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Heart Surgery Patient Guide

After Surgery: Sleeping

House at night with moon.Resuming Normal Sleeping Patterns

You should return to your normal sleeping patterns within 2-3 weeks. Try these tips to help you sleep:

  • Make sure you take enough rest breaks in between your normal daily activities, but avoid napping during the day.
  • Talk to a trusted family member or a friend if you have something on your mind.Get it off your chest so it worries you less when you are trying to sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine, especially after dinner. Remember that there's caffeine in regular coffee and some sodas, as well as chocolate and tea.
  • Take a relaxing shower (or bath, if permitted). Listen to relaxing music.
  • Take your pain medication about ½ hour before bedtime.
  • Find a comfortable sleeping position by arranging the pillows.

If you still have problems sleeping after 2-3 weeks, call your doctor.

Night Sweats

Patients often complain of night sweats for the first few weeks. Should you experience this, check your temperature to make sure that you do not have a fever. If your temperature is 101 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, call your doctor. If you do not have a fever, there is very little that can be done, but you should make yourself as comfortable as possible while waiting for the night sweats to go away. Change your linens and pajamas so you do not sleep in a damp bed. Night sweats usually disappear in a few weeks.

Disturbed Sleep

Following surgery, some patients experience nightmares or insomnia. This will also disappear with time. To help you sleep better, try shortening your naps during the day and/or increasing your afternoon activities so that you will feel tired in the evenings. It is OK to sleep on your back, side or stomach. You will not hurt your incisions.

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