How to Sleep After a Facelift [Extended Guide]

doctor drawing a facelift patient's face

Have you dreamed of getting rid of those wrinkles, facial lines, and other signs of aging that seem to invade your face? A rhytidectomy, popularly known as a facelift, is a proven procedure that can provide the desired results.

Sure, the experience and skill of your surgeon can be crucial. But aftercare instructions, such as the patient’s sleeping position and routine, diet, and medication regimen, can often make the difference between stunning results and a not-so-good outcome.

After a facelift, you need to be sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your stomach and side for the first few weeks after a facelift is a big no-no. If you are a side sleeper and are considering a facelift, you may be wondering when you will be able to sleep on your side again after the procedure.

When can you sleep on your side again after a facelift? The short answer is 2-4 weeks. The exact time will depend on factors such as your age, the speed of healing, and the amount of bruising sustained during the procedure.

Sleeping on the Back Comfortably After a Face Lift


Congratulations on discovering that sleeping in the prone position with your head elevated is the best position after facelift surgery. But how do you do that without compromising comfort, especially as a long-term side or stomach sleeper?

Body pillows: Pillows can be very helpful during recovery after a facelift. The trick is to support your head and neck with multiple pillows as needed. Depending on your body weight and personal circumstances, 2-3 pillows should be enough, but use as many as needed. If the neck was lifted as part of the facelift, be sure to elevate it before bed as well. Additionally, a couple of pillows on each side of the face can act as a barrier to prevent accidental toppling over in the middle of the night.

Wedge Pillow: These pillows have a “wedge” design that provides elevation for the head to ensure comfortable back sleeping. They can provide a satisfying rest without the risk of accidentally rolling onto your sides or stomach. Unlike regular pillows that may require constant adjustments throughout the night, wedges allow you to lie in the same position until morning.

I found the Brentwood Home Zuma Therapeutic Wedge Pillow on Amazon. It features plush memory foam in a gradual sloping design that provides blissful rest day and night. Seriously, it’s worth every penny and more.

Husband Pillows: Husband pillows can be another solid option for added comfort during sleep. These pillows can also make it harder to roll over due to their distinct “arms” design. They can be useful for other activities in bed, such as reading after facial plastic surgery.

The Linenspa Shredded Foam Reading Pillow from Amazon was a lifesaver for my friend during her recovery from facelift surgery. The soft and snug feel not only allowed her to sleep comfortably on her back all night, but also allowed for deep relaxation during the day.

Recliner: recliners can provide protective and proper rest after facelift surgery, especially during the first 72 hours when the patient is severely bruised and swollen. Sleeping in a recliner can also eliminate the risk of putting unnecessary pressure on the face while providing maximum elevation.

The Homall Single Recliner Chair Padded Seat from Amazon is my recliner of choice when I need to sleep on my back with my face elevated. The leather seats are comfortable and spacious and come in a backrest design with armrests and footrests. I highly recommend it.

Adjustable Bed: Adjustable beds can provide amazing comfort during recovery for most types of cosmetic surgery. The good news is that it can be a breeze to lie down in a face-up position, and most adjustable beds offer the flexibility to choose the right height angle for you.

I personally love the LUCID L-150 Adjustable Bed Base from Amazon. It offers independent head and foot reclines, as well as a wireless remote for premium comfort for anyone recovering from surgery or injury. Seriously, it can be a game changer for nighttime rest.

Sofa: In the absence of a recliner or adjustable bed, the living room sofa can also serve as a good resting place after facial plastic surgery. You can place a wedge pillow or a regular pillow on one of the armrests of the sofa to cushion the head while lying down. As long as the head is properly elevated, you can expect to sleep well through the night.

What are the other options to Sleep Comfortably After Facial plastic Surgery?

Restful sleep may seem impossible if you experience severe pain during your recovery. Since bruising is normal after any type of surgery, you should expect some degree of swelling and pain in your face.

Here are the best ways to sleep comfortably after a facial plastic surgery:

1. Put Ice on your Face

ice cubes

Placing cold packs on your face can be a great way to reduce swelling and inflammation after surgery. As mentioned earlier, swelling and bruising may be unavoidable after surgery. The good news is that these packs can significantly numb the patient’s discomfort. Here are a few tricks to get the best results with ice.

  • Apply the cold packs for 15 minutes every hour for the first 72 hours, when swelling is greatest.
  • Reduce the frequency to 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours after the first 72 hours after facelift surgery.
  • Never place the ice directly on the face to avoid ice burns, which can be uncomfortable and sleep depriving.

Additionally, applying ice packs to the face can significantly reduce swelling, which means faster recovery.

The HEADACHE HAT Wearable Ice Pack from Amazon provided long-lasting cooling therapy for my friend after her facelift 3 months ago. It provides sufficient compression for quick reduction of swelling and pain relief.

