How To Sleep After Wisdom Teeth Removal

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

Wisdom tooth extraction entails the surgical removal of wisdom teeth to prevent any damage to them or to other teeth. How can you ensure a comfortable recovery? In this post, I will give some tips on how to sleep after wisdom teeth removal.

When wisdom teeth first come in, they are usually dislodged from the other two molars and can cause a variety of issues throughout life – from decay to obstructing the airway. Fortunately, there are a few ways to manage the discomfort of wisdom teeth. 

If you’ve ever dealt with the pain of wisdom teeth, then you know that it’s not a fun thing to deal with, especially if you have an impacted tooth that has grown sideways or uphill. The pain caused by impacted third molars is typically felt while eating and can occur due to biting or chewing problems or trouble breathing in some cases.

Why It’s Hard to Sleep After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Oral surgery is something that should not be taken lightly. While the majority of people undergo their entire lives with no need to go under the knife, there are some who require oral surgery every few years. Wisdom tooth extraction is one of the most common procedures carried out by dentists and oral surgeons, and it does not get much more serious than this.

Before I share tips on how to sleep after wisdom tooth extraction, let’s check out the common reasons why it is difficult to hit the sack after such a procedure.

1. Swelling and pain. Wisdom teeth may be removed for many reasons, including crowding, impacted teeth (teeth that do not fit into the mouth), infection, decay or gum disease. Swelling after wisdom teeth removal is normal and can last anywhere from a few days to a week or two.

2. Bleeding. Wisdom teeth that are removed with surgery may cause excessive bleeding after the procedure. This is due to the fact that there is a lot of blood flow to the mouth, so even if one tooth is pulled, it may cause heavy bleeding.

3. Numbness of the lips. This is a common side effect that can occur when the nerves in your lip are damaged during the surgery process. The numbness will usually last for about one week and may be accompanied by tingling or pain in your lip and chin area.

If these symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, talk to your dentist about whether or not you need further treatment or monitoring of this condition.

4. Limited mouth opening. It is normal to have a limited mouth opening after wisdom teeth are removed. The upper jaw bone is not used to having the wisdom teeth in place, so it can take some time for it to adjust.

5. Dry Socket or what is also referred to as “Alveolar Osteitis”. Dry socket is a condition that affects your mouth after wisdom teeth are removed. It happens when your blood clot dissolves too quickly, causing pain and discomfort. 

Wisdom teeth tend to cause problems because they grow in at an angle, making them difficult to remove. In some cases, a dry socket may occur after you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed by a dentist or oral surgeon. 

When this happens, you’ll notice that your gums are sore and swollen with a foul odor coming from them. You may also experience sharp pains that radiate from your jaw down into your neck and shoulders.

All of these make it difficult for anyone sleeping after wisdom teeth removal. They cause pain and discomfort. In the next section, I will give 10 tips on how to sleep after getting wisdom teeth removed, for you to recover and heal comfortably after going through the procedure.

10 Tips to Sleep Better Even After Wisdom Teeth Removal

1. Choose Your Most Comfortable Sleeping Position

The best way to sleep after wisdom teeth removal would be in a fetal position. The fetal position, with your knees bent and your arms wrapped around them, will support the lower back and neck. This will keep the jaw relaxed so that the muscles have time to heal before they have to work again.

sleeping on a fetal position

2. Elevate Your Head While Sleeping

When your head is elevated while sleeping, it allows gravity to work its magic which helps reduce swelling around the jaw area where the surgery took place.

This will help decrease any pain or discomfort associated with post-operative swelling which could otherwise make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night due to discomfort from having something inside your mouth like stitches or gauze being placed there during surgery.

3. Use a Mouth Guard or Splint at Night

This will keep your mouth closed while you’re sleeping so that air doesn’t get trapped between your tongue and cheeks (which can lead to snoring).

