From the spinal column to the sternum, the ribs in the chest serve as protective armor. The delicate organs like the heart and lungs are what they are primarily there to protect. You may have trouble sleeping in your typical position if you have multiple broken ribs.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about broken ribs, including the best sleeping positions for people who have bruised ribs.

What Ribs Are and Their Functions

The thoracic cavity is made up of twelve pairs of curved ribs that articulate with the sternum and thoracic vertebrae via cartilage. The ribs work together to create the structure known as the rib cage.

The lungs and other delicate thoracic organs can be shielded by the rib cage’s shape. In order to make space for lung expansion, they also ventilate the chest through expansion. Let’s examine the reasons why ribs fracture as well as methods for sleeping while suffering from broken ribs and rib pain.

Common Causes of Broken Ribs

Impacts against your rib(s) are the most frequent cause of broken ribs and can occur during contact sports like contact football, car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and physical abuse. Ribs can sometimes break as a result of repetitive trauma, such as repetitive movements in sports like golf, or even from violent coughing. Additionally, osteoporosis or even cancerous lesions can weaken the rib bones, which can result in broken ribs.

How Broken Ribs Can Affect Sleep Quality

It’s likely that you experience ongoing pain if you have to sleep with broken ribs. Furthermore, pain is not a friend of sound sleep.

Pain can, in fact, have a variety of effects on sleep. According to studies, people who are in pain have a harder time falling asleep, frequently have fragmented sleep, and get less overall rest.

Even for healthy people who are not injured, sleep deprivation can be very dangerous. Poor sleep, for instance, is frequently associated with hypertension, a weakened immune system, cognitive decline, elevated anxiety, and more.

Lack of sleep can, however, be even crueler when it comes to broken ribs. However, studies show that lack of sleep can make one more sensitive to pain. Because of this, people who have broken ribs may begin to feel worse if they don’t get enough sleep.

Tips on How to Sleep With Broken Ribs

When you know the best tricks for sleeping comfortably despite your injury, you will soon be able to get some rest even if sleeping with broken ribs is challenging for you.

Try Sleeping on a Recliner

For some, sleeping in a recliner is much more convenient and comfortable than attempting to do so in a bed. This might be because you experience less pain and discomfort while you sleep when you’re lying in a reclined position because your ribs aren’t under as much pressure.

Use Pillows to Keep Yourself Still

Use pillows on your bed or recliner to keep yourself more still during the night because rolling around while you sleep is likely to make your rib injury worse. To prevent rolling over, put pillows under each of your arms. To ease back stress or pain, place at least a couple of pillows underneath each of your knees.

Use Pain Relievers a Short While Before You Go to Bed

Take some painkillers just before going to bed, whether you’re taking prescription or over-the-counter medicine, to give the medicine time to kick in before you get into bed. Only medications that can be taken before bed should be taken, please.

Apply Cold Therapy before Going to Bed

Similar to step three, you should try to reduce the amount of discomfort you are currently experiencing before going to bed. Applying cold therapy to the affected rib region is one way to achieve this. This ought to numb the discomfort in the tender spot, which might make it possible for you to sleep because the pain might be sufficiently reduced.

Try Sleeping on Your Side Or Your Back

When you have a rib injury, sleeping on your side or back is the most comfortable position. Although it may seem counterintuitive, try sleeping on your injured side first; some people discover that doing so lessens pain by keeping the injured ribs still. But if it hurts, move to the other side.

Final Thoughts

Although sleeping with broken ribs is difficult, these suggestions should help. To find out what works for you, experimentation is key. We would be interested in hearing from you if you have experience with this. What made it worse? What made it better? Whatever it is, please get in touch with us. Simply comment below!


How long does it take for broken ribs to stop hurting?

Rib fractures usually heal over a period of weeks.

Why do broken ribs hurt more during the night?

Because we can’t control our movements while we sleep, injured ribs may hurt more at night. As a result, it is simple to exert pressure and harm the injured ribs. Furthermore, when we move around more and become busy with our daily tasks, it is simpler to become distracted from the pain during the day. When we are lying down, however, nothing can take our attention away from the pain, making it more obvious.

Is a heating pad good for broken ribs?

When treating broken ribs, using an ice pack is preferred. A heating pack may exacerbate the internal inflammatory reaction.