There may be short-term and long-term changes to your sleep quality after bariatric surgery, but if you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, you may be able to make some changes to improve your slumber. In this blog, we share nine (9) strategies that may help you.
(Short-term) Factors that can Affect Sleep Quality After Surgery
Immediately after surgery, some patients can experience poor sleep quality, while others may experience improved sleep right away.
Here are some factors that may impact your sleep quality:
- Obese individuals are more likely to experience increased daytime sleepiness (EDS) and fatigue
- Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). A sleep disorder that is characterised by complete or partial obstruction of the upper airway during sleep. Obese individuals are seven times more at risk of developing OSA, due to fat accumulation around the airway. Symptoms may include snoring, coughing and difficulty breathing
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS). An unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs, which results in an irresistible urge to move the legs.
- Increased stress or anxiety
- Experiencing discomfort / pain
- Feeling too hot or cold
- A temporary side effect from general anaesthesia
9 Strategies to Help Improve your Sleep
Sleep duration and quality can be improved by practicing good sleep hygiene.
Here are some behavioural tips that may help improve your sleep hygiene after bariatric surgery:
- Keep naps during the day to a minimum. If you feel like you need to nap, try to keep it short and ideally earlier in the day, so it doesn’t affect your sleep at night time
- Avoid screens at least 1 hour before bed. This includes phones, laptops, computers and TVs. Light is a key factor that controls the body’s internal clock, and too much light from your devices can prevent the body from realising it’s time to sleep.
- Leave an appropriate gap between dinner and bedtime. Going to bed hungry or extremely full can affect your sleep quality.
- Ensure the bedroom is dark, quiet and at an optimal temperature. You can use block out curtains or an eye mask to block out additional lights. Some patients have reported some benefits from using a ‘white noise’ machine.
- Create a wind-down routine that relaxes the body and mind, for instance, taking a bath, reading a book or meditating for 10 minutes.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine for at least 6 hours before bedtime. They act as a stimulant and can result in poor quality sleep. Caffeine is also found in chocolate, energy drinks and some herbal teas.
- Minimise fluid intake 1 hour before bed, so you don’t need to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
- Avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as exercise has been shown to act as a stimulant
- If none of the above strategies work, consider speaking to your GP about melatonin supplements.
If you are experiencing difficulties with your sleep, please contact your health professional or one of our Dietitians on (07) 3871 2277.