How should you Sleep with Bruised Ribs

by Sehrish Vulvox ABC

Bruised ribs are a painful condition that can be caused by a variety of factors such as sports injuries, falls, or even a cough that causes the muscles around the ribs to strain. If you have bruised ribs, you may find it difficult to sleep comfortably, as lying down can exacerbate the pain.

Understanding Bruised Ribs

Before we dive into how to sleep with bruised ribs, it’s essential to understand what bruised ribs are and how they can affect your sleep. Bruised ribs occur when the muscles or cartilage surrounding the ribs are injured, leading to inflammation and pain. Sleeping with bruised ribs can be challenging since any movement or pressure on the affected area can cause discomfort.

Tips for Sleeping with Bruised Ribs

Here are some tips and tricks to help you sleep better with bruised ribs:

•           Use Pillows for Support

One of the easiest ways to alleviate the discomfort caused by bruised ribs is by using pillows for support. Prop pillows behind your back, under your arms, and between your legs to keep your body in a comfortable position. This will help reduce pressure on the affected area, allowing you to sleep better.

•           Try Sleeping on Your Back

Sleeping on your back is another effective way to reduce pressure on your bruised ribs. This position keeps your body in a neutral position, minimizing the chances of any additional pressure or discomfort. Use pillows to prop up your head and knees for added comfort.

•           Avoid Sleeping on Your Side or Stomach

Sleeping on your side or stomach can exacerbate the pain caused by bruised ribs, so it’s best to avoid these positions. If you find it challenging to sleep on your back, try sleeping in a reclined position or using a wedge pillow to elevate your upper body.

•           Use Heat or Cold Therapy

Heat or cold therapy can be an effective way to alleviate pain and discomfort caused by bruised ribs. Apply a heating pad or ice pack to the affected area before bed to help reduce inflammation and numb the pain. Make sure to follow the recommended usage guidelines for each therapy.

•           Take Pain Medication

If the pain caused by bruised ribs is keeping you up at night, consider taking over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Always consult with your doctor before taking any medication and follow the recommended dosage instructions.

•           Practice Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises can help you relax and alleviate the pain caused by bruised ribs. Lie on your back, place one hand on your chest, and the other on your stomach. Breathe in slowly through your nose, filling your stomach with air, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Bruised ribs can be a painful and uncomfortable condition, but with these tips and tricks, you can sleep better and minimize the discomfort caused by this condition.

It’s also essential to avoid sleeping on your side or stomach since these positions can exacerbate the pain caused by bruised ribs. Instead, try sleeping in a reclined position or using a wedge pillow to elevate your upper body. Using heat or cold therapy can also be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation. Make sure to follow the recommended usage guidelines for each therapy.

Use Relaxation Techniques

When dealing with pain from bruised ribs, it can be challenging to fall asleep due to discomfort and anxiety. Practicing relaxation techniques can help you calm your mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep. Here are some relaxation techniques you can try:

  • Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a simple relaxation technique that you can do anywhere, including in bed. Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for several minutes, focusing on your breath and letting go of any tension in your body.

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and then releasing each muscle group in your body, one at a time. Start with your toes, tensing them for a few seconds before relaxing them. Move up to your feet, ankles, calves, and so on, until you have worked your way up to your shoulders and neck. This technique can help release tension in your body, reducing pain and promoting relaxation.

  • Guided Imagery

Guided imagery involves imagining a calming scene or situation in your mind. You can use a recording or guide yourself through the process. Imagine yourself in a peaceful location, such as a beach or forest, and focus on the sights, sounds, and sensations of that place. This technique can help distract your mind from pain and promote relaxation.

  • Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing your attention on the present moment, without judgment or distraction. You can do this by sitting or lying down comfortably and focusing on your breath, body sensations, or other sensory experiences. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath or chosen focus. This technique can help reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality.


Bruised ribs can be painful and make sleeping uncomfortable. By following these tips and tricks, you can alleviate discomfort and promote healing. Remember to seek medical attention if you suspect that you have bruised ribs and to follow your doctor’s instructions for treatment and pain management.

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