Marilyn Monroe did it, Tyra Banks does it and Halle Berry swears by it, but is sleeping with a bra okay? We lay out the pros and cons to wearing a bra to bed so you can sleep soundly.
Pros of Wearing a Bra to Bed
To Prevent Sagging - Myth or Fact?
One of the most common reasons women cite for wearing a bra to bed is to prevent sagging. But does it really work?
First we should understand what causes breasts to sag and droop in the first place. The major player in this is loss of elasticity from aging. Yep, that means that they’re going south anyway.
Weight of the breasts
The weight and percentage of fat in the breast in relation to breast tissue also plays a significant role in sagging. Leading up to the time of menopause, the amount of fat content in the breast increases. This puts strain on the Cooper’s ligaments, the supporting ligaments that give breasts their perkiness.
Plastic Surgeon Brian Rinker of the University of Kentucky concluded in 2010 that cigarettes "break down a protein in the skin called elastin, which gives youthful skin its elastic appearance and supports the breast".
Wearing the wrong sports bra
Wearing the wrong sports bra can cause long lasting damage. Without a properly fitted sports bra, breasts move in three directions: vertically, horizontally and in a figure-8 motion.
This stretches the Cooper’s ligaments and can lead to earlier sagging. We recommend getting fitted and checking out our “ Sports Bra Fitting Guide” today!
So does Wearing a Bra to Bed Help Prevent Sagging?
There’s no real evidence to prove that wearing a bra to bed prevents sagging. And while everyday bras are designed to help with vertical positioning, breasts need horizontal support when you’re lying on your back.
Cons of Wearing a Bra to Bed
Decrease in Circulation
Sleeping in a bra can restrict circulation around the chest, which can cause a numbness or pain in the arm. Extended periods of this numbness or pain can lead to serious medical conditions like blood clots or skin infections. Additionally, with constant pressure around the chest, bras can cause damage to the breast tissue and lymph nodes over time. Lymph nodes help drain toxins and waste products. According to the American Cancer Society “They (lymph nodes) contain immune cells that can help fight infection by attacking and destroying germs that are carried in through the lymph fluid”. When you sleep in a bra, there is extra pressure on these nodes which makes it difficult for them to function properly. This can cause a buildup of toxic fluids and waste products in the breast area which “leads to chronic inflammation, fluid retention and pain,” according to Professor Kefah Mokbel, lead Breast Surgeon at the London Breast Institute of the Princess Grace Hospital.
Skin Irritation & Restlessness
Whether it’s the hooks that can dig into your back or uncomfortable fabrics like lace that can rub against the front of the breast, constant rubbing and chafing can lead to severe irritation, rashes, skin lesions and cysts. The skin around breasts is often very sensitive and has a very low tolerance to external stimuli, meaning it doesn’t take long for redness and irritation to occur. When skin irritation occurs it makes it hard to sleep and can cause restlessness, leading to bad sleeping patterns.
One cause of hyperpigmentation of skin is constant pressure, like that of a bra strap or bra band. Skin becomes darker and can appear sore.
We would add an image here, but it is too graphic and made us squirm a little. Breast fungus is an aggressive infection of the skin of the breast and as such, must be treated as soon as it is identified. Breast fungus can occur above the bra band, where the breasts touch the skin. It is also common to see breast fungus in cleavage as fungus requires dark, warm and moist conditions to grow. The breast area is ideal for any skin fungus to thrive and even spread with time.
Women with larger cup sizes are most at risk, but it can happen to anyone who wears tight bras or anyone that sweats excessively. If you wear a bra to bed, it’s important to note that your girls will be stuck in a warm, damp petri dish of sweat for 24 hours, exactly what fungus needs.
When is it Okay to Wear a Bra to Bed?
Pregnancy brings with it ultra sensitive breasts that ache and change as they grow. Wearing softer and more elasticised bras at night while pregnant can help increase feelings of support and comfort. Typically, maternity bras will:
Have wider straps
Have soft cups - no underwire
Be made of cooler fabrics like cotton
Have at least 3 hooks to close
According to Made For Mums, another option to start increasing support of the breasts at night is to try using a small cushion or a pregnancy pillow. This will give your girls a break and prevent things like hyperpigmentation, restlessness and irritation.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on wearing a bra to bed! Get in touch via Facebook or pop into a store today to chat about your sleepwear preferences!