“When Can I Sleep On My Tummy After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Nicole
I just received an interesting question from Nicole about sleeping on your stomach after open heart surgery.
Nicole writes, “Adam – I had my mitral valve repaired 2 weeks ago. The surgeon used a sternotomy, so my chest is still sore. I’m a tummy sleeper, so I’m not sleeping well. How long until I can sleep on my stomach? Thanks! Nicole”
Like Nicole, I am a tummy sleeper as well.
For me, it’s the most comfortable position to sleep. Plus, Robyn (my wife) has learned that when I sleep on my stomach, I don’t snore… as loud. That said, after my surgery, it was a tough adjustment sleeping on my back – for me and Robyn.
As for Nicole’s question, I do not have a definitive answer for her. It needs to be stressed that healing is a personal process. Some patients heal faster than others. I know, from experience, that benchmarking healing milestones (spending time alone, driving, returning to work, etc.) can really upset and frustrate patients during their recovery.
Please Remember: The Road To Recovery Is Not Always This Direct
If you are curious… My return to “tummy sleep” was a two-step process. First, at 4 weeks, I began sleeping on my side for a few hours each night. Then, at about 6-7 weeks, I was sleeping on my stomach full-time.
Again, please remember that we heal at different rates. I’m sure many of the former patients who visit this blog had completely different experiences specific to sleeping after cardiac surgery. I hope this helps Nicole (and perhaps you) learn more about sleeping after heart surgery.
Keep on tickin!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.