How to Sleep With a New Tattoo: 7 Things You Should Know

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If you’ve just gotten a new tattoo, it’s normal to be concerned about how to take care of it and what steps to follow for proper aftercare. While there’s plenty of information out there about caring for your tattoo, there’s not as much guidance on how to sleep with a new tattoo.

In this article, we’ve compiled some helpful tips to help you sleep comfortably without damaging your new tattoo. Keep reading to learn more about how to sleep with a new tattoo and get the information you need to take care of it properly.

sleep with new tattoo in bed

Is It OK to Sleep on a New Tattoo?

It is generally not recommended to sleep on a new tattoo as the pressure and friction from the sheets and pillows can damage the area and affect the healing process. If the tattoo sticks to your sheets while it’s still healing, it can cause the scab to come off too soon, leading to infections and fading of the tattoo.

To avoid any problems, it’s recommended that you don’t sleep on the tattoo for the first few nights after getting it. You should also follow proper aftercare instructions to ensure effective and safe healing.

If you absolutely have to sleep on the tattoo, try not to put direct pressure on it and use a soft, clean cloth to protect it while you sleep.

tattooed couple in bed

How Long Till I Can Sleep on My Tattoo?

Anyone who gets a tattoo has come up with this question: when will I be able to sleep normally? According to experts, following the recommended aftercare tips for sleeping with a new tattoo can allow you to sleep normally after 4 to 7 days.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that this timeframe isn’t set in stone and can vary depending on how quickly your skin heals.

In general, it takes around 2 to 3 weeks for a tattoo to fully heal, so it’s crucial to take all necessary precautions during that time to protect your skin.

tattooed couple sleeping in bed

How Do You Sleep with a New Tattoo at Night? 7 Things You Should Know

By following the necessary precautions and tips recommended by experts on how to sleep with a new tattoo, you can recover quickly and safely.

Here are some precautions you should keep in mind:

1# Wrap It

Cover the tattoo with a special wrap for the first 2-3 nights to protect it from bacteria and friction. Experts recommend wrapping your tattoo in a special, breathable, anti-bacterial, and waterproof wrap to prevent infection and friction. For more details on this, see our article on protective tattoo film vs cling film.

Once you’re back home, you can gently clean your tattoo with mild soap and water and then rewrap it to keep it safe.

wrapped tattoo

2# Dark, Clean Sheets

The best practice is to wash your sheets frequently to keep them clean and avoid any health problems.

When you have a new tattoo, using unwashed sheets can increase the risk of infection as the tattoo is like a fresh wound and may ooze during the first few nights. Additionally, your tattoo might leave a permanent stain on your sheet.

It is recommended that you use dark-colored linens or any fabric that you don’t need much.

woman tattooed on bed

3# Sleeping Position

It’s important to avoid putting pressure on your new tattoo while you sleep. For at least the first 4 days, try not to sleep directly on your tattoo so that it can get enough air and oxygen to heal properly.

PRO TIP: If possible, elevate the tattooed area of your body while you sleep to reduce swelling and prevent any fluid buildup.

If you tend to toss and turn during the night, be careful not to let your bedsheets stick to your tattoo. If this happens, don’t panic and try to rip the fabric off. Instead, wet the area with warm water and gently remove the fabric without causing any damage to your tattoo.

tattooed woman sleeping

4# Avoid Sleeping With Pets

While we all enjoy sleeping with our furry friends, it’s crucial to know that they can be a danger to our tattoos.

Pets often carry bacteria that can infect your open wounds.

It’s important to remember that pets like to lick their wounds, and they may try to lick your tattoo as well, even if it seems cute. This can lead to infections, so it’s best to keep your pets away from your new tattoo until it is fully healed.

5# Get Enough Rest

Getting enough rest is crucial for the healing process of your tattoo. Resting can help your body heal more quickly, and it’s important to prioritize rest in the first week after getting your tattoo. If you don’t get enough sleep, the healing process can take longer than usual, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to rest and recover.

sleeping woman with tattoos on bed

6# Forget Alcohol

Drinking alcohol and getting a new tattoo do not mix.

Alcohol can impair your judgment and make you more likely to accidentally damage your tattoo. In addition, drinking alcohol can interfere with the healing process by reducing the quality of your sleep. This can make it more difficult for your body to heal and prolong the time it takes for your tattoo to fully recover.

To ensure a quick and healthy healing process, it’s best to avoid alcohol for at least the first few days after getting a new tattoo.

7# Traveling

When traveling, it’s important to keep your new tattoo protected from germs and bacteria in hotel rooms and other places you visit. Try to avoid touching your tattoo area unless you’ve washed your hands first.

PRO TIP: Bring an extra set of bed sheets with you on your trip so you can sleep in a clean place.

This will help ensure that your tattoo heals properly and without any issues.

sleepy tattooed woman

Can You Sleep on a New Tattoo with Saniderm?

Yes, you can sleep with Saniderm on a new tattoo. Saniderm is a type of breathable medical wrap that can be used to protect your tattoo while you sleep. It’s a better option than using a towel or fabric on your bed, as it is designed specifically for tattoo healing.

When using Saniderm, it usually takes about one to two weeks for your tattoo to fully heal.

The first Saniderm bandage should be kept on for at least 8 to 24 hours before removing it. Once the lymph buildup breaks the seal, you can wash the area thoroughly and apply the second Saniderm bandage. It is important to remove the wrap once you wake up to avoid excessive plasma and blood accumulation, and to keep your tattoo fresh.

For more details on this topic, check our article “How long should you keep your tattoo wrapped?“.

How Can I Sleep with a New Tattoo Without Wrapping It?

If you don’t want to wrap your new tattoo while sleeping, there are some precautions you should take to keep it clean and promote healing.

Make sure to wash the tattoo with a mild soap before going to bed. Also, use freshly washed bed sheets to avoid bacteria and germs.

Keep in mind that wrapping the tattoo is a protective layer, so if you choose not to wrap it, try to minimize friction on the tattoo while sleeping. Additionally, sleeping on your back can help reduce pressure on the tattoo. Just be careful not to touch or scratch the tattoo while sleeping.

If you follow these precautions, you can sleep comfortably without wrapping your new tattoo.


If you’re getting a new tattoo, it’s important to know how to sleep with it to avoid damaging it or causing infections. You can either wrap your tattoo or sleep without wrapping it, but you need to take necessary precautions either way:

  • Wrapping your tattoo for the first few nights will protect it from bacteria and friction.
  • Use a breathable, anti-bacterial, and waterproof wrap that is specifically designed for tattoo healing.
  • Keep your bed sheets clean, and avoid sleeping in positions that will put pressure on your tattoo.
  • Elevate the tattooed area of your body if possible to reduce swelling and drainage.

Don’t sleep with your pets as they can carry harmful bacteria that may cause infection. Also, avoid alcohol as it impairs judgment and quality of sleep.

Taking good care of your tattoo and getting enough rest will help it heal faster!


Should I put moisturizer on my tattoo before bed?

If you use the traditional method of healing, it’s recommended to apply a small amount of moisturizer before bed to prevent the tattoo from drying out and cracking. If you use the second skin method of healing, you may not need to moisturize before bed during the first 3-4 days. After that, and until your tattoo is fully healed, be sure to moisturize your tattoo before bed to keep it hydrated and promote proper healing.

What happens if you accidentally sleep on new tattoo?

If you accidentally sleep on your new tattoo, don’t panic. While it’s best to avoid sleeping on it until it’s fully healed (2-4 weeks), it’s unlikely to cause serious damage. Just follow the aftercare instructions and protect it from friction and pressure.

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