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Is it Better to Sleep With or Without a Bra?

It’s inevitable to come across one of the most mystifying questions to ever conflict women. Is it better to sleep with or without a bra?

Iconic women like Marilyn Monroe, Mariella Frostrup, and Halle Berry swear by wearing a bra to bed for reasons concerning their breasts’ shape and perkiness. However, you can find several resources suggesting multiple benefits of doing the opposite.

​Is it Better to Sleep With or Without a Bra?

Different myths, rumors, advices, and stories contradict each other, leaving unclear answers to this question. By looking into the reasons people recommend for wearing or not wearing a bra to sleep, we try to land at a resolution to this long-standing debate.

There are 2 main reasons that drive women to vacillate between wearing a bra and not wearing a bra to sleep.For the aesthetic reason, women wear one in hopes of keeping their breasts in their youthful state of being full and perky. From the health perspective, many avoid it at all costs because it’s painful or said to cause breast cancer.

Dark haired woman in a pink bra looks over her shoulder

Preventing Sagging

​If you’re wearing a bra to bed just on the basis of the old wives’ tale that it will keep your breasts from sagging, just don’t bother.

Dr. Seth Rankin debunked this, as he told to Cosmopolitan.

“When you’re lying down flat, the effect of gravity pushes the breast tissue back towards your chest, instead of down towards your toes. So wearing a bra (the purpose of which is ultimately to support breasts from below) is essentially redundant in bed, as breasts naturally compress back down onto the chest.”

He clarified that for your breasts to not sag, you’d have to lie down for more than the normal duration of your sleep, which is not realistic on a consistent basis.

Even if you did and it worked, aging and gravity (not to mention all the other more impactful factors like pregnancy and breastfeeding), will eventually reverse whatever anti-sagging purpose you think your bra serves while you sleep. It’ll be better for you to simply wear a great push-up bra for sagging breasts​.

Avoiding Discomfort

So, maybe you’re an advocate for letting the girls breathe freely at night because some bras can be just plain painful to wear longer than needed. This is a valid (and important!) reason for taking that bra off. Further, an ill-fitting bra can affect the tissues, lymph nodes, nerves, and vessels found within that area of the body.

Aside from the palpable discomfort, a bra that’s too tight may cause disruption to regular bodily functions such as limiting blood flow to the breasts.

If you’re wearing a bra that doesn’t fit during the day and then keeping it on during your slumber, you’re basically doubling the time that bra shouldn’t even be on your body in the first place.

To touch upon the cancer risk, rest assured that this is a myth. If you’re solely going braless at night for this reason, keep those straps up and hooks attached.

Woman in a blue lace lingerie lies on her bed

Providing Support

While discomfort happens for some women while keeping their bra on while sleeping, others actually experience the opposite! There is a case for women needing to wear a bra while they sleep, and it has to do with support.

Women with larger boobs (D and above) who are used to wearing highly rated push up bras for D, DD, and larger, might actually experience more pain by not wearing a bra to bed.

At first, this might sound crazy, but think about it – if you’re a big-busted woman and wear a very supportive bra throughout the day, it’s doing a couple of things. First, it’s keeping your assets up and in place. More importantly for this point, it’s alleviating stress and pain from your back and shoulders.

Even though you’re lying down while sleeping, tension can still build in your upper body. Wearing a comfortable, lightly supportive bra while catching some Z’s can help!

“Some women want to wear a bra to bed because it feels more comfortable for them. Your best bet is to choose a lightweight bra without underwire. Some camisole-style pajama tops even come with a bra built in. The bra you choose to sleep in shouldn’t be too tight or have parts that dig in. An uncomfortable bra might make it hard to sleep or irritate your breasts.” 

Mary Gavin, MD

​What’s the Final Verdict?

​To recap, wearing a bra while sleeping will not necessarily keep your boobs from sagging. Small-breasted women may opt for no bras in bed because there’s no logical reason for doing so (and they’re restricting), while those with bigger boobs would opt for bras because they offer extra support, thus reducing pain.

Ultimately, this decision around wearing or not wearing a bra to bed ends up in personal preference. There are no aesthetic or health benefits of wearing a bra to sleep every night, unless not wearing one causes discomfort.

Hi there, I’m Allena, Founder and Editor of The Better Fit. I’ve always had a passion for finding ways to help women improve various areas of their lives. I have researched and worked to create this website so women would have a place to come and be informed about an article of clothing they literally wear every day.