It’s an age-old argument with women everywhere – should you sleep in a bra, or not? I know many women who have slept in full, underwired bras their entire lives and find it comfortable. But I know others (me included) who can’t stand the idea of sleeping while being so constricted and contained. Old wives tales swear it causes sagging, but the iconic Marilyn Monroe used to sleep with a bra on every night to prevent them from sagging. So which is it?
What Causes Breasts to Sag?
The biggest reason people quote for sleeping in a bra is that it stops their breasts from sagging, so let’s start there. Breast sagging is an inevitable fact for women as they age (sorry!). It happens because the connective tissue holding the breasts in place loses its elasticity over time – like that favourite pair of pants you’ve had for 5 years that doesn’t fit anymore. As if that wasn’t enough, there are other factors that will increase the likelihood of sagging breasts. That list includes pregnancy, breastfeeding, smoking, dramatic weight loss or gain, high-intensity activity and even simple genetics. Some of those things you can control, some of them you can’t!
So Why Wear a Bra to Bed?
If the reasons breasts sag are largely out of our control, does wearing a bra to bed help? Well, the simple answer is: no. And when you think about it, it makes sense. After all, sagging is caused by the downward pull of gravity on the mass of your breasts. That’s why women with bigger breasts tend to see more sagging – there’s more fat and density within the tissue for the gravity to work on.
But when you’re lying down flat to sleep, gravity isn’t pulling them down. Instead, it’s pushing the breast tissue back towards your chest – not towards your toes. Bras are designed to support your breasts from below – something that’s completely redundant when you’re in bed. So unless you sleep like a bat – you don’t need to wear a bra in bed.
Are There Any Downsides?
Of course, for some people it isn’t about sagging – it’s about comfort and modesty. But there are some significant downsides to wearing your normal bra to bed. For example, if your bra often leaves impressions in your skin from being too tight, then wearing it to sleep as well won’t give your skin any chance to bounce back and recover. So you could end up with permanent indents in your skin and tissue – not a good look!
There’s’ then the issue of the rest of you. After all, under all of the fat and tissue, there’s some important stuff in your chest. Muscles, blood vessels, lymph nodes and nerves. If you’re wearing a bra of the wrong fit (which most women are) all the time, then you may be restricting blood flow and recovery for these important areas. This is especially important in the lymphatic system. A tight bra may end up restricting the flow of lymph to the lymph nodes in your chest and armpits, which in turn would stop them being able to flush out toxins, causing problems. So really, there are some pretty compelling reasons to not wear a bra to bed.
But, if you want to make sure you are covered and kept comfortable, it’s important to make sure you’re at least not wearing an underwired one. Low impact sports bras at least one or two sizes too big would be ideal, as these allow your breasts and systems to relax and recover while still keeping you covered and comfy. At Elle Courbee, we have a wide range of bras you could choose to sleep in, all of which will be comfortable and fashionable. Just check out our collection here.