Those first few nights of sleep with a new tattoo can be tricky. Sleeping with your new tattoo can be scary, but we don’t recommend you become a Dracula of the night.
Getting that beauty rest is a key ingredient for healing your tattoo. But yeah, it can be a double-edged sword because if you don’t take care – you may find your tattoo in bad shape.
Here is how to get some solid ZZZs while keeping your tattoo safe from any disturbances to its healing process.
1. Clean Sheets
Before you get a new tattoo, make sure you do your laundry. Sleeping on dirty sheets is a surefire way to pick up some bacteria or have lint lodged in your hardening scabs. Never a fun time.
So don’t be gross—keep those sheets as clean as possible to prevent infection and weird things sticking to your wound. You’ll also want to take care of what you’re washing your sheets with and any softener you use in the drying cycle.
You already know to watch for irritants in the soap you’re using to wash your new tattoo. The same goes for your detergents and softeners. Clean is the name of the game, not irritated.
2. Crappy Sheets
It’s finally time to break out those sheets you never use in the back of your closet. The first few nights, your tattoo might ooze blood or excess ink, and you’ll want to protect your good sheets from the goo.
Throw on your old, least favorite bed sheets (as long as they’re clean). If you don’t have spare sheets, throw a clean towel down to protect your sheets and mattress.
3. Sleeping Position
Consider the placement of your tattoo and try a sleeping position where your tattoo will remain undisturbed through the night. You don’t want your tattoo getting smushed into your mattress or stuck to your sheets. It could disturb the scabbing or slow your healing.
If your tattoo is on the back of your right thigh, try sleeping on your left side or stomach. We wouldn’t recommend sleeping on your stomach any other time, though. Your tattoo might thank you, but your neck will not!
This tip is for the sleep vampires that don’t thrash about when they’re in the REM cycles. If you’re a thrasher, we’ll talk about some other options.
4. Wrapping Your Tattoo To Sleep
Thrasher option: wrap your tattoo up when you go to sleep. We recommend you let your tattoo air dry as much as possible, but if you are prone to thrashing in your sleep and think your tattoo could get the short end of the stick – wrap it up.
Make sure you use a sanitary bandage and clean your tattoo before and after wrapping. If you can, wrap the bandage looser for protection and airflow. Or use a tattoo-specific bandage for the temporary wrap like a Tegaderm or a Saniderm.
5. Getting Unstuck
Waking up with your fresh tattoo stuck to your sheets is the worst. We know, but don’t panic — it should be fairly simple to detach.
Bundle up your new BFF (the sheet you are attached to) and drag it to the bathroom. Apply a bit of warm water to the sheet where it’s stuck, and it should loosen up. You should be able to remove yourself from the stage five clinger.
Be gentle; you don’t want to yank the sheet off and potentially cause damage to the new tattoo. Yanking it could rip open healed skin and peel off healing scabs, which are essential. If things are still sticky after warm water, use a bit of soap or coconut oil.
6. Clean Your Tattoo Before and After Sleeping
Give your new tattoo a gentle washing before you crawl into bed to rid it of any bacteria or goobers collected over the day. You want it to have a fresh start when it’s time to hit the hay. Leaving it unwashed just means more time for bacteria to develop.
You’ll also want to give your tattoo a gentle cleanse in the morning once you’re out of bed, removing any fuzzies or whatever else has attached itself to your tattoo during the night. Hot tip: when you brush your teeth, you should also be washing your tattoo.
Wash our antibacterial, fragrance-free soap to cleanse your wound while aiding the natural healing process with botanicals and CBD.
After cleansing your tattoo, apply an antibacterial moisturizer safe for new wounds. Our healing balm is full of natural botanicals and moisturizing agents.
It’ll keep your wound properly hydrated and support the healing process. A healing balm also creates a barrier between your tattoo and any intruders — it protects and heals simultaneously. Voila!
Moisturizing before bed will also make sure your tattoo doesn’t dry out and get stuck to anything like the sheets or your clothing.
8. Sleep Well
Getting deep sleep is important for proper healing and health in general. Make sure you get those ZZZs, friends.
When you get into that deep sleep, your body starts releasing growth hormones that aid in wound healing. Deep sleep also lowers cortisol levels which can impact the healing process.
Do you ever notice how you get sickly when stressed and underslept? Yeah, your body needs good sleep on a regular day to manage all the normal functions it’s performing day-in-day-out.
While you’re healing, missing sleep will only lengthen your healing time. So get into it (and by “it,” we mean your bed)!
9. Keep It Cool
Don’t get all sweaty while you sleep. If you can control the temperature, take it to an optimal 65 degrees Fahrenheit for sleeping. This temp will help get you into those important REM cycles and keep you from waking up in sweats or fever dreams.
If you get all hot and sweaty while you sleep, you leave room for bacteria to breed in your new wound. And if you are waking up from this hot, sweaty sleep, then you’re disrupting your REM cycles, and your body isn’t getting a good chance to heal you up. It’s a lose-lose.
10. Wear Loose Clothing
Don’t wear tight clothing to bed with a new tattoo. If you plan on sleeping with your tattoo uncovered, maybe you’ve considered wearing clothes to put a barrier between the tattoo and your sheets.
Not a bad idea, but make sure you choose the appropriate attire. Wear loose, clean fabrics that are breathable.
A cotton shirt or pants you don’t care too much about is the best way to go. That way, if you ooze excess ink or your moisturizing balm rubs off, you aren’t ruining your bedtime silks.
11. Ditch your Partner
If you’ve got a bedmate – kick ‘em out! Or at least try a pillow barrier between the two of you. Snuggles are for people with healed tattoos!
We’re kidding but proceed with caution — if your bedmate is a thrasher, keep some distance. You don’t want to lose this duel as you’ve got a nice, new piece of body art at risk.
This tip also goes for pets — keep the cats and dogs out of the bed until your tattoo has time to close up. You don’t want to be washing out furballs in the morning.
Now Go and Count Sheep!
The best time to score on some skin rejuvenation is while you’re sleeping, but it can also be the riskiest for your tattoo. Cash in on those ideal hours by following HUSH tips on keeping your tattoo safe while sleeping.
Get a good, healing, deep sleep with optimal temperatures. Protect your tattoo with clean sheets and loose clothing.
Protect your bed with towels and old sheets. And if you get clingy, try soap, water, and coconut oil.
Make sure you clean your tattoo before and after sleeping and apply a thin layer of healing balm. Last but not least, don’t let any bedmate interfere with your healing!