How to Sleep After an FUE Hair Transplant
A hair transplant requires a considerable investment of time, energy, and money. And when you decide to go for this procedure, you want to make sure you give it the best chance of succeeding. After an FUE hair transplant, you will need to follow specific instructions to increase the chances that the transplant will stick. Along with avoiding direct sunlight, avoiding hair washing for 3 days, limiting physical activity for a week, and avoiding hats, you also need to be mindful of how you sleep – at least in the beginning. Here, we share how to sleep after an FUE hair transplant and what you can do to improve your quality of rest in the days following the procedure.
What is an FUE hair transplant?
For those new to this term, FUE stands for follicular unit extraction. It is a hair transplant procedure where individual hair follicles are removed from your skin and placed on your scalp to encourage hair growth in sparse areas. This procedure replaced an older method, called follicular unit transplantation (FUT), which often left people looking like they had hair plugs.
To do the procedure, a surgeon uses micropunches that take single follicles out of areas with hair. Then, the surgeon makes a series of small incisions to plant the follicles. Stitches are unnecessary, and there is usually minimal scarring. However, in rare cases, there may be tissue death if infection occurs. The procedure can occur across multiple days of 2-4-hour sessions, or you can have one lengthy, intensive procedure lasting around 10 hours.
Why proper sleep matters after an FUE hair transplant
As you can imagine, the success of the procedure depends largely on how successful the healing process is following treatment. Essentially, it is your job to ensure the newly placed follicles do not get damaged in the days after surgery. Aside from hair washing and hat wearing, one of the biggest things you must be mindful of is how you sleep.
We place a lot of pressure on our hair follicles when we sleep. In the days following the procedure, you will notice that your scalp is highly sensitive and may feel quite tender. Laying directly on those newly implanted follicles can increase discomfort and pressure in the area. But perhaps the most important reason you need to sleep differently is to prevent swelling.
If you usually lay flat on your back, side, or stomach (or even slightly inclined with a pillow), it may not be enough elevation to decrease inflammation following surgery. Ideally, you want to sleep at a 45-degree angle for at least one week after the transplant. In addition, you will want to be sure your scalp does not rest on the pillow itself or even the headboard of your bed.
Curious how you will get a good night's sleep without resting your head on a pillow? A lot of people use several pillows to prop them up to that ideal 45 degrees and then use a travel neck pillow to lift their heads off the pillow. Some people also find that sleeping in a recliner is preferable because you are less likely to roll over or lay flat throughout the night.
Rest assured, you will be able to sleep normally again after about a week of recovery, and likely once your surgeon gives you the OK, you can resume your normal sleep habits.
Tricks to sleeping after an FUE hair transplant
Sleep is so important, especially when you are healing. But, if you have to change the way you sleep, it can make it hard to rest well and help support your body’s recovery. So, unless your surgeon indicates otherwise, you can consider doing the following things to stay rested following a hair transplant.
- Consider taking a few days off work to allow your body to rest and relax during recovery.
- Put a towel down on your pillow if there is leakage from the procedure area.
- Keep your pillowcases clean and avoid using harsh detergents that may irritate the scalp.
- Eat a well-balanced diet and avoid foods that can trigger discomforts (like heartburn), such as spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine.
- While you should avoid hot showers and baths, consider soaking your feet in warm water before bed to relax.
- Decrease screen time before bed so your mind gets the opportunity to wind down.
- Try meditation to help calm your mind and prepare your body for rest.
Final notes on FUE hair transplants
FUE procedures can be very successful if you allow your scalp the time to heal correctly. However, if you aren’t quite ready to go the route of a hair transplant or need to save up to cover out-of-pocket costs, there are hair growth products that you can try from home that have an excellent success rate for people with common hair loss conditions like male and female pattern hair loss.