sleep without tattoo wrapping

Can I Sleep Without Wrapping my Tattoo?

When you just got a new tattoo, the wrapping can become very annoying. Can you sleep without wrapping your tattoo? In this article, we’re covering everything about whether you can remove the wrapping before sleeping or whether you should wear it in bed.

Question: Can I sleep without wrapping my tattoo?

Answer: Yes, you can sleep without wrapping your tattoo. It can even improve your healing process. Just make sure your tattoo is disinfected with a mild soap before you go to bed. Also, use freshly washed bedsheets to avoid bacteria. By removing the wrapping, you also remove a protective layer. So, try to sleep in a sleeping position with as little friction on your tattooed skin as possible.

Why do I even get my tattoo wrapped?

When you get a fresh tattoo, your skin is very vulnerable to infection caused by bacteria. The tattoo artist cleans your skin with a mild soap and water mixture in order to disinfect it. By doing so, he makes sure that there are no harmful bacteria or viruses on your skin which could cause infections. A study even showed that patients with tattoo infections had a permanently lower life-quality due to itching and following skin irritations.

To make sure you are safe from bacteria on your way home, the artist wraps your tattoo, so it’s protected.

When can I take off the wrapping?

It makes sense that the wrapping is a protective layer acting as a shield to prevent bacteria from reaching your sensitive and vulnerable skin. But when you get home, another question pops up: When can you take off the wrapping?

In general, you can take off the wrapping as soon as you get home. However, tattoo experts often advise to keep wearing it for another 2-3 hours so your skin has some time to reduce swelling. When you take off your tattoo wrapping, make sure to clean your skin with a mild soap.

Some experts even advise to sleep with the tattoo wrapping on in your first night.

Is it safe to sleep without wrapping your tattoo?

Let’s take a look at the disadvantages of sleeping without the wrapping in more detail.

Downsides & Risks – Reasons not to take off your wrapping

Friction causes pain – With a fresh tattoo, your skin is very sensitive to friction. It’s similar to having a sunburn. The wrapping reduces friction on your skin and prevents a painful and uncomfortable night of sleep.

Increased risk of infection – On your first night, your skin is still vulnerable to infections. When you take your wrapping off, the chance of infection increases. Especially, when you haven’t washed your bedsheets in a long time, lots of bacteria accumulate in your bed. Make sure that when you sleep without wrapping your bed is fresh.

Tattooed skin can stick to bedsheets – Bedsheets can stick to your tattooed skin when leaked blood and plasma dries. I’ve had this before with a similar wound, and it can become really uncomfortable. First, it’s painful to rip the dried bedsheets from your skin, and second, you can destroy your tattoo.

tattoo wrapping protects skin against bacteria during sleep

Reasons to sleep without your tattoo wrapping

Faster healing – Tattoo wrappings are often not breathable. Especially if you have a plastic wrapping. That slows down the healing process. Your skin needs enough air for maximized healing capabilities. When you take off your wrapping before you go to bed, it is likely that your tattoo already feels much better than if you had worn the wrapping throughout the night.

Better sleep quality – Obviously, you will sleep better and more comfortably without your wrapping. It’s just a matter of what you are used to. A tattoo wrapping can get uncomfortable at night: Especially a plastic wrapping will gather moist and even itchy, which prevents you from sleeping properly.

Sleep is incredibly important for your tattoo because most of the healing takes place while you are in bed. So, make sure to have a good night of sleep.

Can you sleep without wrapping your tattoo?

You can sleep without your wrapping. As you’ve just seen, it even has some advantages. Here’s what I suggest you do in order to maximize your sleep quality and minimize the chance of infection.

  1. Make your bed: Use fresh bedsheets for your first night to avoid unnecessary exposure to bacteria.
  2. Wash your tattoo before you go to bed: To prepare your tattoo for the night, wash it with mild soap to disinfect it. You can also take a shower. Just make sure the water is not too hot.
  3. Wear a fresh pajama for the night: Your wrapping acts as a shield from friction. When you take it off, you need a replacement. To reduce friction in your bed, wear a fresh pajama to cover your tattoo. If your tattoo is on a difficult-to cover spot, you need to get a little creative. But usually, difficult-to-reach spots (for example behind your ear) don’t need to be covered.

Listen to your artist

Your artist is the most knowledgeable resource you can get. He knows which soap he used, he knows how breathable your wrapping is, and he can estimate how much time you need to wear your wrapping based on the size of your tattoo.

Therefore, it’s always the best idea to listen to what he says. If he advises you to wear your wrapping throughout the night, keep his advice in mind.

Still, the final decision is up to you. If you feel uncomfortable falling asleep with the wrapping, feel free to take it off and follow this guide.

Can I re-wrap my tattoo for the night?

In general, you should avoid re-wrapping your tattoo for sleeping. If you already took your wrapping off, just accept it.

You can never be sure about how sterile your home really is. When you wrap your tattoo yourself, you run into the risk of accidentally infecting it. 

When you feel like you need a wrapping, ask a professional.

Still, there’s one way you can rewrap your tattoo safely: Use a first aid kit. First aid kits are sterile enough to ensure the safety of your skin. You can use the bandage to wrap your tattoo for the night. Make sure to wrap your tattoo not too firmly to maximize the healing speed.

If you still want to make your own tattoo wrapping, here’s an antibacterial and breathable plastic wrapping you can get. Doing it yourself will save you some bucks:

Saniderm Tattoo Aftercare Bandage (click here to check pricing on amazon)

Which sleeping position is the best with a new tattoo?

Depending on where your tattoo is, you should try to sleep in a suitable sleeping position.

If, for example your tattoo is on your back, try to sleep on your belly. If it’s on your side, try to sleep on your back.

The idea is to avoid lying on your tattoo at night in order to avoid friction and to avoid your bedsheets or pajama to stick to your skin.

For small tattoos, this usually isn’t that big of a deal, but you should spend close attention to how you sleep with a big tattoo.

New tattoos are as sensitive as a sunburn. So, when you sleep at night, avoid friction at all costs. Otherwise, the healing process slows down.

Use Natural Sleep Remedies to sleep better with a tattoo

Now that you have a new tattoo, you also need to sleep well so everything can heal properly. Personally, I find natural sleep remedies an awesome choice for short-term sleep improvement.

I’ve already written a guide about 47 Natural Sleep Remedies that you need to check out! I’m 100% sure you have at least 5 of them at your home. I’ve listed all the natural sleep remedies I could find and researched whether their sleep-inducing effects are backed up by science or not.

It’s a must-read if you want to instantly improve your sleep.

If you are a little lazy scrolling through the whole list here’s what I recommend:

Eat yogurt with kiwi and nuts about 2 hours before you go to bed. It is packed with healthy minerals and vitamins that will improve the healing of your tattoo. Additionally, kiwi, nuts, and yogurt are all rich in tryptophan. That’s an amino acid that is known to induce sleep.

It works like this: When tryptophan triggers certain receptors, your brain starts producing serotonin. Serotonin, on the other hand, is the hormone responsible for your mood. It makes you feel better. But additionally, serotonin also regulates your melatonin levels and makes sure that you can fall asleep properly at night. Awesome right?

The Outline

It is safe to sleep without the tattoo wrapping as long as you keep your bedsheets and pajama fresh and you regularly clean your tattoo with mild soap. This reduces bacteria and minimizes the risk of infection.

For the best healing results during your first night of sleep, you somehow need to optimize your sleep quality. To do so, you can use natural sleep remedies like kiwis, nuts and dairy products to naturally induce sleep.

Other Resources: Picture Tattoo Wrap (modified) by Jinx! licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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