How to Sleep Comfortably After Umbilical Hernia Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 22nd, 2023

Sleep is an integral part of any recovery process, but it becomes particularly important after undergoing an umbilical hernia surgery. In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore best practices for sleeping post-surgery to facilitate an efficient and painless recovery. We offer practical advice rooted in medical expertise to ensure you’re well-prepared for this phase of your healing journey.

The Importance of Restful Sleep After Umbilical Hernia Surgery

Having a good night’s sleep isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity—especially after going through something as significant as umbilical hernia surgery. Adequate sleep facilitates quicker healing, aids in managing post-operative discomfort, and contributes to your overall well-being. Though the average recovery time for this surgery is relatively short, around 1 to 2 weeks, the pain and discomfort can be enough to interfere with your sleep cycle.

Man waking up in the morning and suffer for back pain

Strategies for Sleeping in an Elevated Position

Many physicians recommend that their patients sleep in an elevated position post-surgery. The elevated posture can be more comfortable and lessen the chance of straining your incision. To achieve this, place a pillow or two behind your back to maintain a position that is somewhere between lying and sitting. Elevating your whole torso, as opposed to just your head, can also alleviate any potential neck pain, making it easier to get the rest you need.

Tips for Safely Getting In and Out of Bed

One of the crucial aspects often overlooked is the technique of getting in and out of bed without putting stress on your surgical site. Your abdominal area will be tender, especially during the initial days post-surgery. You’ll want to minimize any abrupt movements that could put a strain on your incision.

Here’s a suggestion: start by sitting on the edge of the bed and lying on your side with the support of your pillows. Once in this position, gently roll onto your back. When it’s time to get out of bed, do the reverse: roll onto your side, place your feet on the floor, and prop yourself up using your arms and elbows, avoiding the use of your abdominal muscles. Take deep, slow breaths as you move to reduce stress and discomfort.

Should You Invest in Special Sleeping Aids?

While a pile of pillows can do the job, some might find the arrangement unstable or insufficiently supportive. In such cases, investing in a recliner could offer a more sustainable solution. However, if a recliner seems like too much of an investment, a wedge pillow could be a more affordable option. This pillow’s angled design allows you to keep your torso elevated and may prove helpful not only for your current recovery but also for future needs, especially if you have other health conditions requiring elevation.

Advice for Side Sleepers

Let’s face it, not everyone finds sleeping on their back comfortable. If you’re a side sleeper and find it impossible to switch your sleeping position abruptly, consider placing a pillow beside you, under your hip. This small adjustment can provide a slight tilt to your body, making it easier to transition to a back-sleeping position without causing too much discomfort.

Consideration of Relaxation and Mindfulness Techniques

Post-surgery, many patients find value in relaxation exercises like meditation. Even if you’re new to these techniques, studies have shown their effectiveness in dealing with post-surgery pain and improving sleep quality. Consider incorporating mindfulness as part of your recovery strategy. Its benefits often extend beyond the recovery period, enhancing your overall well-being.

What Not to Do Post-Surgery

Avoid abrupt twisting movements that could put a strain on your incision. It’s also advisable to avoid sleeping on your stomach, as it directly impacts the surgical site. Practice deep, controlled breathing instead of holding your breath, particularly when you experience bouts of pain.

Understanding Umbilical Hernia Surgery

Before you go through an umbilical hernia surgery, you’ll be advised to abstain from food and drink for a set period. The procedure is generally straightforward: it involves making a small incision near the abdomen, pushing the hernia back into its place, and sewing the weakened abdominal muscles to prevent future hernias. Being informed about the procedure can make the recovery process less daunting.


Navigating the post-operative phase after an umbilical hernia surgery can be challenging, but understanding the best practices for sleep can make a significant difference. Follow your medical team’s guidelines closely, as their advice is crucial for a smooth and speedy recovery. With the right information and careful practice, you can optimize your sleep patterns for a quicker, more comfortable healing process.


Editorial Staff

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