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Some people wear a bra 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for optimal support, while others cannot wait to get home and rip it off — if they even had one on in the first place. There is no right or wrong in regards to when and where to wear a bra, or sleeping with a bra on. It comes down to personal preference, and what you feel most comfortable wearing. So, let’s explore this great debate: should you sleep with a bra on?

Reasons People Sleep with a Bra On

There are many reasons you may choose to sleep with your bra on each night, whether it be due to hormonal changes, or sensitive breast tissue, for examples. For most women, it comes down to personal choice, and varies from person to person.

A few reasons people sleep with a bra on include:

Breast Size

Only a small percentage (some estimates are less than 1%)  of the population has a breast size larger than a D cup; however, women with larger breasts frequently experience an increase in upper and lower back pain. Large-breasted women often find comfort in the additional support of wearing a comfortable, supportive bra during the day — and at night.

Tenderness

Glandular tissue, also known as breast tissue, has many responsibilities, such as producing milk and providing perkiness. Mastalgia, or breast tenderness, affects nearly 70 percent of women at some point in their lives, leaving them to feel uncomfortable. Sleeping in a bra helps to reduce breast tenderness with added support.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

From an increase in breast size to milk production, breasts go through many different changes throughout pregnancy and a breastfeeding journey. Many new mothers, early in their breastfeeding journey, opt to wear a bra at all times for additional comfort, added support, and to catch leaking milk.

Pros of Sleeping with a Bra On

Comfort

Millions of women find it exceptionally comfortable wearing a wireless bra at night while they are sleeping. It allows for the breasts to remain held in place, and allows for more support to prevent pain and discomfort.

Better Sleep

Sleep is crucial in the development of the human brain, allowing for memory formation, sound decision making, and even breathing. Sleeping in a bra for many can hinder a person’s sleeping habits, leaving them to feel sleep deprived, or to suffer from insomnia. Others, though, find sleeping in a soft bra or sports bra more comfortable.

Prevent Sagging

Breasts are made of connective tissue, ligaments, and pectoral muscles. As you age, breast sagging occurs due to a decrease in elasticity of the breast. While sagging is inevitable, many believe wearing a supportive bra during sleep can help to reduce the risk of sagging, or prevent premature sagging.

Cons of Sleeping with a Bra On

Sleeping with a bra on at night, while not an immediate threat, can have some unpleasant or detrimental health and well-being issues — specifically when it is the wrong bra size.

Note: Some may wonder if sleeping with a bra on could cause breast cancer, and John Hopkins Medicine, and others, report no, it does not. It will also not cause stunted breast growth.

Circulation Restriction

The pectoral muscles, breast tissue, and nipples all rely heavily on adequate blood supply from circulating blood to keep the area “alive”. Wearing a bra to bed can restrict blood circulation, resulting in negative breast health, and can prevent the breasts from producing milk in breastfeeding mothers.

Skin Issues

After a long day, many cannot wait to take a hot bath, and climb into bed for the night — but what happens when women put their bra on? Bras harbor harmful bacteria, and sweat throughout the day. Therefore wearing the same bra to bed that you have been wearing all day can result in skin issues, like skin irritation, acne, and the risk of a fungal infection. Skin irritation can lead to itching and discomfort if left without treatment.

Difficulty Sleeping

The human body needs sleep to perform basic functions, and comfort equates to high-quality sleep. It is best to steer clear of an underwire bra at bedtime, and opt for sleep bras or a soft bra instead.

Sweat

Breasts can be sweaty, especially larger breasts. Throughout the day, a bra absorbs sweat, making it unhygienic by the time bedtime comes around.

Best Bra Types to Sleep With?

There are endless options when it comes to wearing a bra: from underwire, wireless, even strapless. But, what is the best type of bra to wear to bed?

Sports Bra

Sleeping in a bra is not necessarily a bad thing; but it is important to choose the right sleep bras. Sports bras are a great option to sleep in when they are bought in the proper size, as they are soft, do not obtain underwire, and provide just enough support to reduce pain you may have in your breasts. Some sports bra have vents or moisture-wicking attributes, which can help keep your breasts stay cooler during sleep.

