“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”

Sleep After Open Heart Valve Surgery On Your Stomach (Tummy)

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!


Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and The Wall Street Journal.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and The Wall Street Journal.

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