How to Sleep Comfortably After Gallbladder Surgery

Have you recently had gallbladder surgery and wondered what the best way to sleep comfortably is? Or are you going to have one soon and you’d like to prepare for it in advance?

In whichever case, it is a necessity to have all the details of post-operative care. The most common questions that patients who undergo gallbladder removal surgery ask are about their diet and sleep.

However, in this article, we will be focusing on how to sleep comfortably after gallbladder surgery.

Before that, let’s understand a few things about this surgery.

What is gallbladder surgery anyway?

A gallbladder is a digestive organ shaped like a pear and located on the right side of your body, just under the liver. It stores bile, a digestive fluid made by the liver. Gallbladder surgery, also known as cholecystectomy, is quite common worldwide and in the UK as well. This kind of surgery involves removing one’s gallbladder, in which the patient commonly suffers from either gallstones or inflammation in that area.

What causes sleep disturbance if the missing organ isn’t the cause?

While the surgery is relatively safe, less invasive, and the missing organ doesn’t cause any sleep discomfort, some side effects after the surgery may be the reason for a less comfortable sleep. Possible reasons include:

  • The after-effects of anaesthesia could be in your system, preventing you from getting back to your usual sleep pattern.
  • Experiencing pain after the surgery can lead to sleep discomfort.
  • You may be experiencing stress or any other psychological factors that affect your sleep.
  • Your doctor’s prescribed medication post-surgery may be interfering with your sleep.

Now let’s get into six effective tips that will help you sleep comfortably after your gallbladder surgery:

Tip #1: Sleep on your back to reduce pain

Since the surgery happened on the right side of your body, we suggest you avoid entirely sleeping on your right side. If you do so, you may put more pressure on the abdominal wall and the incision area. Instead, you can practice sleeping on your left side or, even better, on your back.

If you’re used to sleeping on your stomach, you may have to avoid that as well. Most doctors don’t advise sleeping in that position anyway, particularly after a cholecystectomy procedure.

Besides, if you still face problems with your sleeping posture, you can ask your doctor for other posture tips.

Tip #2: Surround yourself with pillows

Another effective way to stop you from sleeping in an uncomfortable position is propping pillows around you. More specifically, if you have a habit of sleeping on your right side or front, the pillows will stop you from tossing around. Not to mention, having an extra set of pillows around while sleeping always makes your sleep cosy and comfortable, especially after abdominal surgeries.

Besides, you can get a body pillow made of memory foam,ideal for both support and comfort. Or else, you can get a wedge pillow that features an orthopaedic design to keep your body in a safe position.

Apart from the pillow, you can also get a new orthopaedic mattress that will give your body the support it requires after surgery.

Tip #3: Try exercising sooner

A good amount of rest is essential after any surgery. It usually takes 2 weeks for recovery until you can return to your usual activities. However, it is common to remain sedated after a surgical procedure. And thus, this may affect your sleep. 

If your doctor has given you a green signal ahead, start walking around and do gentle exercises whenever possible. Walking or climbing stairs are elementary forms of exercising, and you can do them easily without straining your body too much. However, you should avoid fast-paced movements and weight-lifting until your doctor allows you.

Tip #4: Take your prescribed medications with care

It is a given that your doctor will prescribe you a list of medicines as a step of post-op care. These medicines speed up your recovery and help you deal with pain, nausea and inflammation. Hence, you should be taking them as prescribed and avoid any disruptions to your medications.

The better you manage your medications, the better your mental and physical health and the sooner you recover from the surgery.

In a rare case, the medicines may come with side effects such as insomnia. In such a case, you can talk to your doctor, and they may help you change the prescription after examining your issues. 

Tip #5 Sleeping schedule

After surgery, your body is in trauma and requires as many naps as needed to feel well-rested. Doing this doesn’t mean you will lose a good 8 hours of sleep at night.

You should also know that anaesthesia can knock you out and make you feel exhausted for days. Your body will slowly adjust to its natural sleeping pattern in time. Therefore, you should listen to your body and give it some time to heal by itself.

Tip #6 Manage stress and anxiety

Surgeries are stressful. Your stress can prolong for a couple of weeks since your body just underwent surgery. It can make you nervous and have irrational fears that might lead to stress and disturbed sleep. While it is common for anybody to be stressed before and after surgery, one can manage it well with some activities.

Few days after your surgery, you can try guided healing meditation, read books, listen to soothing music or indulge in social activities with your friends and family to reduce stress. If you already follow a stress management routine in your day-to-day life, you can imply those after your surgery.

Conclusion: Post-op sleep discomfort is manageable!

Sleep is vital to maintain good physical health, especially after surgeries. If you aren’t getting the right amount of sleep since your gallbladder removal surgery, you can indulge in different techniques to solve your sleep-deprived condition.

Thankfully these techniques are not complex tasks for a patient with recent surgery. Whether setting your posture right, exercising, managing your stress or taking your medicines on time, you must follow all your healing regimens as recommended for healthy and comfortable sleep.