You’ve probably heard plenty of conflicting advice about bedtime bras. Some insist that sleeping with your bra is a must-do for keeping your breasts perky, while others argue this practice could lead to long-term health issues or breast pain. Who knows myth from reality among these warnings? And is it ok to wear a bra to bed?
We’re here to answer your questions.
Simply put, there are no hard-and-fast do’s and don’ts for lingerie while you doze. We’re here to take the myth and mystery out of sleeping with a bra on. To make the best choice for your breasts and your rest, read on.
Bra Habits and Breast Shape
One reason you might be tempted to sleep with a bra on? You may have heard that your bra plays a long-term role in determining your breast shape.
Les girls come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from bell-shaped to conical to wide-set. And, as the old adage goes, “They’re sisters, not twins.” No matter your specific shape, the right bra, and the best bra can give you lift and support that makes you feel as gorgeous as you are.
But does a bra permanently affect or altar your breast tissue or the shape of your chest over time? The short answer is no. Research has consistently shown that wearing (or not wearing) a bra is not a determining factor in the shape of your breasts or breast growth.1
So what determines shape and breast size? The shape that all those components take on is largely determined by:
- Diet and health
- Physical activity
- Breastfeeding and pregnancy
Bra Habits and Longterm Health
On the other side of the coin, you may have heard that wearing a bra can lead to long-term health issues. In that case, you might shy away from wearing a bra at night—or any other time you don’t absolutely need to.
Is it bad to sleep with a bra on? According to top scientists, there is absolutely no biological reason for there to be a link between bra-wearing and serious health issues.2
However, when and where you choose to wear a bra can have minor affects on your overall comfort:3
- If you sleep hot, your nightime sweat might clog the pores underneath your bra band. This can lead to skin irritation and itching.
- A poorly-fitting, uncomfortable bra with a tight bra strap can cut off circulation. Likewise, a tight fitting bra may leave you feeling constricted. If you’re experiencing any discomfort from your bra during the day, the same will be true at night.
The goal is to wake up feeling fully, fabulously you—so reconsider your nighttime habits if they’re having the opposite effect.
Pros and Cons of Sleeping with a Bra On
There are no shape benefits or serious health downsides to sleeping with a bra on. So how do you make your decision on what to wear to bed?
Next, we’ll take a look at the reasons bra aficionados and skeptics alike take their evening stance on the subject.
Why Sleep With a Bra On
If wearing your bra increases your comfort and confidence, you may want to make one part of your nighttime ensemble. After all, bras boast the following benefits:
- Preventing breast movement or shifting in the night
- Adding a layer of warmth
- Helping leaky, breastfeeding mothers stay comfortable
- Creating a tidy layer beneath pajamas
And that’s not to mention the extra eye candy they might provide to the other person sharing your sheets.
Why Sleep Sans Bra
On the other hand, if bras don’t negatively or positively impact breast shape and health, why do some women sleep bra-free? This, too, comes down to personal comfort.
Sleeping without a bra can be:
- Cooler (temperature-wise, that is)
- Freeing and sexy
Should you wear a bra to bed? Consider your nightly needs and desires. Your health and body shape need not be a consideration in the decision.
Best Types Of Bras For Sleeping
If you do choose to try sleeping in a bra, there are numerous styles that will maximize your comfort. While there are no health reasons to avoid lace, embellishments, and underwire at night, many women find a simple and less structured bra to be the most comfortable for sleeping.
Some of the types of simple bras that can make your sleep a dream include:
Bralettes – This over-the-shoulder bra is simple and structured without wires, clasps, or padding. Soft and easy, bralettes give just enough support to keep your breasts comfortable in the night without being overly restrictive. Although they can be chic and dainty, they can also be casual and cottony.
Tubes or Bandeaus – A stretchy tube of fabric that you pull over might be exactly the right bra for sleep. Without straps to dig into your shoulders, these are a great choice for smaller busts. The trick to getting the right nighttime bandeau is finding one that will stay in place without twisting or riding up during the night.
Sports or Athletic bras – While a sports bra is meant for compression and security, they can also be an excellent choice for sleeping. Choosing one that is loose enough to allow your skin to breath is a must if you’re planning to sleep in it. Also, opt for a sports bra that is light on the clasps and straps.
