How to Get Quality Sleep after ACL Surgery: Tips and Advice

Getting ACL surgery can be a significant event in your life. Recovering from such a surgery is both physically and mentally draining. One aspect that many people struggle with after ACL surgery is getting quality sleep. In this post, we’ll go over some tips and tricks to help you get the best possible rest during your recovery.

The Importance of Sleep After Surgery

Before diving into our advice on how to sleep after ACL surgery, it’s important to understand why good sleep is so crucial for recovery. During deep stages of sleep, your body produces hormones that are essential for tissue growth and repair. Without sufficient restful deep sleep, patients may experience slower healing rates or increased pain levels resulting from inflammation or discomfort.

Sleeping Positions Post-ACL Surgery

One of the most common questions asked by patients once they return home following an ACL reconstruction procedure is what position works best when sleeping? Depending on the type of graft used in your surgeon’s technique (patellar tendon vs hamstring), there will be different recommendations regarding sleeping positions.

For those who underwent patellar tendon grafts:
It’s critical to keep the leg straight when resting initially until 1-2 weeks have passed since PTG uses bone plugs at both anchor points, which could become disrupted if too much pressure were put on them too soon.
Sleeping flat on your back with pillows under each calf/ankle helps support leg elevation comfortably.

For those who underwent hamstring tendon grafts:
Patients can begin bending their knee immediately while lying down by gently placing a pillow underneath it but never forcefully flexing it more than 90 degrees.
Side-sleepers should place cushions between legs/knees for comfort and stability; additionally, elevating one end of their bed using bed risers also helps alleviate knee swelling further due to gravity-assisted drainage overnight.

How To Manage Pain At Night

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort at night, it can be challenging to fall asleep. Here are a few strategies to help manage your symptoms and get the rest that is essential for healing:
– Make sure to take any prescribed medications as directed by your surgeon. Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be helpful.
– Use ice therapy (frozen peas, a bag of ice) on the knee before sleeping to decrease swelling.
– Elevate your leg with pillows while lying down in bed; this helps reduce inflammation in the knee.

Things To Keep In Mind As You Recover

As you work towards recovery post-surgery, there are some additional things you should keep in mind when trying to sleep:
– Be patient with yourself: It’s normal for sleep patterns to change after surgery due to increased stress levels. Allow yourself time and patience as you adjust back into healthy habits.
– Consistency is key: Try sticking with regular bedtime routines like taking a warm bath or reading a book before turning off the lights.
– Ask for help if needed: Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need assistance from family members or friends during recovery.


Getting quality sleep after ACL surgery can feel like an uphill battle initially but keeping these tips in mind will go a long way towards ensuring proper recovery from the procedure itself. Remember, getting sufficient restful deep sleep plays an integral role in repairing damaged tissue postoperatively – making it all worth pushing through those tough nights!