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How to Prepare For a Long Tattoo Session

how to prepare for a long tattoo session

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The most important thing to do before getting a tattoo – especially a large one that will take a while – is to eat a decent meal. If you don’t eat before your tattoo session, you risk passing out during or after getting tattooed. Protein, such as bacon and eggs, are ideal before a tattoo session because it will help keep your blood sugar levels up to prevent fainting.

You should also make sure to get plenty of sleep and hydrate well. Basically, everything your doctor tells you to do daily, you should make sure you get done before a tattoo session. You may also want to stretch shortly before getting in the chair to prevent your muscles from getting sore by staying in the same position for a while.

What Should You Bring to a Long Tattoo Appointment?

For a long tattoo session, you’ll want to make sure you bring snacks. Your artist will likely keep some on hand in case your blood sugar drops and it seems like you may faint, but you should keep your own to prevent emergencies in the first place. You’ll also want to bring a big bottle of water or sports drink so you can stay hydrated. Aside from that, you’ll want to bring something to do to keep your mind off the needle such as a book, phone, or handheld game.

Best Snacks For a Long Tattoo Session

Before your tattoo you should eat protein. During your tattoo you should eat sugar. Sugar will provide a quick boost to your blood sugar and will prevent you from getting light headed. You can suck on hard candies while getting your tattoo, or if you need a larger snack, a piece of easy to eat fruit such as an apple is great. Another great snack is granola bars with honey.

What to Expect After a Long Tattoo Session

It’s completely normal to feel fatigued for days after a long tattoo session. It’s so common, it actually has a name – the tattoo flu! You may feel very tired and it can be hard to get out of bed for several days up to a week after a tattoo. Don’t worry – this is just your body recovering from the trauma of sitting through the extended pain. You will be back to your normal energy levels within a week or so.

What to do Before Getting a Tattoo to Ease the Pain

The best way to prevent pain before getting a tattoo is actually to eat a good meal. While you should be doing this to avoid blood sugar drops anyway, this really does help with a lot of the pain. Avoid alcohol the day before your tattoo as it makes the pain worse. Another healthy way to handle the pain is simply become prepared to distract yourself from the pain – it feels better with a distraction.

If you absolutely must use a product before getting a tattoo, you can take ibuprofen before going in for your appointment. There are also numbing creams that can help, but make sure to ask your artist if they’re okay with it before you use it or they may refuse to give you your tattoo!


Before going in for a long tattoo session, make sure to eat a proper meal of protein, stay well hydrated, and sleep for eight hours. Come prepared with a sugary snack and drink as well as something to keep yourself occupied with. Once your session is over, it’s normal to feel fatigued for several days afterwards.