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7 min read

Should You Sleep in Your Bra? The Pros and Cons

Some women wouldn’t dream of wearing a bra to bed while others find dozing in a bra quite comfy. You wonder how wise it is to wear a bra both day and night. Should you ditch the bra when you sleep?

Sleeping in a bra has its pros and cons. Your breasts don’t move as much, reducing pain, and the severity of breast changes from hormones or breastfeeding may be less pronounced. Yet sleeping in a bra can also cause hyperpigmentation and skin irritation, not to mention some women find it painful.

Whether you’re all for sleeping in a bra or you have strong feelings against it, this article will explore both sides of the coin. Either way, you’ll get to learn more about good breast health, and that’s always great!

6 Risks You Take Sleeping in a Bra

For those ladies who prefer to let their breasts go free once they crawl into bed, there are plenty of healthy reasons to do that. But for those who decide to wear a bra while they slumber, here are six risks you may face.

Risk 1: May Impact Your Lymphatic System

Getting one of the most serious concerns out of the way, let's look at the impact of a bra and your lymphatic system, a system that helps our bodies stay free of infections and keep our levels of body fluids balanced. It also processes toxic waste.

Some schools of thought suggest that wearing tight clothing may prevent the lymph nodes from doing all the functions above. You have lymph nodes in the groin, abdomen, armpits, chest, and many other locations throughout the body.

Is a normal-fitting bra tight enough to cause that kind of disruption? Probably not.

You’d need to wear a smaller-than-usual bra that’s so tight it’s creating indentations on your skin.

If your bra fits that badly, then we doubt you’d want to wear it to bed. That doesn’t make the risk of slowed lymphatic flow a moot point altogether, just an unlikely outcome.

Risk 2: Can Slow Blood Flow

If a tight enough bra can potentially interrupt the lymphatic flow, then it’s not far-fetched to suggest the same ill-fitting bra could also get in the way of blood flow and circulation.

An underwire bra poking into the pectoral muscles could be just what does it. You could wake up with pins and needles feeling even though you’re not sleeping on your arms.

Risk 3: Can Spread Fungal Infections

Is there anything worse than waking up with a big, red rash under your breast? Yes, discovering the rash under both breasts. When you sweat at night, your bra traps in all that moisture and holds it against your breasts.

Rashes will become a lot more common, and your bra could even turn moldy if you decide to wear your bra to sleep. A gross possibility for sure.

Risk 4: Could Cause Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is not fun. If you’ve ever tanned too much or had a bad case of acne, then you know exactly what we mean by that.

Well, you could end up with discoloration around your breasts if you wear a bra to bed too often.

It’s not just that the bra is rubbing against your skin (although that happens too!), but the friction might trigger the growth of melanocytes.

Melanocytes produce melanin, which can change how your skin looks by darkening certain areas.

Risk 5: Irritates the Skin in Other Ways

It’s not only hyperpigmentation you have to be concerned about when you sleep in a bra.

Between the rashes, the red marks, and the irritation from the rubbing or chafing of your bra as you roll over all night, it’s not a treat for your skin to wear a bra from dusk to dawn.

Risk 6: It’s Painful!

Even if you omit the underwire, it’s not exactly the comfiest thing in the world to sleep in a bra.

The tightness is too constricting, the straps can dig into your skin, and any bumps on the back of the bra (such as clasps) make it hard to lie flat on your back and sleep in peace.

Just to reiterate the first point of this entire article - sleeping in a bra is really up to you. There are no elements of overwhelming evidence to never sleep in a bra. If you decide to do so, the only requirement is that you select a bra that fits you well.

2 Major Benefits of Sleeping in a Bra

Far be it from us to vilify sleeping in a bra! If that’s your thing, know that there are also plenty of upsides to your nightly behaviors. Let’s take a look at two major benefits that come from sleeping in your bra.

Benefit 1: Less Breast Swelling

Our breasts go through so many changes every month. Things like breastfeeding, hormonal changes related to our cycles, and so much more can cause them to swell up.

When you sleep sans the bra, you’re at a greater risk of swelling since there’s less to keep your breasts from moving. Wearing a bra overnight hems your breasts in so your rate of swelling might not be so bad.

Benefit 2: Less Breast Pain

More than just swelling, the controlled motion of your breasts in a bra also wards off the pain.

Once again, it comes down to the fact that your breasts aren’t free to go here, there, and everywhere as you naturally toss and turn throughout the night. Waking up to pain-free mornings? Sounds great to us!

What Happens If You Sleep in a Bra?

So what happens if you fall asleep in a bra? Even if you don't choose to wear a bra to sleep, we’ve all done it at least once, especially when super tired after a long day or perhaps after coming home from partying with the girls.

Well, if it’s just one night, nothing will happen. You might wake up in the middle of the night because your underwire is stabbing you in the breast or your bra strap is digging into your shoulder, or you could wake up the next morning surprised you never took your bra off.

If you make sleeping in a bra a regular part of your routine, then you might begin experiencing the side effects we talked about before, but that's not the expected course.

Many women that choose to sleep in bras never experience the risks outlined. And you very well may not either, especially if you buy a sleep bra without underwires, straps, or clasps, like SHEFIT's Lounge Bra.

Sleeping in a Bra FAQs

Do you still have a couple of questions about sleeping in a bra that desperately needs answering? We hear you! Let’s go ahead and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about sleeping in a bra.

Does Sleeping in a Bra Prevent Breast Sagging?

Unfortunately, sleeping in a bra does not prevent breasts from sagging. This is one of the driving forces that inspire millions of women to sleep in their bras, but there's no truth to it. Breast sagging is mostly a consequence of aging, where breast tissue and ligaments lose elasticity.

Because of the popularity of this myth, many women sleep in their bras even when they don’t necessarily want to. The idea is that if you only ever let your breasts naturally sit when you’re showering but you’re otherwise all "bra’ed" up that your breasts will stay perky forever.

It sounds so nice, but don’t fall for it.It’s merely an old wives’ tale that your breasts won’t sag if you sleep with a bra on, no matter what Marilyn Monroe said.

That’s because breast sagging has little bearing on what you do.It’s your age that makes your breast tissue and ligaments less elastic. As they lose stretch, your breasts begin sinking lower and lower to your belly button.

Wearing a bra at night won’t stop that, so don’t sleep in one if that’s your only reason to!

Does Sleeping in a Bra Make Your Breasts Perkier?

A good bra can make any chest look full and perky and keep your breasts in place, but sleeping in a bra will not make breasts actually perkier, just as it can't prevent sagging. However, strengthening and lifting chest muscles through exercise can help create the illusion of perkier breasts.

Wearing a supportive bra in your waking life is also highly recommended!

Does a Sleep Bra Cause Health Issues If You Sleep in It?

Sleep bras aren’t quite sports bras, but they’re closer to those than they are to everyday bras.

A sleep bra has no underwire and no adjustable straps, yet it still provides a touch of breast support.

These bras are designed for sleeping as well as just hanging out and having a lazy day at home.

Is that to say you won’t have any of the issues we talked about earlier?

Skin irritation and hyperpigmentation are still possibilities, as are heat rashes and fungal infections. That is, the same health risks of sleeping in other bras, albeit small, are still applicable to sleep bras.

Sleeping in Your Bra – Yay or Nay?

At the end of the day, it’s your life, and whether you sleep in a bra or not is your choice.

As long as you’re not doing it hoping to someday achieve enviably perky, firm breasts, and if you keep the risks in mind, then sleeping in a bra at night is fine. Just be sure to listen to your body.

If you wake up with new rashes all the time or angry marks on your skin, ditch the bra for a while. You might just sleep better that way!