How to Comfortably Sleep After Shoulder Surgery

Whether it's gravity weighing down and adding unnecessary pressure or struggling not to bend your arms, trying to get a good night’s sleep can be quite challenging during shoulder surgery recovery. Take a look at some of our tips to comfortably sleep after shoulder surgery:

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Trouble Sleeping After Shoulder Surgery?



tips to comfortably sleep after shoulder surgery

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Prepare your shoulder for a long night’s rest and reduce inflammation by icing for at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.

Ice Before Bed



Remove any potential of putting your arm in a painful position while you're sleeping by wearing a sling at night. A sling will provide support and keep your arm stable to help you heal overnight.

Wear a Sling

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Recline while you unwind

For a few weeks, sleep in a reclined position in a chair or prop yourself up to a 45 degree angle with a reading pillow. This will relieve pressure from the surrounding tissue and impacted joints.


Avoid Sleeping  on Injured Side

Since lying flat on your back is just not an option at the moment, side sleepers should take the necessary precautions to avoid rolling over onto their injured side during the night. Try placing some pillows behind you to act as a block.


To keep from cramping while ensuring adequate blood flow, place a pillow between your torso and the arm with the injured shoulder.

Prop Up Your Arm



Take Your Medicine as Advised

The aim is to find a good combination of anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Talk to your doctor about their recommendations for any sleeping aids you might need as well.

Take Physical Therapy Seriously

Focus on improving your range of motion with a combination of physical therapy and at-home exercises. It will take a few months, but improving your range of motion will help alleviate any discomfort while sleeping.


After enduring any type of surgery, it's best to get medical guidance from a professional and not take pain management into your own hands.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Van Thiel as you navigate the shoulder surgery recovery process.

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