Is it bad to wear a bra 24/7? It might be. If the bra is too tight, it can limit circulation. It may also make you sweat more which can lead to acne and skin irritation. And wearing a bra all the time might weaken the supportive tissue around the breasts and make them droop (1).
With that said, is it bad to sleep in a bra? No, it’s not.
We couldn’t find any medical evidence saying that it’s harmful to go to bed wearing a bra. In fact, sleeping in a bra might be helpful.
For example, women with large breasts may find it more comfortable to have a bra while sleeping. Also, a bra provides support for people recovering from a lumpectomy or plastic surgery (2).
The key is to wear a soft bra made of breathable fabric that doesn’t constrict the body.
Does sleeping with a bra cause breast cancer? Happily, doctors have found no link between sleeping in a bra and developing breast cancer. Instead, breast cancer is linked to genetics, exposure to toxins, and smoking (2). Nevertheless, your bra may help you detect breast cancer. If you feel a lump or sore spot or notice discoloration, get checked by a doctor.
Does sleeping with a bra on make breasts smaller? The only way that sleeping in a bra makes breasts smaller is in their appearance. It won’t shrink the tissue. Oddly, constantly wearing a bra might actually make breasts sag and seem larger when the bra is removed. That’s because the pectoral muscles aren’t being engaged as much. (More on that problem in a moment. We’ve listed exercises that can help you firm your bust).
Does sleeping with a bra on make your breasts bigger? The answer to this is also no. You can’t increase bust size by wearing a bra to bed except in appearance. Gaining weight and passing through hormonal changes (like pregnancy) are the most common things that cause breast enlargement (besides surgery).
Is it bad to wear a sports bra to bed? It could be. Sports bras are designed to limit the movement of breast tissue during exercise. As a rule, they are tight. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to wear a sports bra for sleeping unless it’s soft and non-restrictive. If you must wear a sports bra for sleeping, choose one that offers only light support for light activity. It might be best to go with a mostly cotton bra, too.
What are the side effects of not wearing a bra? There really aren’t any side effects of going bra-less. Rumor has it that not wearing a bra leads to saggy boobs. There’s not any good evidence for this. Instead, genetics, diet, pregnancy, hormonal changes, smoking, and gravity cause sagging. If you don’t want drooping breasts, exercise the pectoral muscles. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.
What are the side effects of sleeping without a bra? There are no side effects to sleeping without a bra. You might feel more comfortable, or you might not. If you’re not sure, give it a try.
Is it medically good to sleep with a bra? Medically speaking, no studies show that it’s good or bad to sleep with a bra or without one (2). Instead, make your decision by trying both ways. Does it help your back or your breasts to feel more comfortable? If you feel restricted, pinched, or sweaty, take off that bra and relax. The only reason anyone should have to sleep in a bra is that it’s medically necessary after a procedure. Imagine if guys had to sleep in jockstraps every night.
- 1 Prevent sagging breasts with exercise
- 2 Proper care of a sleeping bra
- 2.1 Hanes Cooling Stretch Cotton Bralette
- 2.2 Bali Comfort Revolution Wireless T-Shirt Bra
- 2.3 JUST MY SIZE Pure Comfort Front Close Wirefree Bra MJ1274
- 2.4 Carole Martin Front Closure Perfect Wireless Cotton Sleep Bra
- 2.5 Fruit of the Loom Women’s Front Closure Cotton Bra
- 2.6 Hanes Women’s Stretch Cotton Cami With Built-In Shelf Bra
- 2.7 CRZ YOGA Seamless Workout Tank Tops
- 2.8 Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent
- 3 Conclusion
Prevent sagging breasts with exercise
If the whole reason why you want to sleep in a bra is that you don’t want your boobs drooping, exercise may be helpful.
The right strengthening exercises for your pectoral muscles can make the girls perkier.
Try these moves:
- Push-ups, even “girly” push-ups
- Plank, traveling plank, and plank reach-under
- Cobra pose
- Chest press with weights
- Chest fly with weights
- Medicine ball Superman
- Cable crossover
- Barbell bench press
Not everyone has the upper body strength to do 20 push-ups right now. Instead, start smaller so that you can enjoy success and build up muscle gradually.
If you’re not ready for push-ups on the floor, you can do them against the wall, at the sink, or on a bench. We highly recommend The Convict Conditioning book and videos by Coach Paul Wade for pointers on building up muscles without special equipment.
Next, hold the plank position for as long as you can, preferably 30 seconds or more.
While you’re on the floor, practice the yoga cobra pose. While you’re on your stomach, try the medicine ball Superman by lifting a weight in front of you. You don’t need dumbbells – a full water bottle or a big can of tomatoes will do. Trust us, anything feels heavy after a few reps.
In all of these exercises, you might notice the exertion in your chest, sides, and back. If you stretch out to warm up before and cool down after, it will help avoid soreness. Don’t try to do too much in one day.
Proper care of a sleeping bra
We just wrote an article about how often to wash a bra. It included guidelines on how to launder bras and keep them in top shape.
When it comes to a sleeping bra, the rules are the same. Since it sits right next to your body, it soaks up oil and dead skin along with bacteria.
Change your sleeping bra after every couple of nights so that you don’t end up with acne or a skin infection. The sniff test isn’t an accurate way to decide if the bra needs washing. (Of course, if it stinks, put it in the laundry).
