How to Sleep with Hip Bursitis: Tips for a Restful Night

Dealing with hip bursitis can be a painful and frustrating experience. This condition, characterized by inflammation of the bursae in the hip joint, can make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. However, with the right strategies and adjustments, you can improve your sleep quality and reduce discomfort. In this article, we will explore various techniques and tips to help you sleep better with hip bursitis.

Understanding Hip Bursitis

Before we delve into the strategies for sleeping with hip bursitis, let’s first understand what this condition entails. Hip bursitis occurs when the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the hip joint, become inflamed. This inflammation can be caused by repetitive motions, overuse, trauma, or underlying conditions such as arthritis.

The symptoms of hip bursitis typically include pain and tenderness on the outside of the hip, which may worsen with prolonged periods of walking, climbing stairs, or lying on the affected side. While hip bursitis can be managed with various treatments, finding a comfortable sleeping position is crucial for a good night’s rest.

Best Sleeping Positions for Hip Bursitis

When it comes to sleeping with hip bursitis, finding the right position is key. Here are some sleeping positions that can help alleviate discomfort:

1. Sleeping on your back

Sleeping on your back is generally considered the best position for hip bursitis. This position helps distribute your body weight evenly and reduces pressure on the affected hip. To enhance comfort, place a pillow under your knees to maintain a neutral spine alignment.

2. Sleeping on your non-affected side

If sleeping on your back isn’t comfortable for you, try sleeping on your non-affected side. Place a pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned and reduce pressure on the affected hip. This position can help alleviate pain and provide relief during sleep.

3. Using a body pillow

Using a body pillow can provide additional support and help maintain proper alignment while sleeping. Place the body pillow between your legs when sleeping on your side or hug it against your chest when sleeping on your back. This can help reduce strain on the hip joint and promote better sleep.

Creating a Sleep-Friendly Environment

In addition to finding the right sleeping position, creating a sleep-friendly environment can significantly improve your sleep quality. Consider the following tips:

1. Invest in a supportive mattress

A supportive mattress is essential for individuals with hip bursitis. Look for a mattress that provides adequate support and cushioning to relieve pressure on the hips. Memory foam or latex mattresses are often recommended for their ability to contour to your body’s shape and provide targeted support.

2. Choose the right pillow

Using the right pillow can make a world of difference in your sleep comfort. Opt for a pillow that supports your neck and keeps your spine aligned. For back sleepers, a thinner pillow is usually recommended, while side sleepers may benefit from a thicker pillow to fill the space between the shoulder and ear.

3. Maintain a cool and dark bedroom

A cool and dark bedroom environment promotes better sleep. Keep your bedroom temperature between 60-67°F (15-19°C) and use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out any unwanted light. Creating a serene and comfortable sleep environment can help you relax and fall asleep faster.

Additional Tips for Better Sleep

Aside from finding the right sleeping position and creating a sleep-friendly environment, there are other strategies you can implement to improve your sleep with hip bursitis:

1. Practice gentle stretching

Engaging in gentle stretching exercises before bed can help relieve muscle tension and promote relaxation. Focus on stretches that target the hip area, such as hip flexor stretches or gentle yoga poses. However, avoid any movements that exacerbate your pain or discomfort.

2. Apply heat or cold therapy

Applying heat or cold therapy to the affected hip before bed can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Experiment with both heat packs and ice packs to determine which provides the most relief for you. Remember to wrap the packs in a cloth to protect your skin from direct contact.

3. Consider over-the-counter pain relief

If your hip bursitis pain is keeping you awake at night, you may consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief. However, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medication.


1. Can sleeping on a firm mattress worsen hip bursitis pain?

Sleeping on a firm mattress can potentially worsen hip bursitis pain, as it may not provide enough cushioning and support. It’s generally recommended to choose a mattress that offers a balance of support and comfort, such as a medium-firm mattress or one with memory foam.

2. Should I avoid sleeping on my affected side altogether?

While sleeping on your affected side may exacerbate hip bursitis pain, it’s not necessary to avoid it altogether. Placing a pillow between your knees can help alleviate pressure and provide some relief. However, if the pain persists or worsens, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional.

3. Can using a heating pad throughout the night be beneficial?

Using a heating pad throughout the night is not recommended, as it can pose a safety risk and potentially lead to burns. It’s best to use a heating pad for short periods before bed to warm up the affected area and promote relaxation. Remove the heating pad before falling asleep.

4. Are there any specific exercises I should avoid?

While gentle stretching exercises can be beneficial for hip bursitis, there are certain movements you should avoid. High-impact exercises, such as running or jumping, can aggravate the condition. Additionally, any exercises that cause pain or discomfort should be avoided. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist for personalized exercise recommendations.

5. When should I seek medical attention for hip bursitis?

If your hip bursitis symptoms persist or worsen despite trying various self-care measures, it’s advisable to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can provide a proper diagnosis, recommend appropriate treatment options, and address any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your hip bursitis.


Sleeping with hip bursitis can be challenging, but with

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