how to sleep with tennis elbow

How to Sleep with Tennis Elbow – Tips and Tricks

Do you have trouble sleeping due to tennis elbow pain? If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you’re not alone. Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a condition that causes pain on the outer side of the elbow due to inflammation of the tendons connected to the lateral epicondyle bone. You may experience pain during lift or grip activities, and even at rest, which can disturb your sleep. In this article, we’ll look at some tips and tricks to help you sleep with tennis elbow.

Why is it Hard to Sleep with Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow makes it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position because the pain persists throughout the night. As you try to change positions, the movement can cause more discomfort, making it challenging to get good quality sleep. The pain might also wake you up in the middle of the night, leaving you feeling restless and tired the next day.

How to Sleep with Tennis Elbow

If you’re struggling to get good sleep due to tennis elbow pain, here are some tips to help you out:

1. Use a Supportive Pillow

A supportive pillow can help reduce pressure on your elbow, minimizing the risk of further pain. Try using a pillow for side sleepers that provides ample support and cushioning for your head and neck. When sleeping on your back, prop up your elbow on a pillow to keep it elevated, reducing pressure.

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2. Choose the Right Mattress

The surface you sleep on can exacerbate your tennis elbow symptoms, so choosing the right type of mattress is essential. A mattress that’s too soft or too firm won’t provide the necessary support, leading to further pain. Choose a medium-firm mattress that supports your spine’s natural curvature, keeps your body aligned, and reduces pressure on your elbow.

3. Use Heat Therapy

Heat therapy can improve blood flow to the affected area, providing pain relief and relaxation. Use a warm compress or hot water bottle and place it on your elbow before heading to bed. The heat will loosen tight muscles in your forearm and increase relaxation.

4. Wear a Brace

Wearing a brace or a splint can help reduce pain and support your elbow when sleeping. It can help keep your arm stable, preventing you from waking up due to sudden movements or twists. A brace can also help reduce inflammation during the night, making you feel less sore in the morning.

5. Take Medication

If you’re having a tough time sleeping due to pain, taking medication may help. Over-the-counter pain relief medication like ibuprofen or aspirin can provide temporary relief from pain and inflammation. However, it’s important to follow the recommended dosage and seek medical advice if your symptoms persist.

6. Use Essential Oils

Essential oils like lavender and peppermint can calm your mind and body, helping you relax and sleep better. These oils have natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve pain and inflammation in your elbow. You can mix a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil and massage it onto your elbow before sleeping.

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Q: How long does it take to recover from tennis elbow?

A: The recovery time for tennis elbow varies from person to person. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to recover fully. Rest, ice therapy, and physical therapy can help speed up the healing process.

Q: Can sleeping with tennis elbow make it worse?

A: If you’re sleeping in a position that puts pressure on your elbow, it can exacerbate your symptoms, making it worse. Sleeping with your arm outstretched or in a flexed position can cause pain and discomfort.

Q: Can a night splint help with tennis elbow?

A: Yes, wearing a night splint can help support your arm, reduce inflammation, and promote better sleep. It keeps your elbow in a neutral position, preventing sudden movements or twists that can cause pain.

Q: Is it okay to sleep with a brace?

A: Yes, it’s okay to sleep with a brace if it helps reduce your pain and promote better sleep. However, it’s important to ensure that the brace isn’t too tight or uncomfortable.

Q: Can massage therapy help with tennis elbow?

A: Yes, massage therapy can help reduce pain and inflammation in your elbow, promoting better sleep. A skilled massage therapist can identify trigger points and provide targeted relief to the affected area.


Sleeping with tennis elbow can be challenging, but there are several tips and tricks you can try to get better quality sleep. Using a supportive pillow, choosing the right mattress, using heat therapy, wearing a brace, taking medication, and using essential oils are all effective ways to reduce pain and promote relaxation. Consult your physician if your symptoms persist or worsen; otherwise, get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed!

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