It’s easiest if you purchase machine-washable bras. If not, you might be able to get away with cleaning a hand-wash-only bra on the delicate cycle in cold water in the washer. Put it in a mesh bag first. Then air-dry it. Using a mild detergent and cool temperatures helps maintain the elasticity of the fabric.
If you’re ready to stock up on sleeping bras, here are our favorites:
Hanes Cooling Stretch Cotton Bralette
Here’s a bra that feels like wearing nothing at all. The skinny straps and lightweight cotton provide only the most basic support. Nothing digs or binds because it moves with you.
The breathable material is 95% cotton with 5% spandex for stretch. There are no strap adjusters or hook and loop closures – just pull on the bra and get on with your day or night.
These bralettes come in a 3-pack with various colors. The only downside is that they are supposed to be hand wash only. Given that they are mostly cotton, they will surely shrink if washed in hot or dried in the dryer.
Bali Comfort Revolution Wireless T-Shirt Bra
Is a crop top or a bra? You decide.
Once you feel how soft and smooth the Easylite fabric is, you’ll want to try it. It’s a nylon/spandex blend that allows air to circulate and wicks moisture from the skin. It’s light and stretchy and helps you stay cool and dry.
Without any hardware, nothing digs or pinches. Of course, this means you can’t adjust the bra, either. Be sure to measure yourself before ordering so you get the right size.
The cups have removable foam inserts and shaping zones for targeted support. It keeps the bra from creating a uniboob look.
Moreover, the flat seams and fused edges keep the bra from being noticeable under clingy tops. That’s why it’s called a T-shirt bra.
It comes in sizes from extra-small to 3XL in a variety of colors.
JUST MY SIZE Pure Comfort Front Close Wirefree Bra MJ1274
If you have a big bust, it’s more likely that you’ll want to sleep in a bra. Just My Size offers the perfect style with full coverage and a front closure.
There’s no underwire to dig into your chest. The straps are nice and wide and so is the band so that it doesn’t roll up. Everything feels slightly stretchy and very sleek.
The soft fabric is 95% nylon with 5% spandex. It wicks away sweat while supporting you in comfort.
Carole Martin Front Closure Perfect Wireless Cotton Sleep Bra
Although this bra only comes in neutral colors, nobody cares because it’s so comfortable.
Women who’ve had surgery turn to this post-surgical style for convalescent wear. It’s also perfect as a sleeping bra.
It closes in the front with the traditional hook and eye closure. It has adjustable shoulder straps that are nice and wide to take pressure off the back. The design prevents the uniboob look because it separates and lifts each breast individually.
Furthermore, the cotton/spandex fabric feels breathable, soft, and supportive.
Fruit of the Loom Women’s Front Closure Cotton Bra
Here they are: affordable, machine-washable bras that are ideal for sleeping. The brand describes them as “unlined sports bras” but we beg to differ. We’d only wear them if it were for low-impact yoga. There’s just not enough support for lots of bouncing.
However, the cotton/spandex material feels cool and soft. It’s unlined so it’s extra breathable.
We also love the front closure even if it’s hook and eye and not a zipper. It helps keep the breasts separated, at least.
Choose from a variety of pastel colors in a wide range of sizes. You may want to size up if you plan to toss them in the dryer as they may shrink.
Hanes Women’s Stretch Cotton Cami With Built-In Shelf Bra
How about an all-in-one nightshirt and bra? This tank top with adjustable spaghetti straps comes in sizes from small to XXL in a nice selection of colors. It’s mostly cotton and machine-washable.
The advantage here is that you get a little bit of support without obviously wearing a bra. The straps of the camisole are also the bra straps.
CRZ YOGA Seamless Workout Tank Tops
The racerback style provides more support than a traditional camisole when it comes to tops with a built-in bra. This one lets you roll right out of bed and onto the yoga mat. It has a somewhat supportive shelf bra tucked inside a tank top.
The long length and slim fit let you tuck it in or leave it out. Either way, the sleek and stretchy fabric clings to your curves and wicks away moisture.
Choose from various colors in sizes from XXS to XL.
Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent
While you’re bra shopping, get the right detergent to keep your new lingerie in top condition. One of the least expensive options is Woolite. It’s safe for synthetics like spandex, nylon, and polyester but also effective on cotton. It keeps elastic from stretching out while removing sweat stains and odor.
What’s more, you can use this mild detergent for hand-washing or in the washer. The hypoallergenic formula is kind to the skin either way.
If you want to cheat and put your hand wash bras in the washer, use the gentle cycle and cold water. Put the bras in a mesh bag and wash them with other lightweight items like lingerie or cotton tops. Then, let them air dry after.
We hope this article has helped you learn what you need to know about sleeping in a bra. There’s no reason to worry about sleeping with or without a bra. If you need to do it after a procedure, we hope we helped you find comfortable sleeping bras to wear. If you have other questions, feel free to leave us a comment below.
1. https://www.realsimple.com/health/preventative-health/breast-health/what-happens-when-you-stop-wearing-bra This Is What Really Happens When You Stop Wearing a Bra, by Kelsey Mulvey, updated on April 10, 2022
2. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/sleeping-in-bra Is Sleeping in a Bra Bad for You? Here’s What You Should Know, Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, by Mellanie Perez on December 7, 2020