Best Way to Sleep with Broken Ribs

4 min read

Perhaps, one of the most painful things is sleeping with broken ribs since you cannot lie down in a normal position. There are simple solutions you can do to reduce discomfort, such as adjusting to a more comfortable position in bed. So, what is the best way to sleep with broken ribs? This quick guide will help you find the perfect position when sleeping with broken ribs.

Is Bed Rest Good for Broken Ribs?

Is Bed Rest Good for Broken Ribs​

The ribcage has a dozen pair of ribs which protects your lungs and heart and supports your upper body muscles. Just a broken rib can hugely affect your daily movements. Imagine having the injury on the side you usually sleep on, and the pain will inevitably interrupt a good sleep while making you feel sluggish.

For any injury, it’s always better to get a restful sleep to help your broken bone or sore muscles heal and recover. To get better sleep, you can use a recliner so that you won’t be putting pressure on your injury while sleeping. If you want to keep yourself in one position or avoid moving around in your bed, put some pillows around you so you will remain still throughout the night.

The following are some benefits of bed rest when you’re injured:

Realigns energy consumption.

While your body is repairing itself when you’re sleeping, it uses the energy you haven’t burned during the day. At the same time, it refuels your body in preparation for the following day.

Detoxifies the body.

The liver works best between one and three in the morning.

Regenerates bone tissues and muscles.

Sleep is essential in repairing bone tissues and muscles. During sleep, your corticosteroids and adrenaline hormones usually decrease. On the other hand, your body produces human growth hormone, a protein that repairs bones and muscles hence, promoting growth.

Fights off infections.

The immune system is working harder when you’re asleep. Your body releases tumor necrosis factor through the blood, which helps fight cancer cells and other microorganisms that cause infection.

Balances hormones.

The body balances hormone production during sleep, which improves mood and energy upon waking up. It is the reason why you feel refreshed the next day.

Boosts the production of skin cells

A night of good sleep increases the metabolic rate of the skin, producing more cells to regenerate damaged tissues. However, sleep deprivation can make the healing process more slowly.

Experts say that sleep is like a superpower, it can repair broken, torn, and damaged parts in the body. Combined with an excellent mattress and correct sleep position, you can surely speed up your recovery from an injury.

How Do You Sleep with Broken Ribs

More often than not, a broken rib can be left alone to heal due to their location. Whether you’re exhibiting symptoms like painful breathing and chest pain, it’s essential to seek medical help to avoid further complications. Now, why does my broken rib hurt more at night?

Most injuries are more painful at night because of certain sleep positions that trigger pain and discomfort. Other triggers include sneezing, coughing, laughing, and inhaling deeply. Therefore, learning the best way to sleep with broken ribs can ease the pain and make a recovery faster. The following are some of the most useful tips when sleeping with a broken rib:

Again, you can either use no pillow or just one pillow under your head when sleeping with injured ribs. Sleep on your back and put one pillow under your knees to make sure you are comfortable throughout the night.

Is a Heating Pad Good for Broken Ribs

The most effective way to use a heating pad for broken ribs is when the swelling has subsided. Set it on a warm cloth placed on the chest area to make sure the heating pad is not too hot for your skin. Experts recommend to always use thin cloth between your skin and the heating pad.


However, it’s essential to consult your doctor before applying any home remedies to your injury. Using heat should depend on the healing stage of your rib and the condition of the soft tissues surrounding it. In most cases, heating pads help reduce rib fracture while relaxing the contracted muscles. As a result, rib pain is significantly reduced through the proper use of heat.

How to lay down with bruised ribs

If you have bruised ribs, it is important to protect them as they heal. To lay down, try sleeping on your back with a pillow under your shoulders to elevate your chest and reduce pressure on the ribs.

You can also try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs to support your upper body and reduce pressure on the ribs.

Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this can put pressure on the ribs. It may also help to avoid any activity that causes pain or discomfort. If you experience severe pain or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.


In recent years, broken rib treatments have changed. Today, doctors only recommend leaving the fracture to heal on its own, unlike before, where they wrap the torso to protect the rib from movements that can trigger pain. Typically, treatments depend on the pain level of the patient. Pain killers and other medications can be given to facilitate sleep while recovering from broken ribs. Ultimately, you need to find the best sleep position to make sure you don’t aggravate your injury.


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