Is sleeping without a bra good for you? Or does sleeping in a bra help keep “the ladies” looking perky? Are there health consequences? I’ve scoured the web for the expert answers.
Bras and Cancer
Back in the 1990s, a self-published book called Dressed to Kill made waves by claiming that wearing a bra could cause breast cancer. Constrictive bras, the argument went, hindered the flow of the lymphatic system and allowed carcinogens to build up in breast tissue. The argument is widely refuted among medical doctors and scientists. According to Medline Plus, “underwire bras do not raise the risk of breast cancer.”
Huffington Post’s “Beauty Myths” series asked Dr. Amber Guth, director of the Breast Cancer Surgery Multidisciplinary Fellowship at NYU Langone Medical Center and associate professor, to address bras and cancer risk. Said Guth, “scientists are certainly looking at the chemistry of the breast, trying to see if there are different pathways at the molecular level that predict or are permissive for breast cancer development, but strongly doubt that external devises such as brassieres would have any effect on these pathways.” The body would show other signs of lymphatic distress or restricted circulation long before cancerous cells began to form, she said.
Bras and “Form”
Some women believe that sleeping in a bra can help “the girls” keep their shape and lift for longer. For some, it’s just a matter of comfort. Dr. Phil Haek, president of The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, told Oprah “If women could prevent sagging by just wearing a bra for 24 hours a day I’d be out of business… What keeps your breast in place are microscopic ligaments–think of them as tiny suspenders for your breasts.” Haeck said those ligaments thin and stretch naturally with age, and there’s no proof that extra support helps keep those ligaments any stronger.
The consensus seems to be that sleeping without a bra or with a bra should be a matter of personal choice; there are no long-term medical consequences for or against sleeping in support. Both doctors and bra fit specialists agree, though, that if you do sleep in a bra it should be one without a wire. That wire can cause discomfort or irritation, disrupting healthy sleep patterns. So if you do give your girls a lift at night, make sure it’s in a comfortable, wire-free soft cup.