How to Sleep in Bed After Shoulder Surgery?

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Written By Tony Garrett

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How to Sleep in Bed After Shoulder Surgery?

Sleeping can be challenging after shoulder surgery due to discomfort and pain. This article provides valuable tips on how to achieve a comfortable rest during your shoulder surgery recovery.

Challenges of Sleeping After Shoulder Surgery

Sleeping after shoulder surgery can be quite challenging due to a variety of factors. The procedure itself can cause discomfort and anxiety, making it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. In addition to this, the pain medication prescribed during the recovery process can have side effects that negatively impact sleep quality.

One of the biggest challenges is the pain experienced during the day, which can intensify while sleeping, particularly when lying on the affected side or tucking the hands under the pillow. This discomfort can lead to restless nights and further disrupt the healing process.

Addressing these challenges is crucial to ensure proper rest and healing. By finding ways to alleviate the discomfort and manage pain effectively, individuals can improve their sleep quality and promote a smoother recovery journey.

Tips to Improve Sleep Post Shoulder Surgery

Proper rest is crucial for the healing process after shoulder surgery. However, discomfort and pain can make it challenging to get a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips to help you improve your sleep quality during your recovery.

Pain Management

Pain can disrupt your sleep and make it difficult to find a comfortable position. It’s important to manage your pain effectively to promote better sleep. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate pain medications and their timing. Taking your pain medication before bedtime can help alleviate discomfort and allow you to rest more comfortably.

Optimal Sleeping Position

  • Sleeping on your back or in a reclined position can help reduce strain on your shoulder and minimize discomfort. Use pillows to support your arm and elevate it slightly to maintain the proper alignment.
  • Avoid sleeping on the side of your surgery. This can put unnecessary pressure on the shoulder and impede the healing process. When shifting positions during the night, be mindful of not rolling onto the affected side.
  • Using a body pillow or placing a pillow between your legs can help keep your body properly aligned and provide additional support.

Creating a Restful Environment

Designing a restful sleep environment can contribute to better sleep quality. Consider the following:

  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet to promote relaxation.
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that provide adequate support.
  • Avoid stimulating activities, such as using electronic devices or watching TV, before bedtime.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can signal to your body that it’s time to relax and prepare for sleep. Try incorporating relaxing activities such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing deep breathing exercises. Consistency can help train your body to associate these activities with sleep, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

By following these tips, you can improve your sleep post shoulder surgery, enhance your healing process, and ensure a smoother recovery journey.


Proper sleep is crucial for a smooth recovery and healing process after shoulder surgery. By implementing the following shoulder surgery recovery tips, you can significantly improve your sleep quality and ensure a more comfortable experience:

1. Sleeping on an incline: Elevating the upper body with a wedge pillow or adjustable bed can help reduce swelling and minimize discomfort during sleep.

2. Wearing a sling: Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the proper use of a sling. It can provide support and stability to the shoulder, allowing for a better sleep position.

3. Using pillow support: Positioning pillows strategically can provide additional support and aid in maintaining a comfortable sleep posture. Placing a small pillow under the arm may help relieve pressure on the surgical site.

4. Timing medications: Take prescribed pain medications according to your doctor’s instructions, ensuring they are timed appropriately before bedtime to minimize discomfort during the night.

5. Applying ice: If recommended by your healthcare provider, applying ice to the affected area before sleep can help reduce inflammation and numb any residual pain, promoting better sleep.

By incorporating these tips into your sleep routine, you can optimize your healing process, minimize discomfort, and experience a more restful and rejuvenating sleep after shoulder surgery. However, if you continue to experience sleep problems or have concerns, it is essential to consult with your doctor for further guidance and support.

Tony Garrett

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