How important is sleep position after a facelift? How can I learn to sleep on my back?

I am scheduled for a face/necklift with eyes and fat transfer Dec 2. I have lines around my eyes that I can tell are caused from years of sleeping on my side. I am trying to teach myself to sleep on my back, but not having much success. Any tips on how to learn how to sleep on my back? Thank you!

Answers (21)

How to sleep on my back for a face lift

Thank you so much for your question about your face lift and sleep position.

After your face lift, you want to sleep with your back up on several pillows, at about 45 degrees.
This is actually difficult to do in a bed - a sleep foam wedge pilllow will help.
Or sleep in a reclining chair.

As far as always sleeping on your back - most people don't because lying flat on the back lets the tongue fall back over the airway. This causes snoring or such trouble breathing that you wake up.

To prevent the lines - after your face lift recovery - try sleeping on your side on a firm mattress without a pillow. 
It doesn't usually squish the facial tissues the way a soft pillow does.

Be sure to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Here’s hoping you find this helpful. Have a great day!

Sleep position after a facelift

Sleep position is important to keep the head above the heart to keep swelling at a minimum.   It is  more important a  to get a good night of sleep after the surgery rather than worrying about what position you are actually in.  Sleeping on your side will not affect  the results of the surgery, It will only add more swelling temporarily.

Sleep position after facial surgery

Head elevation (30-45 degrees) is important after any facial surgery to control and improve swelling.  Staying on your back is important to avoid pressure on the surgical sites and asymmetric swelling. Whichever side is lower will swell more. 
I suggest my patients use a  recliner chair or a 30 degree wedge pillow  (available at back stores and medical supply houses).  The advantage of a recliner chair is that it keeps you on your back.  
Side sleeping after surgery not only affects swelling but can cause traction on the facial skin and disrupt the healing tissues in the early postoperative period.
Goesel Anson, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon

How important is sleep position after a facelift? How can I learn to sleep on my back?

The sleeping position after facelift surgery is very important.  The ideal position is on your back with your head elevated above your heart, typically accomplished with 2 pillows or about 30 degrees of elevation from the plane of the bed. 

The issues with sleeping on your side is that the "down" side will incur more swelling (called dependent edema).  Also, sleeping on your side can potentially disturb the suture line.  

To maintain the position on your back sleeping in a recliner or placing additional pillows to the side of your head or body often helps.  Additionally the pillows behind your head should extend to the area between your shoulder blades to help keep your chin mildly extended.

I hope this helps.

Sleep position after facelift -- getting a good night's sleep

The most important thing is to make sure you do get a good night's sleep.  After a facelift or other similar procedures, your body needs time to heal.  Making sure that you are well rested and relaxed is a great way to end up looking your best.

You definitely do want to elevate your head slightly.  I ask all of my patients to keep their head slightly elevated by using 1 or 2 extra pillows in the first 2 weeks after a facelift.  If that is comfortable then it is helpful for them to continue like that for a full month.

Another good trick to consider instead of extra pillows is to elevate the head of your bed by placing a support under the feet of the frame so that the whole bead is on a slight incline.

However, if you sleep flat the only thing that will happen is that you will wake up more puffy than if you had kept your head elevated.  Remember -- it's very common to go to sleep with good intention in the perfect elevated position only to wake up in a completely different one!

The only real concern is to avoid pressure on the incisions early in the healing process.  

After suture removal I use some adhesive and tape over the incisions on all patients so that they can sleep comfortably and not have to worry about causing any problems.

David W. Rodwell III, MD
Charleston Facial Plastic Surgeon

Sleep position after facelift

It is helpful to sleep with the head elevated for about a week after a facelift.  This helps to reduce the swelling.  An extra pillow can be used to keep the head higher than the heart during this time.  If you happen to move to your side during sleep this should be okay, as long as the head is elevated.  You should discuss this issue with your surgeon to see what instructions he or she has since your surgeon will be the one directing your care during recovery.  
Michael I. Echavez, MD
Michael I. Echavez, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
18 reviews

How important is sleep position after a facelift? How can I learn to sleep on my back?

Thanks for your question. Following surgery, the greatest swelling is usually noted within 24 to 48 hours, though moderate swelling may last for weeks. Elevation of the head is helpful to reduce the initial swelling. Bruising typically diminishes within 2 weeks. If you are using regular pillows, please use a couple to help elevate and support the head.

Please consider the following when choosing a plastic surgeon:
1. Begin with a board certified plastic surgeon and visit several offices
2. Seek a surgeon who does at least 100 of these procedures per year
3. Internet discussions do not replace the advice of your physician

Best wishes,
Dr. Mentz

How important is sleep position after a facelift? How can I learn to sleep on my back?

Thank you for your question. Elevation of your head above the level of your heart is extremely important throughout the post operative recovery period to aid in minimising your swelling. It is very clear during followup appointments those patients that follow their post operative instructions and those who do not. It is not easy to sleep on your back but the use of wedge and u-shaped pillows that can support and stabilise your position are often helpful. If you are using regular pillows it is best to layer 2-3 and then place a sheet over the top of them so movement throughout the night is less likely to disrupt the elevated position. It will be a challenge for you but the results are worth the effort. Best of luck!
Dr Guy Watts 

How important is sleep position after a facelift?

Sleep position is very important. I typically recommend that patients sleep with their head elevated for the first three nights following surgery and on their back for the first two to three weeks. People tend to be most successful with this by propping extra pillows around their sides or under their knees to prevent rolling over in the middle of the night. Stephen Weber MD, FACS Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon

How should I sleep after getting a facelift?

Sleeping on your back with the head elevated is the ideal position to sleep following a facelift. Sleeping in this position will help prevent excessive swelling and will facilitate the healing process. Experiment with different pillow arrangements and try to find a position that you are comfortable in.
Todd C. Miller, MD
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.

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