Wearing a bra to bed is a simple act that’s surrounded by huge myths. Women have used bras for centuries to lift and separate, provide support, or just make everything stay put. But wear one to bed, and suddenly rumors fly that the bust-boosting garment increases your risk of breast cancer and even flattens your chest. Here, we debunk four common myths about wearing a bra to bed so you can rest easy (and stay perky!).
Wearing a Bra to Bed Claim #1: It Causes Breast Cancer
This myth goes back to 1995, when a husband and wife team of medical anthropologists claimed wearing tight bras restricts lymph nodes around the breasts, thereby trapping toxins that cause cancer in the body.
The Truth: Not so, says Deborah Axelrod M.D. a breast surgeon and associate professor at the NYU Langone Medical Center. “Underwire bras do not cause or increase your risk of breast cancer.” This rumor started in 1995 with a book calledDressed to Kill, in which the authors claimed that women who wore tight-fitting bras every day (particularly underwire) had a much higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who went au natural. The authors said that by constricting the lymphatic system—which eliminates toxins from your body—bras trap toxins in the breast tissue and cause breast cancer. The problem: There’s no scientific evidence to support this theory, Axelrod says.
Wearing a Bra to Bed Claim #2: It Keeps Your Boobs Perky
A couple years ago, Halle Berry revealed in an interview that she’d been sleeping in a bra since age 16. And although Berry boasts an enviable decolletage, it has nothing to do with her bra habits.
The Truth: Unfortunately, there’s no real proof that your breasts look better if you wear a bra at night, Axelrod says. The real secret for a perky chest is wearing the right size bra. “Many women wear bras that do not give them enough support, and that contributes to discomfort.” Every woman should get a professional bra fitting once a year. Most department stores offer free bra fittings or you can schedule a free bra fit makeover at a specialty store like Intimacy.
Wearing a Bra to Bed Claim #3: It Flattens Your Chest
The Truth: This is a popular myth among teenage girls, but there’s really no truth to it. “You’d have to be wearing a corset that doesn’t let you breathe for that to happen!” Axelrod says. “Unless it’s for a specific reason, like to decrease discomfort post-surgery, I generally don’t advice women to wear a bra to bed.”
Wearing a Bra to Bed Claim #4: It Causes Saggy Boobs
You may have also heard that wearing a bra makes your boobs loose their oomph. In fact, French researchers published a study in 2013 that claimed brassieres might cause women’s breasts to sag more over time because they prevent supportive muscle tissue from forming. But Guth points out your breasts don’t actually contain muscle, just skin, fat, and ligaments.
The truth:“It’s not like your abs or upper arms that you can improve with working out,” she said. “Wearing a bra or not wearing a bra doesn’t change the fact that these are all physiological changes that happen to your breasts over time. Pregnancy, breast feeding, ageing-that all contributes to saggy boobs,” Axelrod says. “Bras do not.” The idea that wearing a bra for longer than eight to 12 hours per day will weaken breast tissue so much that they’ll begin to sag simply isn’t true. “Bras are our friends, not our enemies,” Axelrod says. Her advice: “Don’t burn your bras, ladies—wear them as long as you like!”
Bra Myth #5: You shouldn’t wash your bra too frequently
Think about it: would you sport the same pair of undies multiple times without washing them? Yeah, we didn’t think so. The same rules apply for bras, according to Jené Luciana, author of “The Bra Book.”
“The fabric breaks down when it’s constantly rubbing against the dirt and oils from our skin,” she said. “So to prolong your bra’s life, you really want to make sure you wash it after every wear.”We know what you’re thinking: Who the heck has time to wash bras that often?! To save you some time (and sanity), Luciana recommends having a few in
We know what you’re thinking: Who the heck has time to wash bras that often?! To save you some time (and sanity), Luciana recommends having a few in rotation.
“Even if it means buying three of the same bra you love,” she said. “They’ll last you longer and you won’t be wearing the same bra every day.”
Bra Myth #6: Do NOT put your bra in the washing machine
This myth does hold a bit of truth. Luciana explains that bras wear out faster when tossed in the washer; straps and hooks can get caught on other items in the drum, or on the center agitator.
“It’s recommended to hand wash your bra in cold water with a gentle detergent or baby shampoo,” she said.
But as long as you accept that you’ll have to replace your lingerie more frequently, there’s nothing wrong with washing your bras in the machine.
“I’m a realist, and a busy mom, so who the heck has time for that?” Luciana admitted.
Instead, she advises using a cool water cycle, a gentle detergent (look for “free and clear” on the label), and placing your bras in a mesh garment bag.
Special thanks to; Annabelle Cottee