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wearing a bra at night

Wearing a Bra at Night: Is Sleeping in a Bra Harmful?


Can you sleep with a bra on?

There is no hardcore research that points to the absolute negative effects of wearing a bra. In fact, some women with painful or lumpy breasts may benefit from the structure a bra provides.

However, not all bras are meant for sleeping and in many cases, they may end up doing more harm than good.

Can it prevent your breasts from sagging?

You may have heard from someone that sleeping in a bra can help keep your boobs perky. However, breasts will sag over time as gravity and age take their toll but guess what? It’s completely normal!

There are ligaments in your breasts (Cooper’s ligaments) that stretch over time to make your breasts sag. Wearing a bra cannot prevent this and you will, eventually, end up with breasts that aren’t as perky anymore.

What can be making your breasts sag faster?

Apart from age, there are certain factors that can influence how fast your breasts start to sag:

  • Genetics - You inherit your skin elasticity, tissue density and breast size, all of which can play a role in how your breasts end up looking over time.
  • Changing body shape - Constantly gaining and losing weight can make your skin lose its elasticity, causing saggy breasts.
  • Smoking - Nicotine in cigarettes break down elastin, causing your skin to become droopy.
  • Exercising without support - If you work out vigorously without a bra, the ligaments in your breasts become loose from all the bouncing around.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding - Pregnancy and breastfeeding can make your boobs grow in size, making the breast tissues and ligaments stretch and become loose.

Why is sleeping in a bra harmful?

People can have their personal reasons for wearing a bra to bed, but they may give rise to a few possible disadvantages:

  • Inhibits blood circulation - Wearing a bra, especially a tight one with an underwire or even a sports bra, can constrict your pectoral muscles and inhibit blood flow through your arms and the rest of your body.
  • Disrupts sleep - Sleeping in tight clothes, like a bra, can affect your sleeping experience and make it very uncomfortable.
  • Skin discoloration - When certain regions of your skin get a spike in melanin levels, hyperpigmentation arises. Sleeping in a bra generates friction and stimulates melanocyte production, possibly giving you dark spots and an uneven skin tone.
  • Skin irritation and infection - Bras have parts like hooks, straps, etc that can rub against your skin and cause pain and irritation to your skin. Further, it creates a warm, moist environment by trapping sweat. This creates an ideal breeding ground for fungus, increasing your risk of a fungal infection.
  • Affects the lymphatic system - There are a few studies that show sleeping in typical bras can negatively affect your lymphatic system. The lymph nodes in your underarms remove toxins from your body. Bras can block this drainage and elevate your risk of developing oedema and chronic breast inflammation.

What are the benefits of going braless during bedtime?

There are quite a few benefits of going braless during bedtime, which can include:

  • Better breathing - Lying down narrows your upper airways, making it harder for air to reach your lungs and subsequently, breathe. Tight bras can increase this restriction by suffocating your ribcage and lowering your normal level of oxygen intake. So, if you go braless, your breathing improves and you sleep better.
  • Prevention of hyperpigmentation - Letting the skin breathe lowers targeted melanocyte production, thus lowering the chances of hyperpigmentation. Also, the bra digging into your skin can create marks and indentations that may often become permanent when the skin gets repeatedly bruised at the same spot.
  • Protection against injuries - The bras, wires and straps can give you mild injuries that can be quite uncomfortable. Sleeping without a bra helps you against this.
  • Better hygiene - If you don’t sleep in a bra, especially in hot weather, you can prevent sweat, body odour and body acne. Your hygiene is improved when you choose to go braless in bed.

What if you feel more comfortable sleeping in a bra?

You may be someone who feels more comfortable sleeping in a bra but looking for a better alternative to traditional bras. There are specially designed bras available in the market with seamless, soft and non-irritating fabric.

They are usually not as tight and feature comfortable straps and clasps. You can look for options like these and buy them in a larger size to help you sleep better.

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