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Is It Okay to Sleep in a Bra?

Since we got our first training bra, we’ve all heard the wives’ tales about whether sleeping in one is bad or good for health. From links to health concerns to preventative sagging, rumors pervade around whether or not it’s okay to sleep in a bra. Spoiler alert: It is, however, the deciding factor should be whether or not you find wearing bras to bed comfortable and supportive. 

It’s time to settle the debate once and for all. We’ll debunk the different bra-related myths, to help you feel confident in whatever way you choose to house your breasts for lounging and sleep.

Is Sleeping in a Bra Bad for You?

Women with blonde hair laying down on white sheets and smiling while preparing to sleep in a bra

The short answer is no, but it can be if you aren’t sleeping in the right bra. There are no peer-reviewed medical studies that point to negative effects from sleeping with a bra such as cancer or stunts in breast growth. That being said, sleeping in a bra that’s too tight or digs into your skin, can cause irritation and disrupt sleep. If you wear a dirty bra to sleep, it can also accumulate bacteria and increase your chances of breaking out in those areas so make sure to properly wash your bras after 3-4 wears. 

According to studies, wearing a bra or other tight-fitting garment at night can affect a person’s sleep-wake cycle. Researchers found that nighttime pressure from tight-fitting garments caused an increase in core body temperature and a decrease in melatonin—a hormone that helps regulate sleep. 

We all enjoy wearing our comfiest clothes to bed, so when choosing to sleep in a bra, opt for one that won’t pinch or irritate you during sleep. 

Is it Beneficial to Sleep in a Bra?

Women with short blonde hair clasping the back of a white bra preparing to wear it to sleep

The main benefit of sleeping in a bra is support—wearing a bra under your pajamas can limit breast movement, which can help alleviate breast pain and lead to more comfortable sleep. If you find bras comfortable, then there is no reason not to sleep in one. Sleeping in a bra (depending on its stylecan also reduce discomfort related to pregnancy such as breast swelling, engorgement during breastfeeding, or when trying to wean off of breastfeeding.

You might be wondering whether wearing a bra to bed can prevent breasts from sagging. We’ll cover that next. 

Does Not Wearing a Bra to Bed Cause Sagging?

6 round icons representing the real reasons for sagging breasts like genetics, gravity, skin damage and pregnancy

Sleeping in a bra does not prevent your breasts from sagging. On the contrary, our breast tissue doesn’t receive the gravitational pull when we are lying down, so we don’t need to wear a bra to bed for prevention reasons. 

Breasts will naturally sag over time due to genetics, body habits, or if pregnant. Cooper’s ligaments, which are the ligaments that support your breasts, stretch over time, leading to natural sagging. There are many reasons why sagging might occur, which we’ve outlined below. 

Reasons Breasts Might Sag 

Over time, ligaments can stretch out and lose their shape however, according to Barry Roseman, M.D., a breast surgeon and surgical oncologist, if women are aware of the contributing factors, they can take preventive measures to avoid excessive sagging.

  1. Aging: As we age, the ligaments that make up breast tissue stretch and lose elasticity. 
  2. Gravity: Years of gravitational pull can take a toll on the ligaments, especially for those with larger breasts. 
  3. Lack of proper support: Not wearing a supportive bra every day and during workouts can take a toll on breast shape and lift. 
  4. Pregnancy: The ligaments in your breast can begin to stretch out and droop during pregnancy and while you're breastfeeding.
  5. Smoking: Carcinogens in cigarette smoke cause elastin to break down in the body.
  6. Sunburn: Ultraviolet rays damage the skin and cause loss of elasticity as well.
  7. Fluctuates in weight: Major fluctuations in weight can cause unnecessary stretching of the breasts.

Should You Wear a Bra to Bed?

Blonde women modeling a black demi bra with gold lines calling out the perfect fit for sleeping

Although choosing to sleep in a bra can’t significantly harm or help your breasts, deciding whether you should wear a bra to bed or not is entirely up to you. If you have larger breasts or simply like the compression or comfort a soft sleeping bra provides, we say go for it! That being said, we do recommend choosing a bra that is looser, softer, and more flexible than your everyday bra. Also, ditch the underwire, as tight bras with underwire can cause skin irritation and disrupt sleep. 

The best way to tell if a bra will be comfortable for sleeping is by putting it to the “perfect fit” test. If you need assistance with measuring your bra size, explore our bra size chart

Band 

The band should not hike up your back or dig into your shoulder tissue. There should be enough room to slide one to two fingers underneath it.

Hook & Straps

The straps should sit securely on your shoulders and be snug but not too tight. The back hook (if there is one) should be on the second hook.

Gore & Cups

The gore should lay flat against your chest with both breasts sitting inside the cups. The cups should form to the curve of your breast and should properly cover with no overflow or gaps.

All that’s left is finding a bra that is comfortable and built for sleep. 

The Best Bras For Sleeping

Blonde women smiling and holding a blue cup of coffee and wearing a black bra and button-down shirt

Unsure where to look for a sleeping bra? Ahead you’ll find our favorite bras for bedtime

Cool Cotton 

Cool Cotton bras and bralettes are made of an exclusive, breathable smart fabric that wicks away moisture for hot sleepers and offers a wireless lined cup that provides lightweight support.  Closeup of a model wearing one of Tommy John’s Cool Cotton bra representing one of the best bras for sleeping in 

Second Skin

Second Skin fabric is crafted to be so soft and luxurious—it’s like you’re not wearing anything at all. Our Second Skin bras and bralettes are pullover and seam-free to offer soft support with no digging. 

Closeup of a model wearing one of Tommy John’s Second Skin bra representing one of the best bras for sleeping in

Comfort Smoothing

Comfort Smoothing fabric is ultra-breathable, lightweight and supportive. Our laser-cut vanishing seams are invisible under clothing and offer side and back smoothing to accentuate what you love, and smooths what you don’t. Comfort Smoothing bras and bralettes offer a Comfort Strength Band that lays flat and won’t dig as well as wire-free support. 

Closeup of a model wearing one of Tommy John’s Comfort Smoothing bra representing one of the best bras for sleeping in

There’s no evidence that points to any negative health effects from choosing to sleep in a bra and for some, wearing a bra to bed can offer support and alleviation from breast pain. Deciding whether to sleep in a bra or not is all about preference and the perfect fit for sleep. Luckily, all of our bras and bra alternatives are crafted to provide the support you need but without the hardware that can irritate your skin. Explore our comfiest bras for sleep or luxurious pajamas today to level up your bedtime attire today.