Is It Bad To Sleep In A Bra?
After my friend detailed the fictitious link between sleeping in bras and breast cancer, stunted boob growth, and sagging ta-tas, I knew I had to do my own research to determine if it’s bad to sleep in a bra. It turns out that it’s more harmful to lose sleep worrying about if you should wear a bra to bed! Touche, touche. After far too much time on the internet, I can confidently tell you that it’s totally fine to sleep with a bra and also fine to sleep without a bra.
I wear my hemp bra to bed, specifically my racerback bralette, simply because it’s comfortable for my mixed breast shapes. But, trust me, I was worried about the health consequences. Take a journey into my anxious mind, and let’s debunk those sleeping-in-a-bra rumors, shall we?
IS IT BAD TO SLEEP WITH A BRA? COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS
1. BRAS CAUSE BREAST CANCER
Probably the most common bra-wearing rumor is that bras cause breast cancer. Maybe you’ve also asked the nice, innocent woman at the mall, “Are underwire bras bad for you??” far too many times. That’s because in 1995, the book “Dressed to Kill” linked underwire bras to breast cancer. The rumor stuck with the tweens of the 90s (yup, that’s me), and somehow, all bras became cancer-causers.
Breast cancer kills 40,000 Americans each year, so fair enough that people were worried. And if bras cause cancer, then certainly sleeping in a bra would be bad, right? Luckily three of the leading cancer research institutions pulled through and debunked this rumor.
- Fred Hutch Research: Fred Hutchinson is one of the world’s leaders in cancer research and used a case-control study to determine that there’s no link between bras and cancer.
- Harvard Research: Harvard did find a correlation, but it’s not what you think. In their study, the culprit wasn’t wearing bras but rather women with large breasts. The team at Harvard concluded that it was occurrences of obesity and more breast tissue that linked to breast cancer.
- National Cancer Institute (NCI) Research: NCI was suspicious of “Dressed to Kill” from the start, so the team directly focused on the book’s claims that bras constricted lymphatic drainage. In the NCI study, researchers looked at those who had their lymph nodes removed and found no link between lack of lymphatic drainage and breast cancer, completely busting the claim.
We can all take a collective sigh and know that our sleeping boobs are totally fine snuggled in a bra. You can wear a bra to bed and not worry about developing breast cancer.
2. SLEEPING IN BRAS STUNTS BOOB GROWTH
Another common rumor is that wearing a bra, especially sleeping in one, will restrict growth or cause one boob to be bigger than the other. If you or your child is going through puberty, is it bad to sleep in a bra? Well, boobs aren’t like goldfish—they won’t grow bigger or smaller depending on their habitat. Research has only pinpointed two primary influences: genes and development.
- Hereditary: The size of your boobs is 56% genetic, meaning you literally shake what your mama gave ya, and that’s about it.
- Development: There’s not much research to determine other influences, but some suggest environmental factors, especially the nutrients you received as a baby, to assess breast size.
No research suggests wearing a bra or sleeping in a bra impacts the size of your ta-tas. Even breast asymmetry has nothing to do with sleeping boobs or bra-wearing. If anything, uneven boob development is caused by hormonal changes or injury. Bottom line: you can sleep in a bra and not worry about impacting the growth of your boobs.
3. BRA SLEEPING CAUSES PREMATURE SAGGING
This rumor is interesting to me. The idea is this: using a bra to hold up your ta-tas all day and night means they won’t develop strength or tone and will eventually start to sag earlier in life. I could get behind this one if my boobs had muscles, but they don’t!
Say it with me: I must, I must, I must increase my bust! Yea, no exercise is going to change your boobs because your ta-tas are just a mix of three types of tissues:
These tissues work together to form your natural shape. You also have Cooper’s ligaments, which sit between your pectoral muscles behind your boobs and your mammary glands. These ligaments—not your pecs and not your breast tissue—are what cause sagging. They hold up your ta-tas, so after regular wear and tear (aka aging), they can start to lose their elasticity.
CAUSES OF BREAST SAGGING
Breasts start to sag for a few different reasons, but none of them have anything to do with whether you sleep in a bra.
- Aging: You’re going to age, and so am I—it’s natural! And with aging comes sagging boobs. That’s because your ligaments that have worked your entire life to keep your breasts up will start to grow tired and lose their spunk (elasticity). Other factors that break down the elasticity of Cooper’s ligaments include sunburn and smoking. So if you need yet another reason to wear your SPF, there you have it.
- Gravitational Pull: Not to get all Newton on you or anything, but gravity takes its toll on your ta-tas. After decades of constant gravitational pull, it’s no wonder your boobs start to sag, especially if you have larger and heavier breasts.
- Weight Changes: If you fluctuate in weight, you can stretch your breasts, and they may not return to their previous shape. You’ll have less fat to fill the skin, which causes sagging.
- Lack of Support: Plot twist! Not wearing a bra can actually contribute to sagging. Think of those Cooper’s ligaments slowly wearing down and that gravity pulling your boobs down. With a proper bra, like the racerback bralette or triangle bralette, you’re helping to preserve that elasticity in your chest. One study followed a group of women for 15 years and found a bra protected against damage to Cooper’s ligaments.
IS IT OKAY TO SLEEP IN A BRA?
Yes! Not everyone can sleep comfortably without wearing a bra. Beyond that, is it actually good to sleep in a bra? If you have bigger or fuller breasts, it might feel better to keep them contained with a bra or bralette while you catch your Z’s. And now you know that snuggling your sleeping boobs with a comfy bra will not cause cancer, impact growth, or lead to sagging.
BEST BRAS FOR SLEEPING
I don’t know about you, but the idea of sleeping with an underwire bra sounds a bit like torture. You’ll probably feel better sleeping in a bralette or an unlined bra. What is an unlined bra, you ask? Only a little gift sent straight from heaven. And what is a bralette? Just a far more comfortable version of a bra.
Combine the two, and you get an unlined bralette that you’ll never want to take off, even while sleeping! But there are a few other factors to consider if you’re going to sleep in a bra, and they revolve around the fabric you choose.
- Better Sleep: Your body temperature fluctuates while you sleep, and a lower temp somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees is ideal. Wearing breathable and airy underwear will help you sleep better. Plus, it can help you avoid boob sweat if you get hot at night.
- Antibacterial Properties: Hemp fabric also creates antibacterial underwear and uses no chemicals or toxins while growing or manufacturing. So it’s one of the best materials to wear on your boobs, which are a delicate part of your body.
- Super Soft and Durable: Another pro of hemp fashion is that it’s incredibly soft despite also being one of the strongest materials. It’s ideal for sleeping!
Personally, I wear the racerback bralette because it offers more coverage and works like a sports bra!
IS IT OKAY TO SLEEP WITHOUT A BRA?
So, if it’s fine to sleep in a bra, is it bad to sleep without a bra? No, there’s nothing wrong with going braless at night. It’s really up to you and what’s most comfortable for your body. If you have very large breasts, then it might be uncomfortable to sleep without a bra. Plus, wearing a bra at night helps prevent any strain on your boobs and ligaments.
The most important takeaway here is that you’re not going to hurt yourself either way. Sleep in a bra or sleep without a bra—it’s completely, 100% up to you!
CONCLUSION: HOW TO SUPPORT SLEEPING BOOBS
There’s nothing wrong if you sleep in a bra—it’s not going to hurt you in any way. So if you enjoy it, go for it! It will even help keep your chest supported as you snooze. You don’t need to worry about developing breast cancer, restricting boob growth, or premature sagging. Wear a bra and count your sheep in peace.
What about you? Are you team sleep in a bra or team sleep without a bra? Drop me a comment below!