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!

Doctor Answers 21

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

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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.


Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

How to sleep on my back for a face lift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

You might also like...

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

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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

Henry Mentz, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

How important is sleep position after a facelift?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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

How should I sleep after getting a facelift?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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

Sleep position after a facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
It is very important for a number reasons. Head elevation helps reduce swelling. If the neck is flexed forward you can have complications in the neck area. Pillows are a great way to help. Place a pillow on each side of the head and that will help. Keep your head as neutral as possible and that should help. Best wishes.

Paul Watterson, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon

Sleep Position After Facelift #facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
It is very important that you sleep on your back and not on your face for the first few weeks. Keeping the head slightly elevated is good for reducing swelling. You have to use pillows to try and figure out the most comfortable position.

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

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

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
It is very important to sleep with your head elevated for the first few weeks after facelift. This helps reduce swelling. Try placing a few pillows on both sides of your upper body to elp make you more comfortable when sleeping on your back.

Sleep position after facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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.