Sleep After Bariatric Surgery: What to Expect
Depending on your health pre-surgery, you may or may not have had trouble sleeping due to your weight. Not only do things like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome affect your sleep because of your weight, your sleep schedule might have even contributed to your weight gain in the first place! This article will give you some insight into what you can expect post-surgery, and how to manipulate your sleep schedule to ensure you don’t start the same habits all over again!
What to Expect Immediately After Surgery
Much like nearly any other surgery, you may experience a disrupted sleep schedule. We encourage you to refrain from taking sleeping pills. Instead, push through the first few weeks, as there is restful sleep ahead. There are far too many risks and side-effects of taking sleeping pills. Much like its reaction to alcohol, your body’s tolerance for mood-altering drugs is not what it used to be. Especially when your diet consists solely of liquids. Additionally, it will be incredibly hard to wean yourself off of the pills once you have the potential to naturally develop a healthy sleeping pattern.
Unfortunately, your sleep schedule has more than likely been unhealthy for quite some time. Below are some pointers we can offer to help you immediately after your surgery:
- If you feel like you need to nap, then nap, and do so deliberately. Don’t distract yourself with background noise like the television. Find a quiet space and get some restful sleep. Try to keep your naps to the minimum possible time for the maximum rest. The goal is to give your body what it needs without disrupting your sleep schedule for that night.
- Be patient with yourself. You will more than likely be sleep deprived and stressed about a multitude of different things, so don’t make this one of them. Sleep when you can and when you need to. Listen to your body. You may need to completely reset your sleeping schedule by staying awake all night and going to bed at an appropriate time the next day.
- If you can’t sleep, don’t stay in bed. You can get up and walk around (we actually encourage you to do so!). We do recommend that you avoid the television. This may seem redundant but there are studies that show a direct correlation to people who watch television to fall asleep and end up experiencing the opposite effect. Instead, do something that bores you. Whether that is reading an encyclopedia or counting random objects, your goal is to literally bore yourself to sleep.
Avoid Sleep Deprivation at all Costs!
Not getting enough sleep can directly affect how hungry you feel and can impact how your body processes the fuel you feed it. Your ability to feel full will diminish, creating the perfect storm for a feedback loop of weight gain. You will be low on energy and reach for the “easier” foods which are, more often than not, the less healthy option. Pre-surgery, this would have resulted in a few additional pounds due to the sheer fact that you had already entered this vicious cycle. We want to avoid these cycles completely post-procedure.
We want you to feel healthy so you can get you back to a vibrant, enjoyable lifestyle as soon as possible. In order to do that, you need to rest appropriately. If you experience severe insomnia or pain to the point where you can’t sleep, please contact your doctor immediately.