16 Tips to Sleep Better With Tennis Elbow

Suppose you’re often woken in the night to an uncomfortable pain in your elbow. In that case, there’s a high chance you could be suffering from tennis elbow, an inflammatory condition of tendons or muscles around the joint.

While some people only experience mild symptoms, for others, it can affect their day-to-day activities. It may even prevent them from getting a good night’s sleep, impacting their general well-being.

But what causes tennis elbow? And more importantly, how can you ensure it doesn’t interrupt your sleep?

Throughout this guide, we will look at the symptoms and causes of tennis elbow and see how you can prevent it from worsening and sleep comfortably without further aggravating the condition.

Tennis elbow gets its name because it’s most commonly seen in tennis players or people working in manual labor, where they heavily rely on the constant movement of their arms.

What is Tennis Elbow?

What is Tennis Elbow

The scientific name for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis, which refers to inflammation around the tendons and muscles around the elbow.

Tennis elbow can cause a lot of discomforts and can prevent itself with several symptoms. Some of these may include the following:

  • Pain in the elbow area that worsens with specific actions or movements
  • Loss of strength in the affected arm
  • Unable to fully extend the arm without discomfort and stiffness
  • Pain when touching the elbow
  • Constant pain around the area

If you’re concerned about suffering from tennis elbow, visit your physician. They can determine your exact condition based on your specific symptoms. In some circumstances, an in-depth examination, such as an X-ray, may be required.

16 Tips For Sleeping Better with Tennis Elbow

Sleep is the best way to recover from discomfort, injury, or health condition. So having pain that can potentially wake you up multiple times a night can be incredibly frustrating.

But thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. Below we will look at things you can do to ensure you have a better night’s sleep with tennis elbow, so you can wake up adequately rested.

1. Pain Relief Medication

One thing you can try to ease your discomfort is over-the-counter pain medication. Ibuprofen is one of the most commonly advised painkillers for tennis elbow because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Be sure to consult your doctor before introducing new medication, especially if you’re on other treatments or suffer from other health conditions.

2. Pain-Relieving Creams

Pain-Relieving Creams

As well as tablet form, pain relief now comes in creams and gels, such as Voltaren or tiger balm. These creams can help to numb the affected area for quicker, more direct pain relief.

Most of these substances can be bought over the counter. Still, it’s essential to discuss with a pharmacist or doctor because some creams can contain medicative properties that can be unsafe when mixed with other pain relief products.

3. Sleep Position

Something as simple as altering your sleep position can help to reduce the pain felt with tennis elbow.

Sleeping on your back is the best position for anyone experiencing discomfort from tennis elbow at night. It helps to relieve pressure on the affected area, meaning it can heal while you sleep.

If you’re a side sleeper and find it challenging to sleep on your back, try lining up pillows or blankets alongside your body to ensure you remain in one position while you sleep.

If you can’t sleep on your back and want to remain on your side, ensure you don’t sleep on the affected arm.

4. Supplements and Vitamins

Supplements and Vitamins

Although not scientifically proven, there are some natural remedies in the form of supplements that can reduce pain and inflammation. These include:

  • Vitamin E
  • Turmeric extract
  • Herbal Tea
  • Garlic
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Curcumin
  • Boswellia
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Fish oil

Some over-the-counter supplements are specifically designed to help reduce inflammation.

5. Strength Training

Although putting more strain on an already strained area may be counterproductive, strengthening the muscles surrounding the impacted area can help improve joint stability.

Of course, we aren’t talking about hitting the gym and grabbing a set of dumbbells.

Instead, try wrist curls, fist clenching, elbow strengthening exercises using a bottle of water or lightweight, or wrist extensions.

6. Use a Body Pillow

Use a Body Pillow

Sleeping with a body pillow has multiple benefits. When it comes to tennis elbow, it can help to relieve symptoms by keeping the affected arm elevated while you sleep.

