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Having Trouble Sleeping After Your Surgery?

Trouble sleeping after a surgery

After a major surgery, like a hip or knee replacement, some patients record having trouble sleeping. This is very annoying but is not uncommon. Typically, the worst part of this problem occurs at the midpoint of your recovery. You sleep well right after surgery due to good pain control and being tired from physical therapy. Once you are more active during the day, you tend to forget about the pain, decrease your pain medications, and have sleep disruptions at night.

Part of the reasoning that sleep is impacted after surgery has to do with the discomfort that they feel in not being able to achieve their favorite sleep positions. Additionally, after the surgery, patients require more sleep than they are used to as their body is under an exuberant amount of stress, which impacts the quality of sleep that the patient is getting.

There are some additional causes that influence the patients sleep after their surgery that will be highlighted below. It is our hope that this information proves to be valuable to you as you look at what to expect from post-surgery sleep schedules or provide a roadmap as to what might be the underlying cause to a disrupted sleep schedule if you have already had a surgery.



Tips for Improving Sleep:

As tired as you are, avoid naps throughout the day.  A patient needs to flip back into a normal sleep cycle and remind your body that the chronic arthritis pain is gone.

Take your pain medications!  Even if you are feeling good, your body still needs medications prior to physical therapy, after physical therapy and prior to bed.

The last daily dose of pain medication that should be eliminated is the nighttime dose.

Do not hesitate to use ice or heat.  Ice is best for the first 4-6 weeks after surgery.  After that time, you can start to use heat to sooth your muscles.

Do your best to go to bed and wake at consistent times.  This will help your body get used to sleeping with a new joint replacement.

If all else fails, feel free to use over the counter sleep aids, such as Melatonin, Benadryl, or Z-Quill.

If you have tried all of the above, and you are still struggling, reach out to your surgeon’s office for additional help.  Be prepared to provide specific symptoms:  what does the pain feel like?  When does it start?  Are you staring at the ceiling, or falling asleep but cannot stay asleep?  Are you having pain, or will your brain not turn off?

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