Camisoles – Technically not a bra at all, many styles of camisoles come with a built-in bra making them a kind of all-in-one pajama top. Pair them with coordinating pajama pants or shorts for a cute nighttime look.
Choosing The Right Bra For You
Choosing the style of bra you want to sleep in is only half the marathon. Now you need to get the correct fit. According to one study, however, nearly 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size.4
Whether you’re buying a bralette or a balconette, certain tips will help make the most of your fitting:5
Measure – Don’t guess your band size and your cup size. If you don’t want to visit a boutique for a professional fitting, you’ll need a soft tape measurer to get the right numbers at home.
Band size – Measure about 1 inch underneath your breasts and around your back. Leave a teeny bit of slack in the tape. The resulting measurement is your band size.
Cup size – Measure around your back and loosely across the tips of your nipples. Take your nipple size and subtract your band size. If the difference is 1 inch, you’re an A cup. If the difference is 2 inches, you’re a B cup. If the difference is 3 inches, you’re a C cup. And so on. Now you know the true meaning behind those letters.
- If your breasts are different sizes, round up.
Adjust – Your straps are actually meant to keep the cups flush to your body rather than holding your breasts up. Make sure the straps are loose enough to fit a fingertip underneath. Your bra straps are stabilizers, not pulleys.
Clasp – Most bras come with three levels of clasps. Don’t just randomly strap yourself in. Know which clasp feels best and use it every time. There can up to an inch of difference between the first and last clasp. This will absolutely impact your comfort level. Save the largest clasp level for times of the month when you might be swollen. The tightest clasp can be used when the band begins to stretch out.
Basic Sleep Bra Care
It can feel like a stroke of good luck to find a bra that feels perfectly comfortable all night. You might be wondering, “how long do bras last?” and “how many bras should I own?”.Our #1 advice when you do: buy two. Then, take good care of your new nighttime companions.
Wash – Your bras are exposed to body oils, dirt, and sweat. Don’t let those bodily and environmental factors degrade them prematurely. Wash your sleep bras after every wearing. Some things to remember when washing them are:
- If you can’t handwash, only machine wash with the following considerations:
- Place in a mesh bag
- Utilize the delicate cycle
- Use gentle detergent
- Never ever wring your bras out by twisting or shaking them
Dry – Line dry your intimates. There are no two ways about this.6 If you don’t have an easily accessible outdoor line, buy a small laundry room rack. Bras likely won’t take more than 90 minutes to air dry.
Store – Store your bras cup side up and flat. Do not fold them in half, and always clasp them for the protection of your other undergarments.
Upgrade Your Nights With Gooseberry Bras
Once and for all, let’s put to rest all the myths about nighttime bra safety: sleeping in a bra is safe, comforting, and comfortable.
Feel free to wear any bra you want to bed.
At Gooseberry we make beautiful, sustainable bras that feel weightless whether you’re out on the town or down in your bed. Take a look today at the variety and styles we offer and pick the perfect match for your bedroom, whether you’re sleeping there…or not.
- Cleveland Clinic. Is It Bad to Not Wear A Bra? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/going-braless/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CWearing%20a%20bra%20doesn't,the%20shape%20of%20your%20breasts
- American Cancer Society. Disproven Or Controversial Breast Cancer Risk Factors. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/disproven-or-controversial-breast-cancer-risk-factors.html
- Real Simple. This Is What Really Happens When You Stop Wearing a Bra. https://www.realsimple.com/health/preventative-health/breast-health/what-happens-when-you-stop-wearing-bra
- Chiropractic and Osteopathy. Bra Fit, Breast Size, and Thoracic Pain In Young Women: A Correlational Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC2275741/
- Self. Tips For Finding The Right Bra Size. https://www.self.com/story/tips-for-finding-the-right-bra-size-and-fit
- New York Times Wirecutter. How To Wash Bras. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/guides/how-to-wash-bras
Discover Magazine. Scientists Still Stumped By The Evolution Of Human Breasts. https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/scientists-still-stumped-by-the-evolution-of-human-breasts
The Royal Society. Article Review: Aesthetic Evolution By Mate Choice. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2011.0285
Susan G. Komen. Anatomy Of The Breast. https://www.komen.org/breast-cancer/facts-statistics/what-is-breast-cancer/the-breast-anatomy/