The City Mattress Blog

sleep tips

How to Sleep After Meniscus Surgery


Man in nightwear sits in bed preparing for sleep while holding knee after meniscus surgery

Sleeping well is possibly both the most important and the most challenging task to be accomplished while recovering from surgery. Getting sufficient rest is an important part of your recovery, especially after meniscus surgery. When you’re sleeping, your body is hard at work repairing itself. If you can’t fall asleep and stay asleep, your recovery time will be much longer and you’ll be miserable the entire time. This is why we want to focus today on how to sleep after meniscus surgery.

Sleeping challenges after a meniscus surgery

Sleeping after any type of surgery is always a challenge, yet it’s more important than ever during a time of rest and recovery. In the days following surgery, the after-effects of anesthesia and the drugs you take post-surgery can interfere with your sleep. Stress, pain, and other psychological responses to surgery can make it harder to sleep, too.

Sleep is essential to the recovery process, but it can be really challenging to get comfortable. If you’re in pain, make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions when it comes to taking pain-relieving medications to help reduce your pain levels so that you can fall asleep. There is absolutely no reason for you to be in agony for days at a time after surgery. That being said, more is certainly not better. “Passing out” is not the same thing as healthy sleep! Not everything can or should obviously be solved with pain medication, and sleep is one of them.

How to sleep after meniscus surgery

Sleeping positions 

After surgery of any kind, it is a big deal to sleep in the correct position! This is especially true if you’re a stomach or side sleeper, and you can’t lay in your regular position due to the location of the incisions on your knee. Generally, learning how to sleep after meniscus surgery means sleeping on your back with your leg slightly elevated.


Make sure your mattress is both comfortable and supportive. A mattress that is too old or too cheap may feel comfortable, but it doesn’t provide enough support for your body. You want a new mattress that provides ample support as you’ll be lying on your back. You don’t want to sink in too far. Waking up with aches and pains will only make the recovery process longer! If possible, purchase this new mattress about a month before your surgery so it is already delivered to your home and broken in when you sleep for the first time after your surgery.


How are you going to elevate your knee? With a pillow, of course! We have pillows made especially for your legs, like the Avana Nourish Memory Foam Knee Rest Pillow. This therapeutic wedge cushion fits securely beneath your knees and molds to your body thanks to an ultra-comfortable core of premium Visco memory foam over polyurethane foam. While this may take some getting used to, it will greatly reduce the stress on your muscles and joints, as well as keep your knee in the right position for healing. Keeping your legs and knees elevated helps with blood flow, which in turn reduces the risk of clots in your legs. This is one of the main post-op risks for meniscus surgery, and sleeping with your legs elevated is essential in preventing it. This position also helps you avoid bumping the incision site, which can lead to bleeding and infection.

Adjustable bed base

The last thing you want to do is roll over in your sleep and land right on your knee. You’ll wake up in pain and your entire night of sleep will be ruined! This is why many health care professionals recommend sleeping propped up at a 45 degree angle. While you can do this with pillows, an adjustable bed base offers even more. For example, the PranaSleep Adjustable Om EuroSlat Base 2.0 not only makes you feel weightless but also has dual massage technology with wave feature and intensity adjustments. Drifting off to sleep has never felt better!

Other sleep essentials

By ensuring your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet, you can get the sleep you need to help your body heal quickly and completely. On our website, you’ll find all of the products to do so! Just a few easy ways to create an ideal sleeping environment by using things like a scented oil diffuser, a YogaSleep white noise machine, and blackout curtains. Don’t forget comfortable, stretchy Sheex pajamas!

What to avoid when sleeping after meniscus surgery

The number one thing to avoid after meniscus surgery is pushing yourself too much. Rest when you feel tired! This may seem like a given, but far too many people forget that first and foremost, surgery is invasive and will require extra rest time. In order to recover from meniscus surgery, you should listen to yourself and to what your body needs. Our bodies are generally quite good at knowing what we need and listening to them is one of the most important things we can do after any kind of medical procedure. 

Avoid stress as much as possible and prioritize your sleep. If you need a nap in the afternoon, do not hesitate to do so. If you need to sleep nine or even 10 hours the first few nights, do it! This isn’t a “normal” time in your life, so you are not advised to go by the normal rules of what is too much sleep.

Another thing to avoid is bending your knee, even while you sleep. This is why we do recommend an adjustable bed base to raise your torso, but we don’t recommend lifting the bottom half to put you into a zero gravity sleep position. Having your knee bent for eight or more hours at a time may slow down your recovery and end up being quite painful once you wake up in the morning, due to the specific nature of meniscus surgery. A pillow raises your leg without bending the knee.

Your focus right now should be healing as quickly and completely as possible. Like the surgery itself, the recovery process is different for everyone. However, learning how to sleep after meniscus surgery and closely following the post-operative instructions given to you by your surgeon are crucial to a speedy recovery process.