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What Is a Sleep Bra?

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  • Written By: H. Bliss
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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A sleep bra is a piece of underclothing worn overnight to protect and support the breasts during sleep. These bras are generally made from soft fibers with smooth construction that makes them more comfortable to sleep in than a daytime bra. Also called leisure bras, sleep bras do not have underwires, the metal piece providing support at the base of many daytime bra cups, but they do often have molded fabric cups. Usually, the molded cups provide gentle support and are stretchy rather than firm. The cups generally do not have any padding or support panels.

Most of the time, this type of bra is worn to give a large-breasted woman comfort and support in addition to what is provided by her sleepwear. Sometimes, the bras can be worn by patients who have had recent surgery on the breast area. This type of bra, called a surgical sleep bra, provides support to the area that aids healing and is commonly worn after plastic surgery. Expectant or nursing mothers might also wear one to help them deal with the enlarged breast area that often comes with pregnancy. These bras can also be worn to cover the breasts for extra modesty in shared sleeping situations.

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A sleep bra is usually made from cotton blended with an elastic synthetic fiber, like elastane, which is also known as spandex. This creates a fabric that has stretchy support but is soft to the touch. Some bras are made with synthetic fibers only, leaving out cotton in favor of soft microfiber nylon with spandex. Generally, it has wide straps on the shoulders, softly molding cups and a gentle band that provides smooth support without causing tightness or pinching.

The soft and flexible sleep bra bears many similarities to a light sports bra, but usually has softer fabric and lighter support. The shaped cups in a sleep bra help keep the breasts in place while lying down, which can provide a large-breasted woman comfort in more sleeping positions. These bras generally do not clasp in the back to avoid creating discomfort for back sleepers. Rather, the bra usually has a clasp in the front, between the cups, or no clasp at all. These bras are sized differently than daytime bras, often classified by general sizes such as small, medium and large rather than by a band and cup size.

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umbra21
Post 3

@bythewell - Honestly, the reason I like wearing a sleeping bra is because I just hate the way I look without a bra, but I like being able to wander around the house in the morning without feeling self conscious in my dressing gown.

I have several housemates and I don't think any of them would judge me, but it is just so much better for my peace of mind to have some support. Putting on a real bra before I have a shower and get properly dressed just doesn't feel right though, so I like this as a compromise.

bythewell
Post 2

@clintflint - It depends on why they want to wear one. Sometimes people just find it more comfortable to sleep with some support.

I don't actually think a bra would make any difference to the ligaments when you're sleeping, since gravity wouldn't be pulling the breasts down anyway. It would just keep them out of the way. And it can be very difficult to get comfortable if you've got a large chest, so anything that can help is a good thing, particularly for a new mother.

clintflint
Post 1

I just want to point out that most research seems to indicate that wearing a bra actually makes your breasts more saggy over time than not wearing a bra would, because it encourages the ligaments to relax since they don't have to do any work.

I mean, I wear a bra during the day because it wouldn't be comfortable not to, but I think wearing one during the night is going to have the opposite effect that women hope it might have.

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