Health experts have continued to encourage us to try for seven to nine hours of sleep at night—although when life gets busy with work and other responsibilities, this goal can sometimes seem impossible to achieve. On top of that, lack of proper sleep is a very common issue many patients face after having any kind of plastic surgery procedure, including rhinoplasty. Sonoma County’s Dr. Stanley Jacobs is aware that the physical discomfort and mood changes many patients experience after a stressful surgery are difficult enough to handle on their own, so the last thing you want to deal with is sleep deprivation in addition to everything else. Unfortunately, while these sleep disturbances tend to happen to rhinoplasty patients, this is a time when sleeping well is more important than ever for speeding up your recovery.
Good, quality sleep is essential after a surgical procedure for many reasons. Once you’ve fallen asleep, various parts of the body work to restore and repair themselves. This is also when your body produces more white blood cells to fend off toxins and viruses, your heart has less work to do, your muscles are relaxed, and you wake up with increased energy levels.
The first few days of rhinoplasty recovery are typically when patients have the most trouble sleeping.
At first, patients will usually have some mild symptoms, including temporary swelling and bruising on the nose, along with a stuffy feeling, headaches, and itching. These discomforts could cause you to wake up or have difficulty getting to sleep. The rise in stress hormone levels in the body may also play a role in your sleep difficulties. Additionally, you might not be able to sleep in your preferred position because you can’t put pressure on the nose and must keep your head elevated.
The following simple tips from the Jacobs Center team will make it easier for you to get a good night’s sleep. The first step is determining what is preventing you from drifting off to sleep.
1. Sleep in a Peaceful Area
The environment you’re sleeping in could make a major difference to your quality of sleep. It’s usually better to rest in a quiet, dim area that’s free of noise, distractions, and lights. Earplugs can be helpful, and it’s a good idea to have your home fully organized before your surgery, with arrangements for someone to take care of young children or pets so that you can concentrate on resting without interruption. If the room is too hot or cold, this could also be keeping you up, so set a comfortable temperature for your bedroom.
2. Do Relaxation Techniques
Insomnia is often linked to anxiety, stress, and worries. When you’re anxious, it’s common to have racing thoughts and physical tension, as well as to feel completely overwhelmed. If you’re feeling restless and other methods don’t seem to be helping, there are plenty of relaxation techniques you can try, such as breathing exercises, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, or sound meditation. These techniques can help you to manage stress and anxiety at any time, whether post-surgery or not.
3. Change Your Medication Dosage
Pain management is important after surgery and helps to accelerate recovery. Pain medications can help you to sleep more comfortably and even promote sleep, but it’s also possible that some can have a negative impact on sleep cycles. If you think that the medications you’re taking could be causing you to stay awake, talk to your doctor about changing doses, switching to another type of pain reliever, or changing the time you’ve scheduled for taking them. Dr. Jacobs recommends Valium for rest.
4. Avoid Stimulants
Patients stick to bland, simple foods that are easy on the stomach after surgery, and you might feel nauseous or not have much appetite at first due to the lingering effects of anesthesia. Some surgeons advise avoiding very hot or cold foods. Avoid stimulants like caffeine, cola, chocolate, and spicy or greasy foods.
One more note: Carefully cleaning inside the nostrils with Q tips after surgery, using peroxide and Polysporin ointment, will remove the old blood and allow more air to flow through your nose.
Want to know more about what to expect from a rhinoplasty procedure? The Jacobs Center for Cosmetic Surgery team can guide you through the process and provide more tips for the best possible experience. Call (415) 433-0303 to contact the practice directly or submit a contact form to request a consultation.