I, like I'm sure many of you ladies, have accidentally fallen asleep in my bra and regretted it. I'm an active sleeper, so the bra cups usually end up halfway around my back with the underwire digging into my skin. All in all, it's not something I've ever tried to do on purpose... until now.
While there haven't been many notable studies on the effects of sleeping in a bra, there have been a few on the effects of simply wearing a bra over time. One 15-year-long study conducted at a French university found that wearing a bra too often may actually contribute to breast sag, but they also concluded that genes probably played a larger role than bras (or lack thereof). Meanwhile, another study conducted by the Gallo Institute of Health and Nutrition found that 38 percent of their 120 female volunteers wore a bra to bed because they still believe it helps prevent sagging. As it turns out, neither wearing a bra or not wearing one is the main culprit of boob sag.
But after reading about the pros and cons of sleeping in a bra, it's clear that the jury's still out on whether or not it's actually good or bad for you. So I decided to talk to some experts in the field myself to see if I they could further enlighten me.
Fiona Abrams, bra expert at lingerie startup Brayola said, "Those women who are blessed with larger breasts understand that sleeping and lying down in general can be quite painful. Taking off a bra can be amazing for the first five minutes, but then that feeling wears off. Keeping the girls lightly supported can really help you feel more comfortable going to bed."
However, others believe the negatives outweigh the benefits. Dr. Wendie Trudow said wearing a bra overnight can irritate your skin. "If there is an underwire or if the bra is too tight, it can cut into circulation, impair lymphatic drainage and lead to inflammation."
While they didn't agree on all points, both Abrams and Trudow said women with larger breasts stand to benefit the most from wearing a bra at night. Since I have B-cup breasts, I wasn't sure exactly what I'd gain from the experience, but I decided to give it a go anyway. You never know until you try, right?
Since the consensus from experts was that steering clear of underwire bras was the way to go, I went with a new sports bra I'd been meaning to break in. Falling to sleep was easy enough, but halfway through the night, I woke up to find the bra had almost done a complete 360 on my body. I was genuinely surprised, because it fit pretty snuggly when I put it on, but as I mentioned above, I'm a night tosser, so I guess it was no match for my crazy bed spinning. By the morning, I was so ready to go braless for the day.
My girls had gotten somewhat comfortable being held up day and night. In fact, I noticed when I changed from my night bra (sports bra) to my day bra (push-up bra), my breasts were not happy to be suddenly free of their supportive cage and, no, they didn't look like any perkier than they were pre-experiment.
Eventually, I switched from my rib-gripping sports bra to a softer bralette. It felt like I was being gently swaddled all night long, which I didn't mind one bit. By the end of the week, my breasts did look somewhat perkier after being kept high 24/7. The first night I stopped sleeping in my bra, I noticed some droop-age the next morning. Placebo effect? Who knows.
Still, I probably won't end up continuing my sleeping-in-a-bra habit. I just can't get onboard with all the crazy patterns bras leave on my boobs in the morning. One day, my fiancé thought I had developed a rare rash overnight. I see how it could provide some serious comfort to women with more unwieldy breasts (aka bigger). I doubt I'll ever be that well-endowed, so my breasts will have to deal with being free-range. Let's hope they don't rebel one day and end up migrating too far from home (aka my armpits).
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