Sleep is an important part of your body’s recovery process, making it a valuable tool post-surgery. During your sleep, your body works to build new tissue and repair the operating area. Of course, getting good sleep also supports more energy and a better mood throughout the day.
However, post-surgery pain can make it difficult to find the right sleeping position, get good quality sleep, or fall asleep at all, so insomnia after surgery is a common concern.
Fortunately, you can prepare for the post-surgery challenges with the right help and support. Having some tips on how to sleep after knee replacement surgery can go a long way toward helping you beat post-surgery insomnia.
Preparing for Better Sleep Before Surgery
It’s no secret that getting good sleep can be a challenge after surgery. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try and get ahead where you can. Part of your preparation for surgery should include:
- Establishing sleep routines – Prepare for your surgery by establishing a healthy sleep routine in the weeks leading up to your surgery. It’s much easier to follow a pre-existing routine than establish a new one after a stressful event like surgery.
- Talking to your provider – Your provider is here to help you have a successful surgery and recovery. Dr. Martin and our team at the Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale are happy to discuss ways to prepare for better sleep.
- Understanding the potential complications – In addition to talking to your provider, also research online and read through forums to learn from others what complications you might experience after surgery. This will help you prepare for sleeping post-surgery and avoid any surprises.
- Preparing your sleep space – Begin setting up your ideal sleep space before your surgery when you are still mobile. Consider moving things around if necessary to make sure you can easily move from your bed to the bathroom at night.
Managing Pain and Discomfort for Better Sleep
Post-surgery pain and discomfort can be nagging throughout the day, but it is especially bad if you are laying down trying to fall asleep. Since it can be a lot harder to ignore the pain when falling asleep, be sure to take steps to manage your pain and find the best positions before resting your head.
Try to sleep in a position that helps you manage your pain. Some ways you can do so include:
- Sleeping flat on your back
- Using pillows to support the recovery area
- Raising the recovery area slightly above your heart
- Sleeping on your side with the operated area pointing toward the ceiling
- Avoid bending the joint that was operated on
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach
In addition to finding the right sleeping positions, you can also support better sleep by using relaxation techniques to ease pain and promote a calmer mood. Try meditation and breathing exercises to help relax your body.
Listening to white noise, peaceful sounds, or calming music before bed can also help you relax and fall asleep easier while taking some of the focus away from your pain.
Establishing a Sleep Routine Post-Surgery
Routines are incredibly important in getting quality sleep. In fact, the hours before your bedtime directly influence how well you sleep once you do head to bed. To support better sleep, you should follow a routine that relaxes you and allows you to wind down before hitting the hay.
To promote better sleep:
- Stay away from TV, phone, and computer screens within an hour or two before bed
- Avoid drinking caffeine within six hours before bed
- Ice the treatment area before bed to reduce pain
- Limit drinking fluids before bed to help avoid middle-of-the-night bathroom trips
- Take your pain medication according to provider guidelines
Optimizing the Sleep Environment
Your environment can have a big impact on the quality of your sleep. Sometimes this impact happens without you even realizing. For example, if you fall asleep with the lights on, your sleep will not be as restful as it would be in a dark room, making you feel more tired the next day.
With this in mind, some tips to improve your sleep environment include:
- Sleep in a dark room
- Use curtains to block light from entering through the window
- Block or turn off sources of blue light, like phone screens, computers, and TVs
- Ensure that your sleeping area is quiet
- Maintain a cool temperature in the room
Managing Medications for Improved Sleep
Medications can be very helpful in managing your pain after surgery. However, some medications can also affect your sleep quality. Some prescription pain medications can impact your body’s natural sleep cycles and cause you to have less restful sleep.
If sleeping is an issue for you, let your healthcare provider know, as they can help you manage your concerns and provide guidance on how to schedule your medications to support better sleep. They may also help you find alternative medications that can serve the same purpose without negatively affecting your sleep.
For many people, medications and supplements like Benadryl or melatonin are a go-to for support in falling asleep. However, you should always consult your doctor before and after surgery before turning to these sleep aids. Your doctor will verify if they are safe to take with your other prescribed medications and won’t cause any harmful side effects during your recovery.
Seeking Professional Help for Persistent Sleep Issues
Sleep can be complicated, and if you are having difficulty falling asleep, it is worth it to seek help to get the rest you deserve. If you struggle with sleeping post-surgery, contacting a specialist is a great option.
A sleep specialist can perform a comprehensive evaluation to identify any root causes behind your sleeping challenges. In doing so, they can help you find ways to manage them and improve your sleep. They may be able to address a variety of underlying issues affecting your sleep, like insomnia or sleep apnea.
Find Support from the Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale
After surgery, it is vital to prioritize sleep for a smoother recovery. By establishing positive sleep habits and routines, you can improve your sleep and promote healing. To learn more about how to sleep after knee replacement surgery, talk to one of our experienced specialists at the Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale.
Dr. Shane Martin has been practicing in the Phoenix Valley for over 15 years and has performed thousands of successful procedures. With his expertise, Dr. Martin can provide detailed guidance on what to expect before and after surgery and help you manage your post-surgery insomnia.
If you think you are a candidate for joint replacement, contact us today at the Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale to request an appointment and discuss your options.