in order to overcome the insomnia that is occurring.


Sleeping if You are in Pain

It’s important to remember that it will not be easy to get a good night’s sleep in the first few days after your surgery. The process is going to take more time for your body to fully adjust so that you can start getting the sleep that you need. It will require patience and persistence in order to reset your own internal body clock, but it will be worth the effort. Take Medication about Half-Hour before Bedtime: If you are experiencing pain after surgery and have been prescribed medications, it is better to take them about a half-hour before going to bed so that they will fully kick in by the time you are ready to go to sleep. Create a Comfortable Sleeping Area: If you are experiencing pain, then you’ll want to arrange your bed so that you can maintain a comfortable position and not create instances of muscle straining which will only make things worse. Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Be sure to add foods to your meals that are anti-inflammatory in nature so that your body will be less likely to swell if you are experiencing muscle strain. You can also take a prescribed treatment that will lessen inflammation as well.


What to Avoid

Avoid Napping if Possible: Very short naps of 10 to 15 minutes tend not to disrupt your sleep cycles. However, napping any longer than that will create conditions that make it more difficult to sleep at night. It is generally better to try and power through the day and then go to bed earlier at night. Avoid Caffeine: You should stop drinking coffee and consuming items that have caffeine such as tea, chocolate, and sodas after 3pm so that it can dissipate in your system. Caffeine is a good stimulant to get you going in the morning, but it can keep you awake at night. Avoid Pushing Yourself: It may seem that pushing your activities past the point of needing a rest will result in being tired and help you go to sleep. Actually, you need to properly balance your activities with rest because going too far can cause pain and discomfort which keeps you awake.


What to Embrace

What to Embrace Hot, Relaxing Shower: A good shower or bath helps the body to relax and unwind which promotes the right conditions to get a good night’s sleep. Relieve Anxiety: If something is troubling you, get it off your chest. You can talk to your partner or a trusted friend. Plus, you can also do some light exercise if permitted or meditation so that you can fully unwind and release your anxiety. Listen to Relaxing Music or Sounds: A simple, but very effective means of putting yourself in the right mood to get some sleep is listening to relaxing music, natural sounds, or a guided imagery audio program that will help calm the nerves and soothe the soul. Muscle Relaxation: You can start by tensing and then relaxing your feet and working your way up the body to the shoulders. This will help to soothe the muscles and get them ready for a good night’s sleep. You can also try taking melatonin, a natural product that is used to help people relax and fall asleep. However, as with any drug or medication you should check with your doctor first to see that it does not have any effect with any other medication that you are currently taking. Plus, you should not worry because it will take a few weeks before your normal sleeping patterns re-emerge. This is a normal process of your body getting back into its normal rhythms after surgery.


Calling Your Doctor

Again, you should not worry if it is taking a few weeks before your body goes back to its normal sleeping patterns. However, if you are experiencing these signs or symptoms, you should call your doctor. Changes in Behavior: Quite often, it will be your partner that notices the signs of behavioral changes first. If you should see changes that are atypical of your personality, call your doctor. Issues in Your Life: If not getting enough sleep is creating problems in your life, then calling the doctor is warranted. Naturally, if your sleep patterns have not re-emerged in a month’s time, you should call for further advice.


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