If you don’t want to use something like this at night but still want some protection while sleeping, consider using a thin cotton ball or gauze pad (dampened with water) between your upper lip and gums. This will keep those areas apart so that air doesn’t get trapped there either.

4. Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever before bedtime if necessary. Make sure not to take any other medications without first checking with your doctor or dentist about possible interactions with any other medications or supplements you may be taking for other reasons as well such as blood thinners like aspirin.

5. Lots of Rest

Get lots of rest, even during the day. After wisdom tooth extraction, it is important to get lots of rest, even during the day. You may be tempted to go out and play on your first day after wisdom tooth extraction, but it’s better for you to take it easy.

You should be in bed most of the day and only get up if you absolutely have to. Getting plenty of rest before and after wisdom tooth extraction will help you sleep better at night. Sleep will also help your body recover from surgery faster and more completely.

6. Apply Ice and Heat

Apply ice and heat as prescribed, until it’s time for you to go to sleep. After wisdom tooth extraction, ice and heat are both effective treatments to help with swelling, pain, and inflammation.

applying ice pack on area after wisdom tooth removal
  • Ice should be applied immediately after your surgery. Use an ice pack that is wrapped in a thin towel and placed over the area of your mouth where the wisdom teeth were extracted. This can be kept on for 20 minutes at a time, up to 4 times per day for the first 48 hours after your surgery.
  • Heat can also be used to help reduce swelling and discomfort after your wisdom teeth extraction. Heat should also be applied immediately after your surgery. You can use a heating pad or hot water bottle on the outside of your face or neck over the area where you had surgery.
  • Do not place it directly on the skin—the heat should come from below the surface of your skin. Do not leave these items on longer than 20 minutes at a time because they can cause burns if left too long on your skin.

7. Keep Your Physical Activity to a Bare Minimum

To help you recover from wisdom tooth extraction, it’s important to take it easy. That means keeping your physical activity to a bare minimum. One of the most common ways to injure yourself after wisdom tooth extraction is by overdoing it.

You might be tempted to go running or play a pick-up game of basketball, but that kind of activity can cause damage if you’re not careful. It’s best to avoid exercise altogether for at least a week after your wisdom teeth are removed.

This will give your body time to heal and recover from any trauma caused by the procedure. If you find yourself feeling restless and in need of some kind of outlet, try doing low-impact exercises like walking or swimming instead of more intense activities like jogging or playing sports.

8. Stay Hydrated

Stay hydrated, but refrain from using a straw. After wisdom tooth extraction, it’s important to stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water will help you heal faster, and it’s also a great way to get your body back into the habit of drinking enough water every day.

But if you’re using a straw to help yourself drink more water, you might be doing more harm than good. The sucking motion may cause more bleeding by potentially dislodging clots from the healing wound.

Also, since wisdom tooth extraction typically involves incisions in order to remove the wisdom teeth, the possible damage caused by a straw hitting the area could cause problems with healing and increase the risk of infection.

9. Avoid Smoking

Don’t smoke nor use tobacco products. Smoking or using a tobacco product after wisdom tooth extraction can increase your risk of having complications. Using these products can also slow down the healing process and increase the amount of swelling that you have in your mouth.

If you smoke or use a tobacco product, it is recommended that you wait at least two weeks before starting to use these products again. Any infection will cause an enormous discomfort, causing you to be even more sleep-deprived.

10.  Take Mood-enhancing Supplements

Mood-boosting supplements are made with natural ingredients like L-theanine, which is found in tea. It helps reduce stress, anxiety and mental fatigue. Vitamin B6 can also help reduce stress levels by increasing serotonin levels in the brain—which helps to improve mood and sleep patterns.

taking supplements

Supplements for Better Sleep Even After Wisdom Teeth Removal

There are supplements you can take that will help you sleep better after wisdom teeth removal. Some of these supplements can also help reduce swelling and discomfort in your jaw while you recover from surgery.

