How to Sleep With a New Tattoo: How Not To Screw It Up

Now that you’ve gotten that tattoo you have always wanted, you’re probably anxious about how you’re going to sleep with it when it’s still fresh. You wouldn’t want to damage your new ink. The truth is that sleeping with a new tat can be very painful and uneasy. But you need that sleep to ensure your body gets a smooth time to facilitate healing of the tattoo.

How to Sleep With a New Tattoo

This article shares tips on how you can hack a comfortable sleep through the night with new ink.

1. Clean Your Tat Before Bed

Before you slip into that cozy blanket, remember to clean your tattoo following the aftercare routine as advised by the tattooist. You will be assured of removing germs and bacteria that would otherwise cause an infection. You most likely went home with a wrap around your body art from the studio. If the artist advised you to sleep with it, rewrap the area before you sleep. You can always take it off in the morning and rewrap it at night after cleaning in the first four days.

2. Change Your Bed sheet Every Night

When a tattoo is new, it’s an open wound that has to be well taken care of. Fresh bed sheets every night ensure you sleep on a clean surface free from bacteria, thus keeping infections at bay. When it gets to the peeling stage, you can go slowly on changing your sheets. Also, note that a fresh tattoo will seep out the ink and some blood, so it is wise you use a sheet that you wouldn’t mind if it gets stained.

3. Avoid Sleeping on the Tattoo

How to Sleep With a New Tattoo
I agree this is one of the most challenging rules on new tats, especially when it’s drawn on a place you can’t avoid sleeping on. It is advised that your tattoo should not be pressed against any surface as this will transfer the ink to the sheets or mattress.

Additionally, it will be deprived of oxygen, an essential factor that facilitates efficient healing. Any wound needs fresh air to heal properly.

4. Get Enough Sleep – at-least 8 Hours

When you get enough sleep, the body gets enough time to heal a wound faster. Try as much as possible to get sleep well in the first week to quicken the healing process. Couple this with a healthy diet to boost your immune system, and your tattoo will heal in the shortest time.

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5. Dress Comfortably

The new tattoo site is painful and extra sensitive. A slight pressing could give you nightmares. When going to bed, wear loose, soft clothing that doesn’t press on the tattoo. This will leave your tat to breathe, and you can also catch a sound sleep.

6. Keep Away Pets From Your Bedroom

Pets like dogs and cats carry around microbes which could lead to infection on your tattoo. You wouldn’t want them to transfer the germs to your fresh sheets, which will be putting your wound at risk. Furthermore, pets like the smell of blood, and as soon as you fall asleep, they’d be up leaking your wound. Keep pets away for the first few weeks as your tattoo begins to heal.

7. Moisturize the Area

While we advise that you shouldn’t sleep on your tat, you may accidentally sleep on it, or it may run against your bed sheets. This will absorb any moisture on the wound, leaving it dry and unhealthy. Apply moderate moisturizer to preserve the ink color and quicken the healing. Look for a great moisturizer that is free from allergens and fragrances.

8. Loosen Stuck Clothes or Sheets with Water

It’s normal that as your wound leaks ink and blood, the area gets stuck on the fabric. Do not rip it off, as this will destroy the new ink and significantly slow its healing. Instead, dampen the area with warm water before gently pulling it off. If the clothing is stuck in a place you can’t easily reach, get under a warm shower.

9. Avoid Alcohol and Smoking

Drunkenness and tattoos are not good friends. Alcohol is discouraged right from the tattooing process as it thins the blood, leading to severe bleeding. Similarly, during healing, alcohol weakens the immune system, subsequently slowing down the healing process. Additionally, when drunk, you won’t be able to catch some sleep since your mind and body aren’t calm. Stay sober in your early healing stages, and you will get enough sleep to allow your wound to heal well.

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Also read: Which tattoo stencil printer is popular among tattoo artists?

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I put ointment on my tattoo before bed?

Not all tattooists recommend rewrapping your tattoo before going to bed. Others advise that you apply a thin layer of ointment on the area to protect it. The ointments should be petroleum- based to allow air circulation on the wound. Avoid vaseline as it keeps away oxygen.

When can I sleep on my new tattoo?

Do you feel so uncomfortable sleeping in an otherwise awkward position to avoid pressing your tattoo? Well, don’t worry because after seven days you can begin sleeping on your tat. By then, the ink is set, and the healing process is progressing well. If you’re still uncomfortable, you can wait for a few more days before sleeping on it.

What should I put on my fresh tattoo before bed?

There’s no ultimate answer to this question since different artists have different opinions on what you should do. While others recommend sleeping with the wrap then remove it for cleaning, others advise that you remove it, clean the area and apply an ointment before you sleep. If you sleep with a wrap, make sure it allows oxygen circulation on the wound. If you’re a frequent traveler, wrapping up is the best thing to keep away dirt and germs. Of course, it isn’t easier to clean up the wound when traveling, unlike when you’re at home.


While sleeping with a new tattoo might be a tricky affair; you badly need that sleep to facilitate effective healing. The care you give will also keep away infections. The above tips should help you sleep well on a new tat. If you notice alarming signs like extreme swelling, don’t hesitate to see a doctor.

Also read:

1. How To Remove Stick And Poke Tattoo

About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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