How to Sleep with Broken Rib

by Sehrish Vulvox ABC

If you’ve ever experienced a broken rib, you know that the pain can be excruciating. Even the simplest tasks like sleeping can become a challenge. In this article, we’ll explore some tips and tricks on how to sleep with a broken rib. We’ll cover everything from proper sleeping positions to pain management techniques, so you can get a good night’s rest and heal faster.

What Causes a Broken Rib?

Before we dive into tips on how to sleep with a broken rib, it’s important to understand what causes this injury. Broken ribs are usually caused by blunt force trauma to the chest, such as a fall, a car accident, or a sports injury. The pain can be severe and can last for weeks or even months.

The Importance of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial for the body to heal. Sleep is the time when the body repairs and regenerates itself. However, when you have a broken rib, getting a good night’s rest can be challenging. The pain can keep you up at night, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Tips for Sleeping with a Broken Rib

Here are some tips and tricks to help you sleep better with a broken rib:

  • Find the Right Sleeping Position

Finding the right sleeping position is key when you have a broken rib. Sleeping on your back or on the side of the injury can put pressure on the rib and make the pain worse. The best position is to sleep on the opposite side of the injury or on your stomach with a pillow under your chest for support.

  • Use Pillows for Support

Using pillows for support can help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with a broken rib. Place a pillow under your injured side to provide support and relieve pressure. You can also use a body pillow to keep your body in a comfortable position.

  • Take Pain Medication

Taking pain medication can help you manage the pain associated with a broken rib. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be effective. However, if your pain is severe, your doctor may prescribe stronger medication.

  • Use Ice or Heat

Applying ice or heat to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ice can help numb the pain and reduce swelling, while heat can help increase blood flow to the injured area. Use a cold pack or a warm compress for 20 minutes at a time.

  • Practice Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises can help improve lung function and reduce pain. Take slow, deep breaths and exhale slowly. This can help prevent pneumonia and other respiratory complications that can occur when you have a broken rib.

  • Avoid Certain Activities

Avoiding certain activities can help prevent further injury and reduce pain. Avoid any activities that require twisting, bending, or lifting heavy objects. Rest and give your body time to heal.

Tips for Getting Comfortable in Bed with a Broken Rib

Broken ribs can cause severe pain and discomfort, especially when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. In this section, we’ll discuss some tips for getting comfortable in bed with a broken rib.

  • Use Pillows for Support: Pillows can help support your broken rib and keep you comfortable while you sleep. Place pillows under your arm, between your ribs, or on your side to help reduce pressure and pain.
  • Elevate Your Upper Body: Elevating your upper body can help ease pain and discomfort when sleeping with a broken rib. Use extra pillows or an adjustable bed to elevate your upper body at a comfortable angle.
  • Wear a Chest Support: Wearing a chest support or brace can help stabilize your broken rib and reduce pain while you sleep. Ask your doctor for recommendations on the best type of support for your injury.
  • Use Ice or Heat Therapy: Applying ice or heat therapy to your broken rib before bed can help reduce pain and inflammation, making it easier to fall asleep. Use a cold pack or warm compress for 15-20 minutes before bed.
  • Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach: Sleeping on your stomach can put pressure on your broken rib, making it harder to breathe and causing more pain. Try sleeping on your back or side instead.
  • Take Pain Medication as Prescribed: If your doctor has prescribed pain medication, make sure to take it as directed. This can help reduce pain and discomfort while you sleep.
  • Practice Deep Breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help relax your body and reduce tension, making it easier to fall asleep. Take slow, deep breaths and focus on relaxing your muscles.


A broken rib can be a painful and uncomfortable injury. However, with the right sleeping position, pillows for support, pain medication, ice or heat therapy, deep breathing exercises, and avoiding certain activities, you can sleep better and heal faster. Remember to always consult your doctor for proper treatment and follow their recommendations.

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