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Monday, July 24, 2017

Sleeping Comfortably with Broken Bones

Ouch! You broke your arm or leg, or you have a serious fracture, and now you’re bound up by a cast, sling, splint or all of the above. Comfort can be evasive when movement is restricted like this, especially when you’re trying to catch some ZZZ’s.
Situating yourself comfortably to fall asleep can be a challenge. To add to it, you’ll typically get specific instructions from your doctor on keeping your injury elevated or in certain positions.
Here’s how to make the best of it at bedtime with a broken bone:
  1. Take your pain medication as directed, and allow sufficient time for it to take effect just before you are ready for sleep.
  2. Invest in a specialized pillow, like a body pillow, for elevation—keeping the broken bone above your heart prevents blood from pooling and causing swelling.
  3. Try sleeping on your back first while propped up on a few pillows. If that doesn’t work, slowly adjust yourself to a side position if possible.
  4. Sleep in the middle of the bed to prevent any chance of falling off in the middle of the night.
  5. Leave a dim light on somewhere in or just outside your bedroom to help find your way if you need to get up.
  6. A heavy cast and sling can create extra body heat, so dress in light layers of cool, loose-fitting sleepwear.
  7.  Encourage children, small pets, and even your partner to sleep in another room at least for the first few nights you are home with an injury until you figure out to how best achieve your own comfort in bed—and to prevent causing possible harm by accidentally knocking into them with your hard cast while they sleep.
  8. If your bed does not prove to be comfy, try relocating to a sofa, chaise lounge, or reclining chair in another room.
Finally, remember that rest is a key component for healing and recovery. If you can’t sleep for long stretches at night, make sure to get in a few naps throughout the day where you are off your feet and in an elevated position.
If you have concerns about sleeping with your cast or other stabilizing medical gear, please contact us. Our Urgent Injury Clinic is here to help as well with same day and after-hour appointments!

(Adapted from Sleep Sugar)

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