How You Should Sleep After Hair Transplant Surgery

If you’ve had a successful hair transplant surgery, you might have to experience some temporary discomfort.

It won’t be possible for you to follow your normal routine and keep doing things the way you did. However, all the changes that you’d have to make will be temporary.

One change is how you sleep. One of the many questions our patients ask us is “how to sleep after a hair transplant?” If you’ve thought everything through, this thought must have crossed your mind.

A hair transplant is a life-changing procedure. You can only expect to see good results if you take care of your hair. Even something as small as your sleeping position can impact the results of your surgery.

In this guide, you’ll also come to know how you’ll be sleeping for some time after the surgery. It’s a good idea to know this as you can make any preparations in advance if needed. 

Why Does Sleeping Position Matter After a Hair Transplant?

The following can happen to you if you’re not careful about your sleeping position after a transplant: 

Dislodged Hair Grafts 

You have to be careful because if you end up sleeping on your sides or stomach, you can dislodge the grafts and even damage your hair follicles. 

The nature of hair transplant surgery is such that the surgeon takes follicular units from the back and sides of the scalp and transplants them to the areas at the top and front. 

All of these can be affected while you’re sleeping, and all of them need to heal. But if the grafts are damaged, you might even end up needing revision surgery.

Soon after the surgery, your hair grafts are very delicate. Even the slightest pressure can harm them. So, you have to do everything to take care of them.

More Swelling 

Post-op swelling is a part of hair transplant surgery. You cannot avoid it. During the surgery, the surgeon injects liquids under the skin to elevate it from the bone tissue.

This is so that the tools used do not harm the bone or veins underneath the skin. This liquid approximately takes 4-7 days to leave the body.

However, it can persist if you don’t know how to sleep after a hair transplant. To avoid it you need to keep your head elevated.

And if you add salty food to the mix, it’ll worsen the problem because salt retains fluids. 

Lack of proper care will end up ruining your hair transplant. This will all just mean one more thing – a longer recovery period. It is difficult enough to take the time out for your surgery, and unnecessary delays in healing will become stressful and tiresome for you. 

How To Sleep After FUE Hair Transplant? 

These are the sleeping instructions that you need to follow after the FUE surgery. Reading these will give you a good idea of how to sleep after a hair transplant. 

Sleep At An Angle & On Your Back 

For two weeks, you will have to sleep on your back with your head elevated at an angle of 45°. In the first week, you have to be especially careful. Whatever happens, you should not sleep face down on your stomach or turn your head sideways. 

If you lay flat on your back, it’s possible for the liquid causing the swelling to gather on the backside of your head. You might have a funny look for some time. This even gets quite alarming for some of our patients. They fear something bad has happened.

In order to keep yourself from tossing and turning, you could try sleeping in a recliner. If you don’t have that, you can prop a pillow against the armrest of a sofa and sleep there.

Moreover, you can use a travel pillow to sleep in a more relaxed position. It will even provide support to your neck. In no case should you rub or hit your head against anything. 

Put Pillows Around Yourself 

Before going to the clinic for your surgery, you should make sure to get a few extra pillows. You should put these around you before sleeping so that you don’t move too much.

Take one or more pillows and put them between your pillow and headrest so that there’s no chance of your banging your scalp against it. You’d also need them for propping your head.

In no case should you try and cover your head with anything. Your hair follicles need to breathe and heal. That means you should not put a pillow over your head when sleeping. Sweat and pressure can be harmful. 

Clean the Sheets 

Make sure to get the bedsheet and pillow cover changed before leaving. This way, you won’t have to worry about getting your scalp infected from dirty sheets.

If you’re worried about the scabs staining the pillow, you could place a soft cloth on top of your pillow. 

Wear Your Headband 

To avoid swelling after the surgery (especially from having it travel down your face), you need to wear your headband (provided by the clinic) for 1-2 days after the surgery.

Wear it even when you’re sleeping. And make sure that you’re wearing it correctly so that it doesn’t come off at night.

Avoid Any Head Scratching or Hair Flicking 

Many of us do that subconsciously at night. However, it may be due to different reasons like dryness or stress. If you are aware of this problem, it’s best to discuss it with your surgeon to avoid any scratching. 

Also, people who have long hair may try to flick it away from their necks while they’re sleeping, especially if it’s hot.

Now, if you have long hair after the surgery, it’s probably because of an unshaven hair transplant. After this kind of surgery, you need to be tying your hair in a bun anyway to avoid damaging the hair grafts.  

How Long To Sleep With A Neck Pillow After Hair Transplant?

To avoid damaging the newly transplanted grafts, you should sleep with a neck pillow for 1 week after your hair transplant. 

It will keep your head elevated, which will help with reducing swelling. Additionally, it will hold you back from tossing and turning while you’re asleep. 

If it causes a lot of discomfort, you can put your regular pillow underneath the neck pillow for better support and a more comfortable sleeping position. 

Keep in mind that sleeping can be difficult during the early stages of recovery due to pain. Make sure that you take the painkillers prescribed by your doctor to manage that. 

After two weeks, the hair grafts will be secure enough that you can sleep without a neck pillow. 

Can You Take a Sleeping Pill After Hair Transplant? 

Understandably, you might have trouble sleeping after having the surgery. You have gone through something quite big in your life, and sometimes your mind just needs a little more time to process everything. 

This can happen even if you’ve been mentally preparing for your surgery for months. The nervousness and excitement might not let you sleep. However, you are not advised to take any sleeping pills. 

The problem with a sleeping pill is that if you take it, you will end up going into a deep sleep state and will be sleeping for long hours. During this, you might accidentally hit your head against something or turn to your side unknowingly.

Moreover, you also have to take some medications after the surgery, so it’s probably not a good idea to mix those with sleeping pills. It can result in drug-drug interaction

After the first 10 days have passed, it’s okay for you to take sleeping pills. By then, you most likely won’t take any medications needed right after a hair transplant.

Additionally, your grafts are likely to be healed by then. As an alternative to sleeping pills, you can consider using herbs and teas to calm yourself if you’re having trouble sleeping. 

Blood On Pillow After Hair Transplant: Is It Normal? 

Bleeding is a common side effect of hair transplant and can occur for a few days after the surgery. That is why, normally, blood on the pillow after a hair transplant is not a cause for concern. 

Blood on pillows, however, can also be a sign of graft damage. A bump or scratch on the head during sleep can dislodge the grafts and cause bleeding as well.

In this case, you’ll probably find small grafts of your hair on the pillow alongside the blood. The grafts likely won’t survive, and it’s best if you consult your doctor as soon as possible if that happens.

When Can You Start Sleeping Normally Again?

You only have to avoid sleeping on your sides or stomach for 1 week after a hair transplant. After 1 week, you can turn around while sleeping and sleep like you normally would. The grafts will be healed properly, so there’s no risk of damaging them.

Any time before that might damage the grafts on your scalp. In any case, you should try getting proper rest. Your body needs time to heal, and sleeping is good for that. Just make sure to listen to your body. 

To Sum Up 

If you still have any questions, you can reach out to us anytime after the surgery via [email protected]. Aftercare is one of the most important phases of your hair restoration surgery.

How to sleep after a hair transplant is important in that if you damage the grafts or hair follicles by sleeping in the wrong position, you will not get the desired results.

That’s because you can dislodge the grafts and even end up with more swelling. Other than sleeping right, you should also eat and drink healthily and take proper rest.

It won’t be that long before you start feeling yourself again. In just a few weeks, you’ll start feeling much better.

Also, you’ll be able to sleep like you usually do. It may be uncomfortable for some time, but it will get better as you heal. 

Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Cagla Yuksel.

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