Sleep is one of the best things for you when it comes to healing. When there is an area on your body that needs to heal, the brain triggers the release of hormones that promote tissue growth to repair blood vessels. This facilitates faster wound healing. During sleep, your body also produces a greater number of white blood cells that attack bacteria that would otherwise hinder the healing process. Conversely, when you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system is not able to adequately protect your body from infection.
The implications are clear – sleep is extremely important to the healing of your skin, which includes new ink. However, is it bad to sleep on a tattoo? Once it has fully healed, certainly not. However, when the tattoo is new there are things to avoid. Let’s review.
3 Things to Avoid When Sleeping After Getting a New Tattoo
Sleeping Directly on the Tattoo
Sleeping on any part of your body adds pressure to it and causes friction when you move around. If you can, avoid sleeping directly on the part of your body that just received a tattoo. This is easy enough when the tattoo is on one shoulder, arm, or leg, but can be disruptive when the tattoo is large and on your torso’s front or back. If you typically lay face down or on your back and you have a large tattoo on the area, you’ll have to do your best to sleep on your side for two weeks. If unavoidable, wrap the tattoo prior to going to sleep. Another trick to ensure that you don’t roll in either direction is to build a barricade of big blankets and pillows. This will keep you from shifting during sleep. That, or have a partner (or two!) idle up close. If the latter, take it easy on the hanky panky for a few days.
Bedding Linens and Fabrics That May Aggravate the Tattoo
If you can, buy hypoallergenic bedding linens for the weeks after getting a tattoo. While you may not have needed them before, you may find that your skin reacts differently to certain materials and fabrics once a significant area has been “wounded”. Hypoallergenic bedding is less likely to aggravate a “wound” when it comes in frequent contact with it. Furthermore, wear clean, light, and loose-fitting sleepwear if you typically need PJs to get your z’s.
Neglecting to Clean and Apply Aftercare Before Going to Sleep
Follow your tattooist’s aftercare instructions before going to sleep. They will have told you to gently wash your tattoo area twice a day with soap and water and gently pat dry before reapplying the antibacterial ointment. The “second round” of this should occur at the end of your day about an hour before sleep. It’s also a very good idea to shower your entire body before going to bed, as clean skin (from top to bottom) keeps your bed free of bacteria, which promotes healing.
If you have any further questions about sleeping in the first few days after getting new tattoo, be sure to bring them up during your consultation. Book an appointment at an Adrenaline tattoo shop near you today.