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Can You Sleep in a Waist Trainer? The Answer May Surprise You

waist trainer in bed

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Technically, yes. You can sleep in a waist trainer but we do not advise that you do so.

Women (and some men) have long been trying to alter the shape of their waists. First came the corsets. They slowly became less constrictive throughout the centuries, finally becoming what is known as the girdle or shapewear in the 1950s.

But fashion has a way of cycling back throughout the times. The dawn of the Instagram age brought us back another form of corsetry and women began trying to modify their bodies with compression yet again. Waist trainers are ideally meant to be worn during exercise and yet a lot of women have taken to wearing them throughout the day, even during sleep. But is it even safe to sleep in a waist trainer?

the anatomy of the corseted waist
Nature vs Corsets

Is sleeping with a waist trainer still even a thing?

Even the Kardashians have resorted to surgery. Nowadays, if women want a shapelier body they shop for doctors instead of shapewear.

2014-2015 was the height of the waist training craze. Waist trainers were widely marketed as a way to purportedly eliminate stomach fat while supposedly helping to improve your posture. It didn’t help that the Kardashians were actively promoting it on all avenues of their social media. At that time, their extensive surgeries weren’t widely discussed. A lot of women believed that the waist trainer was the answer to all their “excess troubles”.

I tried it myself, initially to see what the fuss was all about. Worn during exercise, especially during an intense cardio session, left me feeling breathless to the point of passing out. The website I got my waist trainer from claims that their waist trainer was comfortable enough to sleep in. Of course, I had to try it out. Big mistake. Unless you literally sleep like a log throughout the night, a waist trainer is definitely not comfortable to wear while sleeping. Not only that, there’s this tiny little thing called asphyxiation.

My waist trainer now lives in the back of my closet. A relic, just like its distant cousin the corset. A reminder to myself that I should never be swayed so easily by an Instagram post ever again.

Is sleeping with a waist trainer dangerous?

I am going to be very blunt here – yes, it can be dangerous. and here are the reasons why.

  • Waist trainers restrict air flow – Imagine you are sleeping and someone smothers you with a pillow. Not very pretty, is it? Waist trainers can prevent your diaphragm from doing its job. In case you forgot your 6th grade Biology lesson, your diaphragm is the major muscle needed and used for respiration. In order for the diaphragm to work properly, the abdomen needs to expand to accommodate its continuous contraction. Without it you are worm food.
  • Waist trainers can cause musculoskeletal issues – We here at Sleepline are big on proper spinal alignment during sleep, so much so that it is one of the main criteria of how we choose our best mattresses. Compressing your lower half can severely inhibit your lower spine’s mobility, which can then throw off your musculoskeletal system. Your back and neck muscles will try to compensate for something that isn’t even their job, making you susceptible to injury in other areas.
  • Waist trainers can put pressure on internal organs – While it can take years of constant waist training to cause critical damage, the short term effects are not something to be trifled with either. Applying unnecessary pressure to internal organs can be aggravating, causing them undue stress. When you sleep is when your body works hard to repair and renew itself and sleeping in a waist trainer is like deliberately blocking a race car from going full throttle.
  • Waist trainers can cause digestive issues – Suffer from acid reflux or GERD? Sleeping in a waist trainer can bring it about much, much quicker, thereby increasing the severity of the symptoms. Beyond just heartburn, if the stomach acid travels as far up as the throat or larynx it can cause choking or significant chest pain.

So, do you still want to sleep in your waist trainer?

Sleep and beauty

The standards of beauty change with the times every so often but a few key things remain constant. A smaller waist, bigger hips, symmetrical features. Women find ways to defy the laws of nature in their constant pursuit for beauty. But are you willing to risk your health just for the sake of a smaller waistline?

While a smaller waist can be lovely, there are other, healthier ways to achieve that than just by sleeping in a waist trainer. And I know that you know what they are. We just want faster results with minimum effort. I get it – I do, too. But, hear me out, the rewards are so much sweeter when you take the longer route.

May I remind you, lest you forget, sleep is the best thing you can do not just for your health but for your physical appearance too.