How to sleep with pickleball/tennis elbow

Experiencing a pickleball/tennis elbow is pretty common if you are a frequent pickleball player. Also known as lateral epicondylitis, the tennis elbow is a really painful condition that usually causes severe arm pain along with other symptoms. This situation can cause you a lot of discomforts, especially if you are trying to sleep at night. If you are someone who is going through this hard phase and looking for ways to sleep better, this article is the best place for you. 

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Why does the pain get worse at night?

Why does the pain get worse at night

Before we jump into giving you tips on how to sleep with a pickleball/tennis elbow, it is important for you to know why the pain actually gets worse at night, making it difficult for you to have a good sleep. 

Many people complain that it feels like someone’s stabbing you when you move your arm in your sleep with a tennis elbow, which is really common. You don’t have to get scared of what might be going wrong for that to happen. In general, our body tends to tighten or get stiffer when we go to sleep because there is very little body movement. This is usually nothing serious when you are healthy but can cause severe pain if you are hurt somewhere. 

Tips to Sleep Well with Pickleball/Tennis Elbow:

Tips to Sleep Well with a Pickleball or Tennis Elbow

Sleeping with arm pain is not an easy thing to do, and there are not a lot of things you can do about it. But you can take some precautions that will help lower your pain at night, helping you get better sleep. Here are some tips to sleep well with a pickleball/tennis elbow: 

Warming up the elbow:

Warm-up your elbow or forearm before going to sleep. This will slow down the arm stiffening. You can also take a warm bath before bedtime. 

Avoid Sleeping on the Injured Arm:

You should try not to sleep on your affected arm. Lying on that arm can reduce the overall blood flow to the injured tendons and decrease the healing process. Hence, sleeping on your back will help more in this case. 

Use a Pillow To Support Your Elbow: 

If you think it is difficult for you to sleep on your back, there are other ways you can avoid putting pressure on your affected arm, such as using a pillow to rest or support your elbow. You should know that sleeping on your affected arm can lead to several other issues like upper arm muscles making a strain on your elbow. These issues can make your pain get worse. So, it is wise to use a pillow as a support when you are sleeping on one side. 

Using Other Elbow Supports:

There are several other kinds of elbow supports that you can use other than a pillow. Wearing an elbow brace is another option most people recommend. The braces mostly fit on your forearm while covering a little bit of the elbow. They are really helpful in providing superior support to your forearm muscles. 

You can also use a loose-fitting neoprene sleeve right over your elbow area, or a leg warmer can work too. If you don’t have access to any of these, a couple of layers of heavy socks can do the job too. 

Use Hot Water to Heat Your Elbow Area:

After taking all the precautions, if you still wake up with severe pain in the middle of the night, get up and rinse your elbow area with hot water. Try to heat up the water as hot as you can handle. 


Can taking pain medication help?

Although it is not recommended, it can help for a while if the pain is unbearable. You can also use the pain-relieving lotions for some instant relief.

Is there any pain-free position to sleep?

Unfortunately, not. But you should try out the tips that we mentioned above. 

What are the worst sleeping positions with a pickleball/tennis elbow?

Sleeping with your affected arm under your pillow or lying on the affected arm. 

Conclusion of How to sleep with pickleball or tennis elbow


We understand how painful it must be to sleep with a tennis elbow and how desperate you might be to get rid of this pain to have a peaceful sleep. Unfortunately, there aren’t any cases where you can get rid of the pain permanently, but the least you can do is follow our tips and reduce the pain for a while.