Ask The Binding Coach

Answers to your questions about healthy chest binding and trans health from Frances Reed, author of Healthy Chest Binding for Trans & Non-Binary People.

Why can’t I sleep in my binder?

Ask The Binding Coach: Why can't I sleep in my binder?

Q: I wear my binder to sleep because I can’t stand the feeling of clothes on my naked chest at night. I know you’re not supposed to but what can I do?

A: It is true that sleeping in a binder is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. 

I understand how terrible dysphoria can be and making the choice to prioritize your physical health sometimes comes at a cost to your mental health. Binding at night should only be done when removing your binder will endanger your safety. This could be nights sleeping around people who do not know you are trans or nights when you are feeling suicidal. In these cases, making it through the night safely is the higher priority. If you are in a mental health then seek help right away from a trusted person in your life or reach out to by phone, text, or chat.

The reason that binding at night is a problem is that when you sleep your body is repairing the wear and tear on all the vital systems in your body. To do this, the body needs a lot of oxygen and so our bodies switch to breathing very deeply in our sleep. Binding limits the air intake and makes this natural cycle of repair less effective which can have a lasting impact on your overall health. 

As I’m sure you’ve experienced, binding at night can also cause increased soreness in the muscles and joints of your upper body. The cumulative impact of sustained compression can cause soreness to develop into chronic pain that may continue even after you stop binding. If you spend a night in your binder, you will want to stretch and practice deep breathing exercises to relieve tension in your body. 

I recommend getting an athletic compression shirt to sleep in because it will hold the tissue tight enough to prevent a lot of movement and will give you a secure barrier between your clothing and your chest tissue. Here are a couple of good options: Option 1 and Option 2

Another solution is to bind with kinetic tape which does not use compression to flatten tissue so does not hinder respiration. The tape secures chest tissue against the chest and can relieve nighttime chest dysphoria. Since it can be worn for 3 to 4 days, it is an excellent option for managing persistent dysphoria. It is the only binding method that is safe for 24 hours at a time.

To find companies that offer kinetic tape binding, visit our Binder Finder.

Find the right binder

Research which companies might be best for your child’s level of development with our Binder Finder tool which catalogs 52 characteristics of binders and reputable companies that sell each style.

Headshot of Frances Reed, a white, non-binary person with a bright purple and blue mohawk. They are wearing glasses and a patterned blue and white shirt and smiling into the camera.

Frances Reed, The Binding Coach

About The Binding Coach

I’m Frances Reed (they/them). I’m the author of Healthy Chest Binding for Trans & Non-Binary People: A Practical Guide, and the creator of

I’ve been a licensed massage therapist since 2011, and I support people at all stages of gender transition. I’m here to answer your questions about binding, no matter how big, small, silly, or serious.

Frequent topics include healthy chest binding, finding or wearing a chest binder, self-massage for people who bind, self-care for trans folks, or other topics on trans health.

More Healthy Binding Resources

Buy The Book

Buy The Book

The book Healthy Chest Binding for Trans and Non-Binary People: A Practical Guide contains best practices for binding and 23 exercises that you can do on your own to reduce and prevent pain.

Binder Finder Tool

Find The Perfect Binder

Our Binder Finder search tool helps trans and non-binary people discover the ideal chest binder to fit their unique body and budget. Explore diverse styles, prioritize safety, and express your authentic self with this essential search tool.

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