Should I Not Sleep on my Side? (photo)

4 months post face and neck lift . This picture is from last week. I am finally able to sleep on my side but woke up this am with what I perceived to be jowling next to my mouth. Is this caused by my sleeping on my side?

Doctor Answers 9

Sleeping on the side is permitted after the facelift to check with your surgeon

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I have no problem with my patients sleeping on their side even immediately after a facelift. Nevertheless this is something you should take up with your surgeon.

Sleep and how to do it

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You ask a very interesting and common question. When we sleep on our side the fluid in our tissues move along with gravity and one side appears more swollen than the other when we wake. This resolves throughout the morning as we go on with our day. Since you had surgery, and are still relatively engage in healing, you are more prone to show this effect.

Be healthy and be well,

James M. Ridgway, MD, FACS

James M. Ridgway, MD, FACS
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 98 reviews


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I would not worry four months after surgery about what side to sleep on. I dont see anything of concern in that picture. Great results!

Sleeping on your side after a face lift

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Sleeping on your side can certainly cause swelling. We all have different post-op recommendations and protocols, so you should call your surgeon and ask. 

Facelift recovery

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Dear Dsail,

  1. Sleeping on your side will cause more swelling even if you did not have surgery
  2. As you walk around the swelling starts coming down and drains down the neck, the jowling will improve
  3. It is best to sleep on your back to maintain your youthful appearance and avoid deep lines in the face


Nima Shemirani

Nima Shemirani, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Asymmetric Facelift Swelling from head position

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Changes that occur over several hours, "overnight", are usually caused by dependent edema with in the first several months following a facelift are temporary. Edema, water in and between cells, is influenced by gravity as "water runs down hill"
No worries.

Sleeping on the side after a Facelift

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After initial few days after a facelift, assuming proper healing, I allow my patients to sleep on their sides. This will not affect the final outcome of a facelift. It is not uncommon to see some intermittent positional swelling in the face in the early healing period. This typically subsides during the day.

Boris M. Ackerman, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Swelling 4 months after face lift

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Thank you for asking about your facial swelling 4 months after your face lift,

  1. Your result is very nice, the L side looks very slightly fuller, 
  2. Yes this can happen if you sleep on that side, 
  3. It is not a permanent face lift effect - in time does not happen,
  4. I recommend only 10 days of sleeping on the back - preferably in a reclining chair position. Otherwise back muscles go into spasm. Best wishes.

Facial Swelling 4 months after Surgery

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Thank you for your  photo.  I do notice some swelling of your right neck.  At four months, positioning should have little effect on swelling. You should follow up with your PS to make sure that there is nothing serious brewing.

Dr. ES

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.