Tattoo care

How to Sleep With a New Tattoo

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. June 8, 2021
How to Sleep With a New Tattoo

Making the decision to get a tattoo is a big step, so we don't want to take it lightly. However, after you have chosen your design, scouted artists and finally got inked, we can't stop our thinking there. We need to take care of the fresh tattoo as best we can. There are many things we need to consider when healing a new tattoo. We can't allow too much sun to shine on it, our type of clothing can affect the healing process and our hygiene is of the utmost importance. Sleeping is another factor which can complicate the healing process.

At oneHOWTO, we explain how to sleep with a new tattoo. We show you how to maintain hygiene and avoid infection, as well as best ensure your new ink looks its best.

You may also be interested in: Does the Sun Fade New Tattoos?
  1. Sleep in separate beds
  2. Stop bedclothes sticking
  3. Sleeping positions with a new tattoo
  4. Sleeping with wedge pillows
  5. Wear old clothes to sleep
  6. Use clean bed linens
  7. Use plastic wrap when suitable
  8. Sleeping with the tattoo covered
  9. Airing the tattoo when possible
  10. Sleeping away from home after getting a tattoo
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Sleep in separate beds

While it isn't essential, we should consider sleeping in a separate bed if we usually share one with a partner. The reason for this is simply that having another person in the bed can mean we move more. Whether we are moving away from them or wanting to snuggle closer, brushing against our partner can damage the healing area. This is especially the case if we have a partner who is usually a restless sleeper.

Having animals in the bed is also something to avoid. They may even try to lick the tattoo or involuntarily scratch it when trying to get your attention. Of course, if sleeping without your partner will make you more restless when you sleep, then maybe it's best to allow them in.

Stop bedclothes sticking

One of the main problems that can arise when sleeping with a new tattoo is that the healing ink sticks to the fabric of the bedclothes. If our linens do stick to the healing tattoo during the night, we need to ensure we wet them before peeling them off. Peeling them off dry can pull off healing skin and damage the tattoo. Finally, do not forget to change the linen if this happens to you.

Take a look at our article on what happens when your tattoo is peeling to know more.

How to Sleep With a New Tattoo - Stop bedclothes sticking

Sleeping positions with a new tattoo

If you want to know how to sleep with a new tattoo, the correct sleeping position is essential. Not only should you adopt these positions after you get the new tattoo, you should practice them in the nights before you go to the tattoo studio. This way you will more easily adopt them while the wound is healing. Generally you will need to try to ensure the covers do not touch the tattoo.

The best sleeping positions for a new tattoo are:

  • If the tattoo is on the front of the body (arms, forearms, torso, hands, etc.), sleep on your back using a pillow with the ideal height for your back, neck and head.
  • For back or horizontal tattoos, sleep on your stomach or on your side, supporting yourself with pillows in front and behind depending on the tattooed area.

Sleeping with wedge pillows

Wedge pillows or pillow wedges are very useful to avoid sleeping on top of the tattoo. There are different sizes and types adapted to each area of the body. These special pillows help you maintain a fixed position throughout the night. In addition, they help keep the tattooed leg or arm in an elevated position to prevent other parts of the body from inadvertently rubbing against the tattoo during the night.

Sleeping is not the only thing we need to consider when we get a new tattoo. Our guide on how to care for a new tattoo will explain further.

Wear old clothes to sleep

Sometimes it is inevitable that a fresh tattoo rubs against clothing. For this reason, we recommend that you avoid the use of clothes and bedding which might be special to you, especially if they are light in color. Otherwise, any small ink stains that may occur will be impossible to remove.

Opt for dark old clothes, as well as old sheets and linen to sleep on. After the tattoo healing period, wash them and save them for the next time you get a tattoo. Although they may be old clothes, they still need to be very clean so as not to promote bacterial infection of the tattoo.

Use clean bed linens

If you decide to sleep with a freshly done tattoo uncovered, it is highly recommended to wash and change the sheets and bedding every day. In this way, you can prevent any type of bacteria from coming into contact with the wound and, therefore, prevent the tattoo from becoming infected .

Use plastic wrap when suitable

You will need to clarify with your tattoo artist whether you can wrap the tattoo in plastic wrap during the first night. They will advise you whether you should keep the tattooed area covered or not. The plastic wrap helps to protect the tattoo from infection, but it will eventually need to heal in the air. The time of day you get the tattoo and when you sleep will affect the answer to this question.

Sleeping with the tattoo covered

There are two main types of tattoo healing: wet and dry. If the tattoo is covered, this is considered dry tattoo healing. If this is suitable for your tattoo and your tattoo artist gives you the OK, then this is ideal for sleeping. The plastic wrap will cover the wound and ensure it doesn't come in contact with the bedclothes. However, this is not always possible.

Airing the tattoo when possible

Another recommendation on how to sleep with a fresh tattoo is to keep it aired as long as possible so that the skin can breathe well and heal better. If you leave it too long with a plastic wrap, the skin will not be able to perspire and it will not heal as well. Remember to remove the protector and clean the tattoo carefully, as the tattoo artist has told you and as many times a day as they indicate.

Of course, don't wear clothes which will scrape against the tattoo, where possible.

How to Sleep With a New Tattoo - Airing the tattoo when possible

Sleeping away from home after getting a tattoo

Regardless of where you sleep on a trip right after getting a tattoo, always use your own clean bedding. Even if the bed you are sleeping in seems very clean, it is always preferable not to take the risk with a new tattoo when you sleep. It does not matter if the bed belongs to a friend or a relative, they will surely understand and appreciate that you take care of the tattoo.

Even if you are careful, it is possible the tattoo can become infected. This is the case if the tattoo becomes swollen or starts to look wrinkly. If this is the case, you will need to know what to do to heal a new tattoo.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Sleep With a New Tattoo, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

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How to Sleep With a New Tattoo