Cotton Bra

100 percent cotton is most recommended among medical professionals, as it reduces sweating, and helps to prevent breasts from developing a fungal infection. Of course, as with all other bras, you must wash a cotton bra regularly to ensure unhealthy repercussions.

Hookless

Have you found yourself tossing and turning at night, unable to get comfortable? Steer clear of bras that contain a hook clasp on the back, and go for a well-fitting bra that either zips in the front, or does not require a clasp. Those hooks can dig into your back, making it difficult to sleep.

Wireless

A wireless bra is among the most recommended sleep bras, as they do not dig into your skin, and offer major benefits in regards to comfort and support.

Do’s and Don'ts of Wearing a Bra to Bed

Wearing a bra to bed can have many health benefits, but only if it is done right.


Do’s

  • Look for a soft bra with breathable material to ensure comfort, support, and health
  • Change into a nighttime bra when you get ready for bed, rather than continuing to wear the same bra you have been wearing throughout the day
  • Regularly wash your bra; don’t sleep with a dirty bra

Don’ts

  • Wear an underwire bra, or improperly fitting bra, that can dig into your skin causing pain and discomfort
  • Use an improperly fitting or too-tight sports bra as a pajama top
  • Compromise comfort
  • Don’t sleep with a too tight bra

Who Would Benefit from Wearing a Bra to Bed?

Millions of American women wear a bra every day. While it is ultimately personal preference if a woman wears a bra to sleep or not, certain people would benefit more than others from wearing a bra to bed.

Sleep Position

Do you sleep on your side or your back? Sleeping on your side puts pressure on the chest wall, causing creasing of the breasts, while sleeping on your back leaves gravity to pull the breasts down. Sleeping with a supportive, soft bra can help reduce the risk of premature sagging, if you tend to sleep in either of these two positions.

Large Breasts

During a personal interview, women with larger breasts report the need for additional support to help them get a good night’s rest. They found wearing a bra to bed helped to reduce breast pain and discomfort, thus allowing them to sleep better each night.

Menstruating

During menstruation, the body goes through many hormonal changes, resulting in emotional imbalances, and breast tenderness or soreness. Wearing a sleep bra at night can be more comfortable for women on their period, as it significantly cuts down on feeling breast tenderness and pain.

Breast Surgery

Have you recently had a breast augmentation, or lift? Board-certified plastic surgeons recommend the best way to maintain lasting results is to keep the breast tissue well-supported, both day and night. Wearing a soft, well-fitted sports bra or sleep bra can help keep the boobs in place, and prevent unwanted side effects.

Takeaway

A sleep bra should be appropriately sized, not contain underwire, and should be 100 percent cotton for optimal health benefits. While the decision ultimately falls upon each individual, wearing a bra to bed has proven beneficial in breast health. The bra should not dig into the skin, or leave indentions, and should be washed regularly to prevent bacteria and sweat buildup, as well as fungal infection. Whether you choose to sleep in a bra or not is up to you, but if you choose to do so, it is important that you do it the right way.

If you find yourself experiencing increased difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep, it may be time to change up your sleep attire, or even your mattress. If you are not wearing a bra to sleep — try a soft bra. If you are wearing a bra to sleep, purchase a new type of bra to see if it provides you with more comfort and support during sleep.

Elizabeth Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional freelance writer and editor who holds an MBA. Liz specializes in writing about health news, medical conditions, healthy living, small business, career and work, personal finance, and green-living, including news and trending topics in these specialties. Her clients include Healthline, The Motley Fool, GoBanking Rates, LIVESTRONG.com, Big Interview, HealthNews, Intuit Small Business Blog, Intuit Health, American News Report, Travels.com, IFX Medical, and many others. She’s also a published eBook author and ghost writer for various clients in the health, medical, career, small business, and personal finance niches.