Place the pillow underneath the arm when you get in bed. Not only will you feel less discomfort, but you might even notice a reduction in swelling the following morning.

7. Use A Splint or Sling

If using pillows and blankets or changing your sleeping position doesn’t help with your tennis elbow discomfort, you should use a splint or sling to support the joint while you sleep.

Splints help keep your arm in one position, preventing knocks or pressure from further worsening the pain from inflammation.

Some of these sleeves and splints are also designed to help with circulation.

8. Acupuncture


Acupuncture is a Chinese needle therapy often used to relieve tennis elbow complaints.

The type of acupuncture practiced explicitly for tennis elbow is LI 10, or Arms Three Miles, which refers to the point of treatment within the arm. It’s located about an inch below the fold of the elbow.

This non-invasive treatment works by lowering the hypertonicity of the extensor muscles. Find a reputable practitioner if you’re interested in acupuncture for tennis elbow.

9. Physiotherapy

Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor might advise you to seek help from a physiotherapist who can provide numerous techniques to reduce tennis elbow symptoms.

These motions will relieve stiffness, improve mobility, and reduce pain. They can also improve blood circulation in the arm.

Your physio may also advise using an orthosis (splint) between sessions to enhance stability.

10. Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is another non-invasive treatment that sends high-energy shockwaves through the skin to improve pain and mobility in the elbow.

You could be asked to return for multiple shockwave therapy sessions before your symptoms show noticeable improvement.

It’s important to mention that although minor, this treatment has some side effects, such as bruising around the concentrated area and red or raised skin.

Research is ongoing surrounding the exact benefits of the shockwave and how it can aid symptoms of tennis elbow.

11. Compression Sleeves

Compression sleeves for the elbow and reduce swelling caused by tennis elbow by improving blood flow. They can also help to support the joint and stabilize the surrounding tissues, such as tendons and muscles.

These garments can be worn day and night to help keep the arm secure.

12. Changing Your Mattress

Changing Your Mattress

You might not have thought about this one, but upgrading your mattress to an orthopedic or memory foam design can massively help reduce tennis elbow discomfort, resulting in better sleep.

Make sure that whatever mattress you choose is supportive and firm while still being soft enough to support your body in a natural position.

13. Get Plenty of Rest

The trick to any recovery from pain and injury is rest, rest! It’s the only way your body will be able to heal correctly.

It could mean taking time off work, skipping the gym, and avoiding anything that will weigh heavy on the affected area, such as lifting, reaching, or straining the arm. Getting a good night’s sleep goes hand-in-hand with recovery, so practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation can also aid your rehabilitation.

14. Surgery


In extreme cases, you might be advised to undergo surgery if your tennis elbow is a persistent, long-term problem causing you much distress and discomfort.

During the surgery, the damaged tendons are removed, eliminating the source of pain.

15. Massage

Minor or short-term cases of tennis elbow may be relieved with gentle massage, and it’s best to see a professional for this to ensure the correct areas are treated and to prevent further muscle damage.

16. Heat and Ice Packs

Heat and Ice Packs

Heat and ice packs can help relieve elbow pain and inflammation. Try wrapping a heated bag or ice pack around the arm before bed, but be wary of burns from immediate contact with the skin.

Place the packs in the area for around 20-30 minutes before bed and whenever required throughout the day.

A warm bath or visiting the sauna can relieve muscle pain and tension.

A Final Study

The critical thing to remember when treating tennis elbow for a better night’s sleep is that only some things will work for everyone. It can be trial and error to find what works for you.

Whether you see a professional for massage or therapy or instead opt for over-the-counter pain relief, one of the most important things to remember is not over to do it and get plenty of rest to avoid worsening your symptoms.

If you work where strain is constantly applied to your arms or partake in sports such as tennis or squash, you may be required to take some time off while your elbow recovers.

Overall, once you’ve found a treatment that works for you, you should be on your way to a better night’s sleep with tennis elbow.

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!