Background: The aim of this study was to examine subjective sleep quality before and after laparoscopic vs open abdominal surgery. Methods: Twelve patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy and 15 patients undergoing laparotomy were evaluated with the aid of a sleep questionnaire from 4 days before until 4 weeks after surgery. Results: Following laparoscopic surgery, total sleep time increased during the 1st week after the operation compared with preoperative values (p = 0.02), whereas sleep duration during weeks 2, 3, and 4 did not differ from the times reported preoperatively. Following laparotomy, sleep duration increased during the 1st, 3rd, and 4th weeks after the operation compared with preoperative values (p < 0.05). All patients experienced postoperative circadian sleep disturbance, with significantly more sleep during the daytime compared with preoperative values; the disturbance was present 1 week after laparoscopy and 4 weeks after laparotomy. Conclusions: After laparotomy, total sleep time increased and there was a change in diurnal sleep distribution. These sleep alterations were less pronounced after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Thus, sleep architecture was disturbed for ≤4 weeks after major abdominal surgery but for only 1 week after laparoscopic cholecystectomy.