Here are some of the top natural mood booster supplements for better sleep:

Product nameSerenityDr. Axe Stress and SleepZhou Calm NowOnnit NEW Mood
Active ingredientsMagnesium, Valerian root, Passion flower, St. John’s Wort, Hops flower, Lemon balm, Ashwagandha root, Holy basil leaf, L-theanine, Magnolia bark, Chamomile flower, L-taurineHops flower, Passion flower, Ashwagandha root, Reishi Mycellium, Lavender flowerAshwagandha, Rhodiola rosea, and Passion flower  Chamomile flower, Valerian root, Lemon balm, Jujube seed
Other remarksSerenity, as a daily supplement, can aid in sleep optimization and adrenal fatigue recovery.It also protects the body from tiredness and promotes mental sharpness. A supplement with a world-class formula and a solution whose conception is not only substantiated by modern research, but is also filled with potent, health-boosting natural ingredients.Stress and Sleep contains various botanical elements that have long been utilized in traditional health practices, such as passion flower, reishi mushroom, ashwagandha, lavender, and hops flower, to promote more restful sleep, mental relaxation, stress reduction, and many other benefits.Calm Now may be beneficial for those who want to maintain a happy and relaxed mood while remaining focused during stressful occasions and feeling at peace in other times. This pill takes full advantage of ancient botanicals and extracts to provide reliable stress relief. Calm Now has just the appropriate amount of herbal components to produce the best results.Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has been connected to mood, optimism, and overall happiness. When L-tryptophan and 5-HTP (two primary components of serotonin) are coupled with Vitamin B6, New MOOD® can supply the nutrients needed to improve serotonin levels.

When to Visit Your Doctor?

If you have just had a wisdom tooth extracted, you may have some questions about what the warning signs are that would make you want to visit your doctor.

It’s important to know that there is no one set of symptoms that indicates a problem after wisdom tooth extraction, but there are symptoms you should watch out for. They include:

  • fever or chills
  • increased pain or swelling around the area where the tooth was removed
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing normally
  • bleeding from the mouth (more than usual)
  • trouble with your vision or hearing

FAQs About Sleeping After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Why Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Pain Worse at Night?

Wisdom teeth removal pain can be worse at night because of the way your body processes pain. In general, it’s harder to process pain during sleep, which is why you might still feel a toothache or sore muscle when you wake up in the morning.

The same thing happens with wisdom teeth removal pain: It takes longer for your body to process it while you’re asleep, so it keeps hurting longer. This can be even more true if you have had sleep apnea, which makes it hard for even healthy people to get all the rest they need.

How Long Do I Have to Sleep Upright After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

You need to monitor your sleeping position for up to 24 hours after your wisdom teeth have been removed. This applies to all three procedures: the traditional extraction, the laser-assisted extraction, or the surgical removal.

You must be upright to prevent the blood from rushing back into your mouth and causing swelling and pain. If you are not sure of how to sleep upright, use pillows or a wedge under a few blankets to prop yourself up so that you are in an ergonomic position.

upright position on bed

After Wisdom Teeth Removal, Is It a Good Idea to Sleep With Gauze?

No. It’s important for you to keep the area around your mouth clean and dry. This prevents infection and promotes healing after surgery. Sleeping with gauze in place can make this difficult, as it can get wet overnight and may cause irritation or even skin breakdown at the site of the surgical wound.

It’s also important not to eat anything that could get caught in the gauze while you’re sleeping—this may cause choking or suffocation if you roll onto it during your sleep cycle.

After Wisdom Tooth Extraction, What Should You Do the First Couple of Days After Waking Up?

After wisdom tooth extraction, you should follow these instructions for the first two days after waking up:

  • Drink plenty of water. The swelling is normal, but you don’t want to risk dehydration.
  • Take painkillers as needed, but only under your doctor’s supervision.
  • Avoid eating solid foods until your mouth feels better, but be sure to eat small portions of soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow. You can also try eating a few bites of ice cream or popsicles—just make sure they’re kept cold so they don’t melt in your mouth.


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