The Harmful Effects of Sleeping in a Bra

By Verity Jones

A bra is worn to support the breasts, provide modesty and increase the sense of security a women feels. It temporarily affects the shape of the breasts, such as uplifting them to create a cleavage. In the 1930s, a boyish look was fashionable, so bras were worn to flatten the chest. For larger women, it also provides welcome control. However, there has been a strong dialogue about the harmful effects of wearing a bra, especially during sleep.

Restlessness

Wearing a bra can be irritating for some women at the best of times, so sleeping could enhance this feeling. Women who sleep on their back may feel the bra catch press into their skin, causing discomfort. An underwire bra could also dig into the underside of the breast tissue, causing scratching or red grooves. The effect of these problems is waking through the night and continuous discomfort.

Weakened Ligaments

Although support is a primary reason to wear a bar, it can actually be adverse to a woman's health. The breasts do not develop strong ligaments because they do not take the weight of their own load. Therefore, breasts can sag more if a bra is constantly worn. If the bra is worn both day and night, the breasts do not have the opportunity to use the ligaments at all, and this worsens the problem.

Cancer

The book "Dressed to Kill," published in 1995, suggested that a bra inhibits lymphatic drainage, increases breast temperature and levels of prolactin. Consequently, the authors Singer and Grismaijar proposed that this increases the risk of a woman developing cancer. However, Louise Brinton at the National Cancer Institute suggests this is not a viable, scientific explanation because it is does not relate to endogenous hormone levels that are associated with cancer. Therefore, although disputed, some thinkers believe that wearing a bra contributes to cancer, and wearing it all the time would increase this risk.

Excess Sweat

Being sweaty is a side effect of wearing a bra to bed. The extra material and padding stifles the air flow around the skin and consequently can make a woman abnormally hot and sweaty. This can cause itching and discomfort to the wearer. Women who do sleep in a bra should make sure it is made from a breathable fabric like cotton.

Cysts and Lumps

Cysts and lumps are noncancerous lumps of tissue that can develop anywhere on the body. Dr. John McDougall writing in "The McDougall Program for a Healthy Heart" suggests that bra constriction causes inflammation and improper drainage. Therefore, although not harmful, benign lumps can develop. These lumps may increase anxieties levels in a woman, however, and this is harmful.

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