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How to Sleep After Gallbladder Surgery

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Update: June 2, 2023
4 min read

Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
How To Sleep After Gallbladder Surgery

Anyone who ever had their gallbladder removed knows that the recovery isn’t easy. However, sleeping comfortably is one of the biggest challenges you might face. So, might wonder – How to sleep after gallbladder surgery? However, there are many things you can do to help yourself sleep better after surgery and speed up your recovery. 

Sleep Guides India will help you with these tips and how to keep up with them to sleep comfortably while recovering!

What Is the Gallbladder

The gallbladder is an organ right below the liver. Its primary function is to store and concentrate bile produced by the liver, which helps digest fats. When we eat foods containing fat, the gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine to help break down the fat. It has a thin wall composed of two layers: an inner layer of epithelial cells and an outer layer of smooth muscle cells.

When Is Gallbladder Surgery Necessary

Gallbladder Surgery is reserved for cases where inflammation is severe and does not respond to medication. However, surgery may also be necessary if there are stones in the gallbladder. Stones typically contain cholesterol, which can obstruct the bile ducts and lead to gallbladder inflammation. 

How to Sleep After Gallbladder Surgery

When it comes to gallbladder surgery, you must have heard one common question: How should you sleep after gallbladder surgery?

It is necessary to take precautions here because, during the surgery, the gallbladder is removed, and the bile duct is reconnected to the liver. Here are a few tips you can follow to get a comfortable sleep –

Sleep on Your Back or Left Side, Not on Your Stomach or Right Side

Concerning your sleeping position, you are likely to face one doubt – “When can I sleep on my side after gallbladder surgery?

Sleeping on your stomach or side for four weeks after gallbladder surgery is not recommended. Sleeping on your stomach or right side can put pressure on your incision and cause pain. 

Take Prescription or OTC Pain Relievers

You can do a few things to ease pain and have a comfortable sleep after gallbladder surgery. Your doctor will likely prescribe pain medication for you to take as needed. You may be prescribed over-the-counter pain relief medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Make sure to follow the instructions given by your doctor. 

Create a Good Sleeping Environment in Your Bedroom

Creating a good sleeping environment in your bedroom is essential Every tiny detail matters during recovery, be it your room environment or sleeping positions after gallbladder surgery.

First, make sure the room is dark. Use heavy curtains or an eye mask to block out any light. Also, keep the room cool since it is ideal for sleeping. Moreover, you must use comfortable bedding and ensure that your sheets and blankets are cozy. 

Follow Your Doctor’s Exercise Advice

You should strictly follow your doctor’s exercise advice if you are experiencing a tough recovery time and wondering – How can I be comfortable after gallbladder surgery?

Exercise will help you recover from surgery and avoid complications. Start slowly and gradually increase your activity as your body heals. Avoid strenuous activity or contact sports for at least 10-14 days. Gallbladder surgery is a significant operation, and you will need time to recover. Following your doctor’s advice on exercise will help you heal properly and avoid complications. 

Avoid Heavy Meals Before Bed

It’s best to avoid eating heavy meals before bed after having gallbladder surgery. Eating a large meal can lead to indigestion, keeping you up at night. Instead, stick to lighter fare in the evening, and save your big meals for during the day.

Diffuse Essential Oils

Using essential oils can also help with insomnia after gallbladder surgery or even trouble sleeping in general. Many different essential oils are available, such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, each with unique benefits. 

Causes of trouble sleeping after gallbladder surgery

Trouble sleeping after gallbladder surgery can be attributed to several factors. First, pain and discomfort at the incision site can make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.

Second, postoperative medications, such as painkillers or antibiotics, may have side effects that disrupt sleep patterns. Anxiety and stress related to the surgery can also contribute to sleep difficulties.

Additionally, changes in diet and digestion after gallbladder removal can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, including acid reflux, which can interfere with sleep. Lastly, the overall recovery process and physical limitations during the healing period can disrupt regular sleep routines.

Gallbladder surgery recovery process

The recovery process for gallbladder surgery, also known as cholecystectomy, typically involves several stages. Initially, patients spend a few days in the hospital to monitor their condition and manage any potential complications.

Pain medication is provided to alleviate discomfort. Once discharged, patients are advised to gradually resume regular activities while avoiding strenuous exercises and heavy lifting for a few weeks. They may experience some fatigue, pain, and bloating during this period, but these symptoms gradually subside.

A specialized diet is recommended, including low-fat and easily digestible foods to avoid stressing the digestive system. It’s important to stay hydrated and consume fiber-rich foods to prevent constipation.

Patients are generally able to return to work within one to two weeks, with a full recovery typically achieved within four to six weeks. Regular follow-up visits are scheduled to ensure proper healing and address any concerns.


Getting a good night’s sleep is important, especially if you are experiencing trouble sleeping after gallbladder surgery. You can do a few things to help make that happen. First, follow the prescription recommended by your doctor and sleep on the back/left side. Second, maintain a regular bedtime routine. And finally, make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet.


How can I be comfortable after gallbladder surgery?

Follow the pain medication your doctor prescribes. Avoid activities like lifting heavy objects or exercising for a week or two. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions/concerns about your recovery.

Can I sleep flat after gallbladder surgery?

No, you should avoid that. Instead, sleep on your back for the first few nights after surgery. This is to help decrease swelling and pain around the incision site, putting too much pressure on the incision site and causing pain.

Why is it hard to sleep after gallbladder surgery?

It is because the surgery itself can be quite taxing on the body and may leave you feeling exhausted. Also, the pain from the incision site can make it challenging to find a comfortable position to sleep in. 

Is it OK to cough after gallbladder surgery?

It’s perfectly normal, and there is nothing to be concerned about. In fact, coughing decreases your risk of lung infection when combined with deep breathing. 


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Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
With a Master's Degree in Mass Communication and nearly two decades of professional expertise in crafting healthcare articles, he possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field.

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