The Debate: Should You Wear Your Bra While Sleeping?

Should You Wear Your Bra While Sleeping? Photo credit Anya Lust

Everything you need to know about wearing (or not wearing) your bra to bed.

Photo credit above image, Anya Lust

To wear or not to wear? The debate continues on whether sleeping in your bra is good or bad for you, generating numerous questions surrounding the potential effects of breast sagging, cancer, rashes and more. To help us straighten out the topic, we enlisted two experts to share some valuable insight: Bra Expert Fiona Abrams of leading lingerie & intimates marketplace Brayola, which uses crowdsourced data and feedback from millions of women to make personalized bra shopping recommendations; and Board Certified Radiation Oncologist Dr. Katie Deming, a specialist in Breast and Gynecological Cancers and Designer of MAKEMERRY by AnaOno, a collection of intimates designed for breast cancer patients as well as women with very sensitive skin. Here, we separate myth from fact alongside tips on what you should, and shouldn’t, look for if opting to bring your bra to bed.

Myth: Wearing a Bra to Bed Can Help Prevent Breast Sagging & Drooping

“This will not cure any sagging,” says Abrams. “The cause of droopiness is from the breakdown in muscle tissue, which happens when the breasts move (excessively). This is one of the reasons we strongly recommend wearing a sports bra during exercise, as this is when the tissue is at risk. Don’t expect any dramatic difference [by wearing a bra] when you sleep.”

“Studies show that wearing a bra to sleep does not reduce sagging or stretch marks,” says Dr. Deming, citing a recent study by University of Franche-Comte professor and sport science researcher Jean-Denis Rouillon. After studying the effects of bras on 330 women aged 18-35 for 15 years, results showed that wearing a bra from an early age did nothing to help support the chest, reduce back pain or prevent breast sagging. “Medically, physiologically, anatomically – breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity,” Professor Rouillon told France Info in an interview.

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Myth: Wearing a Bra to Bed Can Cause Breast Cancer

Says Dr. Deming: “There is no evidence that sleeping in a bra is harmful. A 2014 study from Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention showed that there is no association between the risk of cancer and wearing a bra, day or night.”

Myth: Wearing a Bra to Bed Can Cause Breast Fungus

On the contrary, says Dr. Deming: “For women who are prone to fungal infections, wearing a bra made of breathable material may actually help prevent moisture accumulation, and thus an infection, in the fold under the breast.”

You’ll want to make sure it’s breathable however, because on the other hand, says Abrams: “Your body can get hot at night, and wearing a non-breathable bra can trap heat and moisture at your chest – which may lead to breast fungus. It’s best, and more comfortable, to keep things cool down there.”

Fact: Wearing a Bra to Bed Can Provide Additional Comfort and Support

“Women with larger breasts understand that sleeping and lying down in general can be quite uncomfortable. While taking the bra off can be amazing for the first 5 minutes, the feeling eventually wears off. Keeping the girls lightly supported can really help to feel more comfortable going to bed,” explains Abrams.

Dr. Deming agrees: “Women with larger breasts, or swelling due to breast feeding, menstrual periods or other causes are examples of women who may feel better with the extra support provided by a bra.”

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Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing a Bra to Bed

If opting to wear a bra, here’s what you want to look for – and avoid:

DO wear breathable materials such as cotton or modal.

DON’T wear a bra with underwire or that is otherwise constrictive, as this may affect blood circulation.

DO wear your bra looser than you would during the day, to avoid excessive compression which may also impair blood flow.

The verdict?

“There are no known, clear risks associated with sleeping in a bra, and there is no clear benefit to wearing a bra to sleep other than providing additional support for women who find that more comfortable,” says Dr. Deming. “It really is about personal preference and what feels best for your body.”

If you are opting to don a bra to bed, browse our gallery below for a few sleep-approved picks to consider.

Row 1, from left:  

MAKEMERRY by AnaOno Intimates Pocketed Plunge Wirefree Bra ($52.50)

Hanky Panky Signature Lace Crossover Bralette ($46.00)

Row 2, from left:  

SOMA Embraceable Wireless Unlined Bra ($34.00)

Miel Sisters Nana Bra ($39.00)

Calvin Klein Modern Cotton Bralette ($28.00)

Row 3, from left:  

Bali Comfort Revolution Wirefree Bra ($42.00)

HANRO Touch Feeling Crop Top ($34.40)

Commando Cotton Scoop Bralette ($58.00)