Are Sleep Bras Right for Your Breasts? Our In-depth Review


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Sleep bras are usually thinner than a sports bra. Since you probably don’t want to sleep feeling like your breasts are being pushed into your back, a little more leeway is appreciated by the plus-sized community. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a bra while you sleep. Many studies have been performed to debunk many stereotypes and myths about sleeping with a bra on. Full-figured women and women who have large chests have been desperate for the pain relief that comes from using a sleep bra.

“Set the girls free!” – every woman not suffering from chest pain.

If you’re looking for pain relief caused by large breasts, a sleep bra could really help. Sleep bras are great for back pain and, contrary to popular belief, are not dangerous. 

Starting at Square One Is Key

Guest author Hannah Danto-Dorafsha created a post for kindredbravely.com that describes the differences perfectly. 

“Sleep bras are perfect for wearing overnight or around the house. Designed for comfort and light support, they’ll keep your breasts (and nursing pads) where they need to be, but they aren’t meant for higher-impact activities.”

“Everyday bras provide added support for daytime wear with cups that create a smooth profile under clothes. The more structured cups give additional lift and can also be worn with nursing pads.” 

Steps to check your proper bra size

  1. Firstly, wear a bra that you find comfortable. If you’re going to measure yourself it’s best to start with something that fits well. If you’ve been dealing with bra boob spillage you should check out our article to fix that.
  2. Measure your band. Place your measuring tape right along the bottom of your bra. Make sure to measure as straight as you can. Don’t fret though as some leeway is perfectly fine. This is the number that you see before the letter when bra shopping. If you measure 40 inches this is the number, you should look for. If the circumference around your breasts is 7 inches larger than your rib cage, that would mean you’re a 40F. (little cheat sheet below)
  3. Measure your bust. Place the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust. Also, check out our article about bra cup size.
  4. Subtract the band size from your bust size. This is how you determine your cup size. It might be a little odd using two numbers in a math problem to come up with a letter… It works though.
  5. The number you get from our little math problem will determine your cup size. Here’s a table to help.

Bra (cup) Sizing Chart

1”A
2”B
3”C
4”D
5”DD
6”DDD
7”F
8”G
9”H
10”I
  1. After you find the proper cup, you should start to think about what exactly you want to target. Do you have back pain or breast pain? Both of those questions have their own solutions. If your back hurts, you’ll want to bring your breasts closer and higher to alleviate the pain and pressure being put on your back. If your breasts get sore, you should try a bra that brings your breasts closer to you so there’s more control in their movement. Setting them free may be pleasant for some, but not all.
  2. Think about the kind of fabric you find most comfortable as well. This isn’t meant to overwhelm you, but to help you find the perfect bra.

Fun Fact: In an article written by healthline.com: “80% of women are still wearing ill-fitted bras.” 

Let’s Get Educated. Together. 

You might be wondering why this started with learning what a lot of us may “know.” Unfortunately, there are women out there who may think they’re wearing the right bra but are having issues that they may think are normal (I’ve don’t it, more than once). Some of those problems can be fixed by a properly sized bra, but more times than not, there’s more than one issue. There are a lot of full-figured women out there and it’s about time that we educate ourselves on what their problems are being caused by.

Should we be so surprised by the lack of education on this topic?

The first bra ever was made in 1914. Believe it or not, it doesn’t look like bras have changed a ton. Of course, we have more options now; pushup bras, t-shirt bras, bralettes, etc. Which we should be thankful for (still room for improvement nonetheless though). Now, don’t think women before 1914 did their best to support their chests. Before what we know today as bras were created, women would wrap fabric around their chests. I’m picturing an ace wrap myself. Women have been working hard to find comfortable support for longer than we’d care to imagine.

It’s about time some attention was brought to this topic. Some stores don’t even offer plus size clothes. Capping off at an XL (or smaller, seriously) is not a good idea, in my humble opinion. We live in an era of awareness. Which gives this topic a shot, but we need to work to get it there. Maybe give your favorite full-figured lady store a good review on google. Encourage other plus sized friends and large breasted women to do the same.

What makes finding the perfect bra difficult?

Along with other fashion apparel in the plus sized community, bras are not sized in a one size fits all type of way. Full figured women don’t all have large breasts. Some can have a 44-inch rib cage and measure as a C or smaller! Finding bras are hard for everyone, so don’t think your feelings are being demoted. Have we ever heard a woman jump for joy at the prospect of throwing away their favorite bra because it has 9 toes in the grave?

Another thing to consider when finding the perfect bra: as the band size goes up, so does the cup. If you have a large rib cage but may not be as well endowed as your plus sized counterparts, try a couple bras that may be a cup size down. Or even two, as I myself require.

Every woman is made different. Don’t think that because your bra size may not be the most popular at the store means it doesn’t exist. We’re very fortunate (in a lot of ways) to live in this day in age. Google and Amazon are a click away and you can search just about anything and find an answer. If you have a “weird” bra size, type it in a search engine. It’s how I found my size. You can check out sleep bras at Target‘s or Amazon‘s website.

Support and Comfort for Full-Figured Large Breasted Women? 

Full-figured women everywhere struggle with a plethora of things revolved around clothing and fashion. Some women are dealing with scars & indentations from their bra. While most women see the release of their bras clasps as the best thing that happened to them in the last 24 hours, many women with large breasts do not feel the same. Support is needed, literally. How can that be done comfortably? We usually want to be at our most comfortable while we’re sleeping. How can we combine bras and comfort? Not just comfortable but sleep comfortable. Even beyond following the guide above, there is more that can be done.

Some more things to ponder include:

  1. What kind of straps do you find comfortable?

While some women find thin straps comfortable, women with large breasts get those lovely digging indentations in their shoulders, across their backs and even under their breasts.

