“When Can I Sleep On My Tummy After Heart Valve Surgery?” Asks Nicole
By Adam Pick on June 29, 2010
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.
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!