If you’ve broken an arm or leg, you’ll have to learn to navigate life with a cast for several weeks. One common question our orthopedic surgeons get from our patients while wearing a cast is how to sleep with it.
The added bulk and weight of it can make it challenging to get comfortable at night. Extra aches and pains associated with the broken bone (or fracture) are also more prevalent at night when lying still. Patients may have the added worry of knocking into their partner in bed with the cast and interrupting their sleep as well.
It’s important to make rest and sleeping a priority for your healing. The more rested and relaxed your body is, the better job it will do in repairing itself.
How can I sleep comfortably with a broken arm or broken leg?
- Arrange for partners and/or pets to sleep in a different space for your first few nights with the cast until you are used to it.
- Eliminate any disturbances that can add to the stress of falling asleep—like lights, excess sound, and even electronics.
- Try not to eat too much right before bed so that your stomach is already settled when you try to sleep.
- Lying on your back, elevate the cast on several pillows so that the broken bone is raised above your heart.
- Stabilize yourself with other pillows set up around you to prevent tossing and turning.
Do I really need to elevate my cast when sleeping?
Yes. This is probably the most important thing to remember when sleeping with a cast, no matter what bone you’ve broken. Keeping the injured bone elevated above the heart prevents blood from pooling around the break which can cause painful swelling.
For questions about fracture care or sleeping with your cast, don’t hesitate to call us. Or, if you need to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified orthopedic specialists, please contact us online anytime.
(Adapted from The Daily Doze)