When a friend asked me this, I researched in the Bra Lobby forums for the opinions of the rare ladies that wear well fitted bras. The bottom line: as long as you are wearing the correct size, wearing a bra at night is never harmful. Women with breasts that are unfirm, sagging or have been squashed out of shape by badly fitting bras, reported a lift effect and firmer breasts when they wore the bra to bed. However, not everyone needs to sleep in one. Read on to find out whether or not you need a night bra, and try it out yourself for a couple of nights.
Doesn´t the body need a rest from bras ?A well-fitted bra doesn´t interfere with the natural shape of the breasts, it only supports them and keeps them from getting all over the bed. So, it´s not something that the body needs a rest from, and a well-fitted and comfortable bra will not interfere with sleep. That said, some people don´t feel well wearing anything while sleeping.
Why bother sleeping in a bra ?A bra prevents the breasts getting squashed and flattened out. If you are a back sleeper, it will prevent the breasts from drooping over to the sides. For side sleepers, if keeps the lower breast from getting squashed and the top breast from flopping over. If you are a belly sleeper, the bra will keep the breasts from getting completely flattened, and the skin from getting stretched (and might cure you of sleeping on the belly altogether).
Do you need to sleep in a bra ?
Test: How do your breasts sleep ?Observe how you sleep, and what position your breasts take on.
If you sleep on your back, do the breasts stay in the middle or fall to the sides ?
If you sleep on the side, do you squash the lower breast ? Does the upper breast stay on the top or does it flop on top of the lower one ?
Do you sleep on your belly ? Do you use a pillow under your chest or belly ? Do the breasts get flattened ?
If you and your breasts are comfortable during the night, you might not need a bra, or you might just try a snug top (see bottom of post for tips). If you feel that while sleeping your breasts are squashed, flattened or pulled, read on.
How big are your breasts ?Generally ladies with small "self-supporting sizes" don´t need to bother with sleeping with a bra. Ladies with bigger busts may find it uncomfortable to sleep without one.
What is the state of your breasts ?Women with drooping or not firm breasts will benefit from wearing a bra to sleep. Also, if you have armpit or back rolls, or generally mistreated breasts by wearing wrongly sized bras (or pushup bras every day), wearing an underwired bra at night helps the breasts return much sooner to their optimal state.
So what bra should you sleep in ?
Measure yourselfI can´t stress this enough: make sure you know your correct size, otherwise you´ll end up doing more bad than good. Here are the instructions, be sure to read them and measure yourself, even if you´ve already done it according to other websites or been to a bra fitter. Many bra fitters won´t admit that they don´t carry your size and will fit you wrong just to sell their products. (Did you know that a good bra brand carries at least 90 sizes in each model ?)
What bra to sleep in ?Wear your most comfortable bra, preferable a worn one with a looser band. The band doesn´t have to be tight because the bra doesn´t have to support the breasts the way it does when you´re while walking & jumping. Put please don´t wear any old bra in the old wrong size.
Cotton bras without frills & stuff is more comfortable.
Sports bras are a bit too much, unless you´re wearing one that is not super tight and restricting. A good sports bra restricts the movement of the breasts, but this tightness is not what you need in bed.
Tops with built-in support usually don´t count as bras, since they have foam cups and don´t support anything.
Don´t sleep in pushups or wrong-sized bras, or low-cut balconettes that don´t support from the sides & the top.
Underwires or unwired ?Although underwires keep the breasts better in place, unwired bras are also ok for sleeping. It depends on how firm (or not) your breasts are.
Underwired bras help the breasts that have been smeared all over the chest to come back to their proper form; so they are especially recommended for un-firm and saggy boobs, and anyone whose breasts have lost their shape due to wrong sized bras. Do wear the right size though, otherwise you will massacre the breasts with badly placed underwires.
Underwires often poke belly-sleepers, effectively weaning them for this position (which is not the best for face and breasts )
Non-wired bras are also ok for sleeping since the breasts don´t need a lot of support, they need to be stopped from getting all over the place. These are more recommended for those who have been wearing their correct size for a while. Wearing underwire bras in the day is recommended though.
Do change your bra before sleeping !Not only do we need a more comfortable bra for the night, but the breasts also need a change (every bra presses your tissue in slightly different points). Also, the bra elastic needs to rest, so it´s not a good idea to wear a bra for 24 hours.
Can sleeping in a bra be uncomfortable ?* Give it a chance, try out several models in the correct size, preferable something with short underwires and not too much frills.
* Lots of ladies state that after a couple of nights in a well-fitted bra, they can´t sleep without one.
Some people see results within a couple of weeks. If you don´t:
I´m not seeing results !
* Are you sure you are wearing the right size ?
* Try sleeping in underwired bras.
* Your breasts need more time. Post-baby boobs or ones that have been forced into the wrong size for years may need 6 months or more of nightly bra sleeping to show a difference.
When you don´t want to sleep in a bra...If you´re small busted, don´t give it another thought, sleep in whatever you feel like. However if your breasts are big enough to need support:
* If your breasts seem to be all over the place, try a tight-fitting top to keep them in place.
* Put on a bra as soon as you get up. We often lounge in pyjamas till noon, but breasts need support as soon as we stand up.
Update: Since I wrote this post, several lovely ladies wrote to me that they still have firm and shapely breasts even at an advanced age, which they attribute to sleeping in bras. There you go!
Do you sleep in a bra or a snug top ? Would you feel comfortable in one at night ? Do share !