How To Sleep After Gallbladder Surgery? Tips Explored!


Underneath the liver on the right side of the body lies a small organ called gallbladder. The gallbladder stores and releases digestive fluid called bile. Thus, to a very great extent, digestion is connected to the gallbladder. At times, infection, inflammation, or painful gallstones imply that the gallbladder needs to be surgically removed.

There are two surgery options: one is minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, and the second is open gallbladder surgery. Removing the gallbladder brings certain lifestyle changes such as eating habits. To recover after surgery, food and sleep have the same importance.

For food, it is recommended that one eats light and easy-to-digest food. For sleep, it is vital to sleep peacefully so the body can heal quickly. Also, any abdominal surgery, including gallbladder surgery, can impact sleeping habits.

Can gallbladder Surgery affect your sleep?

Sleeping after gallbladder surgery

Irrespective of the type of surgery; laparoscopic or open, it involves pumping air into the abdominal cavity as it eases the work of the surgeon to complete the procedure. After the incision is closed it makes one feel extremely bloated. As the anesthesia from the surgery starts to wean off, there is discomfort and pain.

The reason it happens is because of the extra gas pressing against the new incision. There is a post-operative drain. The pain is normal after surgery but then it makes it difficult to lie down. However, one has to sleep, and thus, there is a need to learn how one can sleep.

ways to sleep peacefully after gallbladder surgery

Sleep After Gallbladder Surgery Tips

Sleep on the back or left side and not on the stomach or right side

after gallbladder surgery, the incisions are on the right side of the belly where the gallbladder was. Sleeping directly on the incision can create pressure on the area. Thus, one should sleep on the left side as it reduces the pressure on the area and causes less discomfort. Even in general it is recommended that one sleeps on the left. Therefore, after surgery, sleep either on the back or on the left.

Consuming prescribed or OTC pain relievers

After the surgery, the doctor recommends some mild painkillers. They have no side effects, and as the anesthesia starts to wean off, it is vital. Even if the doctor has not recommended the pain killer, one can avail them from stores.

The best time to consume the painkiller is before sleep so that it gets easier to sleep as the painkillers substantially reduce the pain. Taking ibuprofen like Advil or Naproxen (Aleve) or any other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine. Taking it two hours before bedtime can prevent you from waking up in sleep due to pain. The medicines could cause constipation and cause discomfort.

To overcome the situation the best option is to consume stool softener. Usually, the doctor will prescribe a stool softener after the abdominal surgery. Thus, the problem is already taken care of. There are some bloating and gas issues, which are cured by simethicone products.

Do not sleep during the day

After the surgery for a few days, one will go into rest mode. There is a tendency to sleep late in the morning or sleep for long hours in the evening. As the body gets sleep during the day it gets difficult to sleep at night. Thus get up at the usual time and go to sleep at the same time.

To sleep in between as it could compromise the night’s sleep. During the day, do light activities that keep you active and busy but do not strain the body. Read books, get involved in art, watch movies, or go for walks, but not sleep. If required, take a small nap of fifteen minutes so that one does not get exhausted.

Exercise as per doctor’s recommendation

The doctor guides how one can start the exercise routine and how much to do it. Even for light, brisk walks, the doctor sets a routine. In the initial days, only some basic breathing and mild exercises are recommended.

Gradually, in six months, the intensity increases. It is vital to follow the schedule as it will help you get relief from bloating and constipation and help you feel better.

Eat a light meal before sleep

After the abdominal surgery, especially the gallbladder one, it is recommended that the patient eats a light meal. However, before sleeping it is recommended that only soup is taken. Stop eating two hours before bedtime. This helps the body to digest the food and get a good night’s sleep.

Aromatherapy treatment

Certain essential oils help get a good night's sleep. In the oil diffuser, use rosemary, eucalyptus, jasmine, or lavender oil as it helps to relax.

Comforting sleeping environment

To recover from any surgery, it is vital to sleep comfortably. For this, creating a cool, calm, and clean environment in the bedroom. Ideally, prepare the bedroom before surgery so that once you are back, you can sleep and relax in a comfortable environment.

Use a blackout curtain and moisture-wicking sheets to create a dark, soothing environment. Place the phone charger, water, and other essential items near the bed so that you can sleep peacefully. Using an eye mask and noise-canceling earplugs can also remove any disturbance.

Bottom Line

Removal of the gallbladder can cause difficulty. The reason for the removal of the gallbladder will highly impact the recovery phase. Initially, for three to four days, it is difficult to sleep, but in the next few days, the body tries to compensate for the lost sleep. In case of open gallbladder surgery, the person has to stay in hospital for one or two days.

In the case of laparoscopic surgery, the person can return on the same day. As the patient wakes up it is recommended to take a walk so that the body gets in circulation and is moving in a few days. The most important factor is to get a good night’s sleep so that the body is healed quickly. After the recovery phase when you are on a regular schedule, it is vital to lead a healthy lifestyle so that no further issues are caused.


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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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