How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep After Your Facelift
During your facelift, Dr. Buonassisi will make careful incisions to access the deep, structural layer of your face and pull it to a higher, tighter position. Once surgery is complete, you’ll be sent home to recover. While you can expect some swelling and discomfort during this time, resting is critical to your recovery. Follow these steps to get a good night’s sleep after your facelift.
Before your surgery, make up your bed with extra, comfortable pillows you can use to keep your head slightly elevated while you sleep. This will help keep the swelling down and ease your discomfort. Your surgeon will also prescribe pain medication and/or antibiotics for your recovery; fill these before your procedure, as you’ll need them on hand immediately after surgery.
Ask for assistance
Whether it’s a close friend or relative, you may want to ask a caretaker to stay with you for the first days of recovery. If you elect to go most of it alone, be sure to arrange a ride to and from surgery, as well as someone to stay with you for the first night and drive you to your one-day post-operative follow-up. Work out the fine details ahead of time: will your friend sleep in your room or elsewhere? Do they know where your pain medication is and have access to instructions for taking these meds in the first 24 hours?
Taking your pain meds according to the instructions on the label can help ease the swelling and discomfort you feel and make it easier to sleep. Most facelift patients find they only need pain medication during the first three days of recovery, as the swelling will begin to improve by Day 4.
You’re going to look worse before you look better. After your facelift, expect the bruising and swelling to peak on the third or fourth day of recovery, improving gradually after that. If you’re alarmed at your initial appearance, remind yourself regularly that it’s no indication of how you will look once recovery is complete.
Among the normal signs of surgery that will disappear:
Reassuring yourself that “this too shall pass” will help you to avoid losing sleep as a result of worrying.
Most of the discomfort you feel will be due to swelling. In order to keep the swelling down, take a blue-gel cold pack from your freezer, wrap it in a clean towel and press it gently for about 30 seconds onto various areas of your face. Take a break after 15 minutes or so, re-applying the cold pack after about an hour (or when needed). Just don’t place the ice directly on your skin; the cold can slow down your blood flow, which is essential during the healing process.
Drinking coffee may be an undisruptive part of your normal daily routine but, after surgery, it can really interfere with getting the rest you need to heal – particularly if/when combined with any pain medication/antibiotics your surgeon prescribes. Instead, try a cup of herbal, caffeine-free tea at night before you go to bed – it’s soothing warmth may help you nod off more easily.
If you’re a free spirit in your sleep it may be difficult to prevent yourself from rolling over once you’re snoozing. Giving yourself a quick mental reminder before you shut down for the night could help you stay still and on your back while you’re sleeping. But don’t get too stressed out about rolling – you’ll likely wake up if you do manage to flip onto your stomach.
If you normally sleep with a partner – or even a pet – a facelift may be the perfect opportunity to kick them out bed for a week! It’s important to keep your face out of harm’s way in the early stages of recovery and, if your regular bedmate is a tosser, he or she may need to hit the couch for a few days while you rest. It’s not necessary, and certainly not for everyone, but it certainly is a good excuse to get the whole bed to yourself!
But not for the first two days! While you cannot submerge your face in water until your staples and sutures are removed (seven days post op), you can very gently clean areas of your face starting on Day 2 (after your one-day post-op visit). Using a clean, warm cloth, gently wipe away any dried blood or fluid from your face that are causing you discomfort during the day or while you sleep.
A little patience goes a long way! The staples and sutures in your incisions will be removed just seven days post op; remind yourself of this whenever they itch or annoy you. You will feel much more comfortable once they are removed.
Fortunately, facelift surgery does not leave you bedridden – in other words, you are not required to lie around all day! In fact, getting up and out of bed on a regular basis during your recovery will feel good and get your circulation going. Being completely inactive, on the other hand, will make your body sore and make sleeping harder. If you feel unsteady at any point in time (especially during the first 24 hours after your surgery), don’t be afraid to ask for help sitting or standing.
Do you have questions about your recovery? Please don’t hesitate to call 8 West Cosmetic Surgery for support at any stage of your surgery.