When you get a tattoo on your body, you will still need to sleep as usual. Sleep will also help the body to heal and get back to normal quickly. It might be difficult to sleep with a new tattoo because of the pain which causes discomfort. You also need to be careful so that you may not damage the ink while sleeping.
It is advisable to clean your tattoo before going to bed to prevent bacteria from multiplying. Ensure you take care of the new tattoo as recommended by the artist. The first day and the first week of healing are important because they determine how your tattoo will appear on your skin for the rest of its life. Bad care of a tattoo can change a wonderful and beautiful art into a mess.
Sleeping with a tattoo: how not to screw it up
- Use clean beddings
Make sure that you sleep on very clean bedsheets and other beddings. Dirty bed sheets may contain some bacteria which can get into the tattoo and cause infection. You should change your bed sheets more often until your tattoo has completed the peeling stage. At this stage, the skin has already grown another skin that can protect the tattoo from disease-causing bacteria.
- Check on your sleeping position
Make sure that you don’t sleep in a position with your tattoo being pressed by your body. There should be no pressure to be applied to the tattoo because its’ not easy to sleep in the same position the whole night. The tattooed area should not touch the sheets.
- Don’t just pull out the sheet that stuck with the tattoo
In some cases, you may wake up and find that the sheet is pressed against the unhealed tattoo and stuck against it. It is advisable not to pull away from the sheet because you will damage the tattoo and leave patches of color. It can also cause a delay in the healing process. Instead, run lukewarm water on the affected area until the sheet comes out on its own.
- Clean the tattoo and make it moist
The tattoo can get dry by rubbing it against the sheets while sleeping because it will absorb the moisture. Clean the tattoo well and apply a moisturizing lotion. The lotion should not have a scent, and it should also be skin sensitive. The lotion prevents the area from being dry and also itching, and therefore promotes faster healing.
- Make sure that you get eight hours of sleep
The more you take fewer hours to sleep, the slower the tattoo will heal. The body always undergoes the healing and repairing process when you are sleeping. It is important to observe 8 hours of sleep for the first week of getting a tattoo.
- Don’t allow pets into your bedroom while you are asleep
Pets like cats and dogs may get the smell of your blood from the tattoo. They will find the source of the small and finally lick it clean. The licking can transfer germs from the pet to your tattoo, and these can cause infection and slower healing of the tattoo.
- Raise the tattoo
Some tattoos, e.g. wrist tattoos, can swell and pour out blood due to gravity. To prevent this, raise your tattooed area using a pillow.
- Avoid drinking and smoking
When you have an unhealed tattoo, Usage of alcohol is dangerous because you may stagger and knock the tattoo against objects. Again alcohol can make you sleep less than recommended. All these will cause slower healing. Smoking may lead to an insufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tattooed area due to the narrowing down of the blood vessels.
The don’ts during the healing of a tattoo
- Do not bandage a tattoo after the first night. The wrapping that your tattoo artist does is to make you reach without the bacteria entering into it. It is advisable to use breathable clothing to cover the tattoo because the wrapping won’t allow air to circulate.
- Do not dip the tattoo into water. Submerging the tattoo in water may make it looser, making it take longer to heal. However, you can have your normal bathing.
- Do not expose the tattoo to direct sunlight. When you expose your tattooed area to direct sunlight before it heals, you will feel a burning sensation which is too painful. Again exposure to direct sunlight can make the ink melt.
- Do not shave around the tattooed area. If you want to shave, you can wait until the tattoo heals and the skin feels smooth.
- Do not over care or under care.
- Make sure that you follow the guidelines your artist gives you. Do it the right way; overdoing it may damage it and again, you are not supposed to ignore the guidelines.
Treating an itchy tattoo
A tattoo can make you uncomfortable and sometimes itchy due to dryness or any other issue. There are different ways to relieve the itchiness without scratching the area.
The following are the ways of treating the itchy tattoo.
- Use a lotion to moisturize the skin. The main reason why the skin may itch is because of dryness which makes the skin stiff and stimulates the tattooed part. Applying a very thin layer of moisturizer helps soothe the skin and reduce itchiness. If you apply a large amount of the moisturizer, do not rub it out; pat it away with a clean piece of cloth.
- Do not scratch the area. Scratching may make the area more wounded and therefore slow down the healing process. Instead of scratching, pat the area or apply some little ice until the itching goes away.
- Distract yourself so that you can forget about the itchiness. Distraction and keeping yourself busy may help you to switch your mind from scratching yourself. You can either play a game or find something to wash. This method may not work for all people.
- Take a bath. Take a shower with lukewarm water to relieve the tattoo. Do not saturate the tattoo with water as it may contain bacteria. After showering, apply some lotion as usual.
- Soothe the tattooed area by cooling it. Find anything that can bring a cooling effect on the area. For example, you can use wet and clean cloth. Change the cloth after a few minutes because it may warm up and cause discomfort.
Finally, make sure that your nails are as short as possible as you can forget and scratch yourself, which may lead to wounding. If you are alone, you can sleep with gloves if you don’t want to cut your nails. This is because you can have the itchy feeling even when you are deeply asleep, and you will scratch it even if you will be doing it unaware.
When the tattoo artist completes their work, they will wrap your tattoo with a bandage to protect it as you go home. You should stay with that wrapping for 1 to 3 hours before removing it. After that, it is advisable to follow your artists’ instructions on the initial wrapping of the tattoo.
A new tattoo can cause a lot of discomforts when it comes to sleep. If you correctly follow the above guidelines, it will be easy for you to care for it as you enjoy your sleep.