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How to Sleep with Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, a common ailment among not just athletes but also those engaged in repetitive arm and wrist activities, can make the simple act of sleeping a challenge due to persistent pain. If you're struggling to find a comfortable sleeping position or if your night's rest is constantly interrupted by sharp pains, this guide is here to help. We'll explore everything from the best sleeping positions to lifestyle changes that could ease your discomfort.

Understanding Tennis Elbow

Causes of Tennis Elbow

This condition arises from overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons, leading to inflammation and pain around the elbow joint. Activities ranging from tennis to typing can contribute to this condition if they're performed frequently without adequate rest.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

The hallmark symptom is elbow pain, which might extend into your forearm and wrist. It's especially noticeable when gripping objects or performing twisting movements.

Preparing for Bed

Ideal Sleeping Positions

Sleeping with your arm extended or under your pillow can exacerbate tennis elbow pain. We'll discuss positions that minimize strain on your elbow, such as lying on your back with your arm gently supported.

Bedding Adjustments

The right mattress and pillows can make a world of difference. Look for options that provide good support and alignment for your arm and body.

Pain Management Techniques

Before Bed Routines

Incorporating gentle stretches or applying ice to your elbow before bed can reduce inflammation and soothe pain, making it easier to fall asleep.

Medications and Supplements

Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory supplements like omega-3 fatty acids might be beneficial. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new medication or supplement.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Daytime Activities

What you do during the day can impact your tennis elbow at night. We'll explore modifications to daily activities that can prevent exacerbating your condition.

Diet and Hydration

A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and proper hydration can support healing and reduce pain.

Professional Treatment Options

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can provide exercises and treatments to strengthen your forearm muscles and reduce stress on the elbow.

Alternative Therapies

Techniques like acupuncture or massage therapy might offer relief and aid in the healing process.

Using Sleep Aids

Supportive Devices

Elbow braces or special pillows designed to maintain arm alignment can be helpful tools in managing tennis elbow pain at night.

Technology Solutions

Consider using apps or sleep trackers to analyze your sleep patterns and make adjustments for a better night's rest.

When to See a Doctor

If your symptoms persist despite home management, or if you experience severe pain, loss of motion, or signs of infection, it's crucial to seek professional medical advice.


Managing tennis elbow requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses daytime activities, nighttime routines, and possibly professional interventions. With the right strategies, it's possible to achieve restful sleep and support the healing process.


  1. Can sleeping in the wrong position cause tennis elbow to worsen?

Yes, sleeping in a position that places additional strain on your elbow can exacerbate the pain. It's important to find a position that supports your arm without putting unnecessary pressure on the elbow.

  1. Are there specific stretches I should do before bed?

Gentle forearm stretches can help alleviate tension in the muscles and tendons around the elbow. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds and avoid any movements that cause pain.

  1. Is it helpful to wear an elbow brace at night?

For some people, wearing an elbow brace can provide support and help maintain proper alignment, reducing strain on the elbow during sleep.

  1. How long does tennis elbow typically take to heal?

The healing time can vary widely depending on the severity of the condition and the treatment approach. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

  1. Should I avoid certain foods or beverages if I have tennis elbow?

While no specific diet will cure tennis elbow, reducing the intake of inflammatory foods such as processed foods, sugars, and certain fats, and increasing anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and omega-3-rich fish, can support overall health and may aid in recovery.