  1. Do you sweat when you sleep or are you the cover stealer type?

Some of us need three blankets to sleep. Some could go without the sheet (even though most of us don’t know how to handle life without some sort of cover). If you run either way you can choose a fabric that helps. You either need it to breathe like spandex or you may want something a little thicker in order to keep you warm.

  1. Don’t think you need an underwire?

It’s been proven that wearing a bra to sleep does not prevent sagging. Trying to sleep with an underwire can not only be the most uncomfortable thing in the world, but it could be dangerous. I don’t know if everyone has had a wire poke out and get you, but it’s not fun. In very rare circumstances, it’s could be dangerous. Try to think of the most comfortable sports bra you own and try to find one that’s similar. It gives you a better chance of being comfortable enough to sleep in it. 

Questions for Days…

We’ve vaguely touched on most of the areas that we need to. It’s time to dig deeper though. Learning more about a topic helps us see things that we can’t find in the title of an article. It helps us see the real issues and solutions. A simple Pros and Cons list does not suffice here. Sleeping in a bra may be a big change for someone and that warrants some more detailed research. If you’ve got questions, you’re not alone! Here are some great details on the most asked questions when it comes to sleep bras.

  1. Is it safe?

According to Holly Pederson, M.D., Director of medical breast services at the Cleveland Clinic says,

“There’s just no evidence that any type of bra, or a tight-fitting bra, is harmful in any way.” 

There are many myths out there about the dangers of sleeping with or without a bra.

  1. Is it comfortable?

Bras of all sizes are capable of being comfortable, if we know what to look for. We talked about finding the right size and choosing the right material. Let’s break it down further, shall we? Comfort goes beyond size. What the bras are made of matters just as much. Most comfortable bras are made of nylon, spandex, and polyester. This is because these materials wick away moisture much better than cotton. Just remember to find the right bra for you. It may take time, but with a good description in a google search, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

  1. How is this going to help me?

I don’t mean to, as some say, poop on your party, but many women think that sleeping with a bra on will help reduce sagging. Unfortunately, as we age, our skin and muscles lose a lot of their elasticity. There’s no way to stop that. If you want to sleep in a bra to try and prevent sagging, go for it, just don’t get your hopes up. Again, not trying to be a bummer.

Women who are in pain due to their inability to sleep need some help. We must know that when a woman is willing to sleep in a bra, that something could be going on. Pain is the most common reason for women to wear bras to sleep. Trying a sleep bra is the best first option. Of course, not everyone will be cured of course. Some women may need major action in order to counteract the side effects of their large breasts.

Will a Properly Fitted, Comfortable Bra Help?

There are ways to find comfortable bras. If we can find comfortable leggings and jammies, we can find a great bra. Sometimes we need some ideas. It’s as if we’re born not knowing everything there is to know. When we don’t have answers, we should ask questions. In an article on cosmopolitan.com, written by Danielle Flum, qualities of a bra make the biggest difference. She states thing such as:

  • Wearing a soft bra with thicker straps helps keep your girls in place.
  • A silky-smooth style will make you forget that you’re even wearing a bra.
  • A bra with convertible straps and removable pads gives you the ability to customize the perfect feel for you.
  • Finding a bra with stretchy fabric (which is plus size friendly for sure) and a ribbed type of texture can be the most comfortable.
  • If you’re in need of just a light hold, try something like a bralette (what a genius idea).
  • Go tag less. Do yourself a favor and implement this immediately. Bras are enough. Itching doesn’t need to be a thing.

These aren’t all the points the writer covers. All women are going to suffer from different things, unfortunately. They’re going to need different solutions. They’ll need ideas and creativity as well. A lot of us are completely uneducated on the problems large breasts can cause our plus size community.

Leading Lady, a well-known bra company in the plus-size/large breasted community, states many good points about the different problems full-figured women can face when it comes to their breasts. Things like; upper body pain, skin irritation, respiratory problems, and difficulty exercising are some of the problems faced. As a great company would, they listed different things women can do to alleviate the pain. Things like:

  • Wearing a properly fitted bra
  • Looking for comfortable features in your bras
  • Wear full figure sports bras for physical activity
  • Make sure you’re exercising, your body needs the strength
  • And to always sleep in a bra.

Here’s a quote on exactly what the writer of this article thinks about sleeping in bras for full-figured large breasted women, “It is vital for full figure women to wear sleep bras at night. This will ensure your breasts are supported while you sleep and don’t uncomfortably fall to the sides. Sleep bras feature front closures that won’t dig into your back at night. Also, side-sleeping is often a better choice for women with large breasts.” (written by: Erinstieglitz on leadinglady.com)

“Educating yourself does not mean that you were stupid in the first place; it means that you are intelligent enough to know that there is plenty left to learn.” – Melanie Joy

We will never stop learning or educating ourselves. It’s how the world goes around. We learn more and more about the human anatomy every year. Someday, there could be a simple fix for our plus size community. Large breasted women are in pain every day and they deserve the help in raising awareness. We have to be aware ourselves in order to achieve that. This may have felt like a lot of information. Hopefully not an information overload though. If this article could be broken down, these are the points we should takeaway.

  1. We need to advocate for fairness among the fashion community.
  2. A properly fitting bra is worth more than gold.
  3. Sleeping in a bra could help so many people.
  4. Sleeping in a bra is not for everyone, but it can’t hurt to try.
  5. Some discomfort could be fixed simply with the right information.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you. You may be down for the idea of sleeping in a bra in order to alleviate your pain. Others may think that’s the worst idea ever and it should go away immediately. Don’t blame you there! We learn new things every day though. What’s up today is down tomorrow. The best thing you can do is your research and think about what you’re comfortable with. Relief is out there and you’re far from alone. Be sure to check out our bra top picks, too.


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