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How To Sleep After Hip Replacement (For Faster Recovery)

After a big surgery like a hip replacement, there are a lot of aftercare recommendations to keep in mind. Getting good, restorative rest is at the top of the list. But there are certain sleep positions to avoid after hip replacement, so it’s important to come up with a bedtime plan that works for you.

How To Sleep After Hip Replacement (For Faster Recovery)


Pain after hip replacement can often make it difficult to sleep.

It’s important to keep your legs still and reduce pressure on your operative side.

Supportive pillows can help keep your body in a pain-free sleeping position. 

Did you know?
Approximately 7 million Americans have had a hip or knee replacement!

The trick to how to sleep after hip replacement comes down to good support. By creating a sleep environment that encourages pain-free sleep, you might find yourself with a better night’s sleep and a less painful recovery. So to help you find that restorative rest, we’ve outlined some of the best tips and tricks for how to sleep after hip surgery.

Side Sleeping After Hip Replacement

People often recommend sleeping on your side to reduce pain when sleeping after surgery. But for those who aren’t naturally side sleepers, this might be easier said than done.

The question might not be how to sleep on your side after hip replacement, but how to find a pain-free sleeping position that works for you.

How to Sleep On Your Back After Hip Replacement

Sleeping on your back actually may be one of the best sleeping positions post-surgery. On your back, you won’t be putting significant pressure on either of your hips, and your legs won’t have as much room to move around.

There are just a couple of pointers to keep in mind: try to keep a pillow between your legs and try to avoid crossing your legs.

How to Sleep On Your Side After Hip Replacement

In this position, it’s a good idea to try sleeping with a pillow between your legs. A larger pillow or two pillows together might be necessary to keep your legs fully supported.

If you tend to move around a lot during sleep, it can be a good idea to use extra support to keep yourself lying on the non-operative side. While you’re asleep, you might naturally roll over onto the wrong side, causing pain to the operation area.

A supportive body pillow like our Cuddler can be a big help with this, or you can try a combination of ordinary pillows and wedge pillows.

Sleeping Positions to Avoid After Hip Replacement

Other Sleeping Positions For Hip Replacement

You may find that a different combination of body and pillow placement works best for you. The most important thing to watch out for is the positioning of your hips and legs. You’ll want to make sure that you’re doing all you can to keep your legs still while making yourself as comfortable as possible.

You might also find it difficult to get in and out of bed after hip replacement. If you’re using a walking aid like a walker or cane, it can be a big help here. You can rely on the support of your assistive device to slowly lower yourself onto the bed, taking care to safely extend the leg that received the hip replacement.

By setting up your supportive pillows first, you can make it a little smoother to ease into that safe sleeping position. When you’re getting out of bed, the first step will be to move any of those pillows so that they’re no longer obstructing your movement.

Sleeping Positions to Avoid After Hip Replacement

After you get home from the hospital, you’ll first want to consider what not to do after hip replacement surgery. It’s easy to fall back into your usual sleeping habits. But there are a few sleeping positions to avoid after hip surgery.

First, you’ll want to be careful not to sleep on your stomach. This sleeping position does nothing to keep your hips still, and it can even cause additional neck and back pain. Any extra pain is definitely something you want to avoid after surgery.

It’s also important to avoid placing pillows under your knees when you’re sleeping.While supportive pillows are a key part of recovering from surgery, you want to place them in the right places. If you prop up your knees, your legs might slide around while you sleep, and you’ll also be putting added pressure on your hips.

Generally, it’s best to avoid any sleeping position that could cause your legs to move around while you’re sleeping. Additionally, if your joints are experiencing any swelling or pain, it can help to rest with your leg elevated above your heart.

Hip Replacement Recovery

It can take over a month to recover from hip surgery, and during this time, your daily habits may change a lot. The biggest question might be how long until you can sleep normally, but there are other habits to consider as well — especially given how much your day-to-day lifestyle can impact your sleep, and vice versa!

After hip replacement, your movement will slow down, so it’s important to carefully follow your doctor’s recommendations for post-operative rehabilitation. Following your treatment plan, you’ll eventually move on to more advanced exercises for hip replacement after 3 months. Eventually, you’ll have recovered something closer to your full range of motion.

Returning to other activities like driving or playing sports depends on your personal comfort level and the medications you might be taking. It’s recommended to avoid high impact sports (like running or playing basketball) for a full six weeks after hip surgery, and how soon you can drive depends on which hip you had replaced and what medications you’re taking.

All of this change in routine can have a big impact on how easy it is to fall (and stay) asleep. While there’s no magic switch that will make it easy to fall asleep during the recovery journey, you can set yourself up for success by keeping up your best sleep hygiene habits: avoid screens before bedtime, reduce your caffeine intake, and stick to a calming bedtime routine


After a major surgery like a hip replacement, getting good sleep is more important than ever. The most helpful thing you can do is closely follow your doctor’s recommendations for recovery. With the assistance of sleep aids like body pillows and wedge pillows, you can find a sleeping position that works for you and minimizes your pain levels. And if you’re able to continue keeping up good sleep hygiene after your surgery, restorative rest can be on the way in no time.