2. Take Your Pain Medications

Pain medication can be crucial to your comfort, especially if you are tossing and turning all night. In most cases, doctors will prescribe common anti-inflammatories like Tylenol to relieve pain. Patients who experience severe discomfort may have their surgeon prescribe stronger medications, but this is rare.

Remember to take the medications as prescribed by the surgeon. Avoid skipping doses if you feel mild discomfort, as this can lead to even more pain, especially before bedtime. Also, no matter how bad the pain feels, never take more than the prescribed dosage.

3. Should I avoid Physical Activity after facial plastic surgery?

It is important that you avoid any kind of physical activity for the first 2 weeks after your facelift. The slightest physical activity can increase the risk of the sutures accidentally coming undone.

It can also increase the risk of exacerbating the injury, which can lead to a high level of discomfort. If you have children at home, try to avoid lifting or playing with them. Also, try to sleep alone, even if you have always shared a bed with pets or a partner.

4. Conducive Bedroom Environment

clean looking bedroom

Extended sleep can be very important to the healing process. It can speed up a patient’s recovery and lead to a significant reduction in pain and discomfort. This should lead to better sleep at night, regardless of how severe the bruise is.

Unfortunately, sleep disturbances can be common in patients recovering from surgery. During the first few weeks after surgery, it can be difficult to fall asleep in bed due to the anesthesia and painful bruising.

Fortunately, your bedroom environment can determine the quality of your sleep at night. Some of the best ways to accomplish this may include:

  • Sleep in a clean and dust-free bedroom
  • Use fresh sheets and bedding
  • Lower the temperature in the bedroom during hot seasons.
  • Turn up the heating on cool nights.
  • Use blackout curtains to block out sunlight. 
  • Turn off the television and other noisy appliances. 
  • Turn off or at least dim bedroom lights. 

5. Get the Green Light Before Taking any Additional Drugs 

Did you know that taking some medications after plastic surgery can be dangerous? Taking common medications like aspirin and blood thinners can increase the risk of bleeding after surgery.

The abnormal bleeding can keep you awake before bedtime, leading to an increase in anxiety and significantly affecting your chances of getting a restful night’s sleep. Fish oil, ginseng, and non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs should be avoided during this time.

To be safe, you should get the green light from your surgeon before taking any medications during facelift recovery.

What are the benefits of sleeping on your back after a facelift?

Surgeons recommend sleeping on your back with your head elevated for the first few weeks after a facial surgery like a facelift. But what are the benefits of lying in this position in the first place?

1. Minimal Pain from Swelling and Bruising 

According to American Society from Plastic Surgeons, facelift incisions are made in the patient’s hairline, starting at the temples, continuing to the ears and ending at the lower scalp.

Fat may be taken from other areas of the face or neck, requiring repositioning of the underlying tissue. The deeper layers of the face may also be lifted, rewrapping the skin over the affected area while removing any remaining excess fat.

Finally, the surgeon may close the incisions with sutures or skin glue.

A facelift is essentially a complicated process that can result in significant bruising and unavoidable swelling. By elevating the bruised area, you can speed up the reduction of swelling.

This can minimize the pain and discomfort of the procedure while extending the healing time.

2. Reduces The Pressure On the Face 

Have you ever undergone surgery before? If so, you may know that even the slightest physical contact with the affected area can worsen pain and discomfort. For this reason, choosing the right sleeping position can be crucial.

Lying on your side can put a lot of pressure on your bruised face, which will not only cause a lot of swelling, but also make the pain from the injury worse. Sleeping on your stomach can have even worse effects on the injury site.

The good news is that sleeping on your back with your head elevated can eliminate physical contact with your bruised face. Thus, the risk of aggravating the surgical injuries is minimal at best.

3.Maximizes the Results 

According to statistics from plastic surgery experts, the average cost of a facelift in 2019 was $7,467. Patients paid additional costs, including anesthesia, surgical facility costs, and post-operative garments and medications.

Therefore, getting a facelift can be an expensive investment that may require you to scrimp and save money for months. In addition, the procedure can be quite painful for most patients, requiring them to make personal sacrifices in comfort.

Keep in mind that recovery can take up to a month, which means taking time off from work or school. Therefore, it can be crucial to get maximum results to ensure that the investment and hardships are worth it.

Sleeping on your back with your head elevated can be the best way to achieve this. This position can ensure that the surgical site is preserved exactly as the surgeon intended.

It can also eliminate the risk of the surgeon’s sutures reopening prematurely, which can lead to bleeding and the need to revisit the surgical clinic for another suture.


Getting comfortable in bed after a facelift can be a complicated process that requires a lot of patience. Remember that you will not be able to sleep on your side until you have fully recovered, which can take up to 4 weeks.

In the meantime, follow the surgeon’s post-facelift care instructions and stay away from any practices that can interfere with a good night’s sleep.

Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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