Carpal tunnel syndrome is painful; unfortunately, it often becomes even more painful at night.
This is because your affected arm and wrist don’t move too much during the night, which leads to a build-up of fluids. These fluids increase the pressure inside your wrist and on your median nerve.
Are you wondering how to sleep with carpal tunnel syndrome? Sometimes, the pain can be overwhelming, but there are ways to mitigate the discomfort. First, seek medical attention and attend regular physiotherapy sessions to initiate your recovery. In addition, you can take better care of yourself at home.
Here are some tips on how to sleep with carpal tunnel syndrome:
1. Take good care of your affected wrist before you go to bed
If you want to be able to sleep with carpal tunnel syndrome, you need to take good care of your affected wrist before going to sleep.
Try doing at least one of the following things before bed. You should also do them again if you wake up in pain at night.
- Massage your affected wrist with your other hand, applying gentle pressure. With your elbow bent, extend your hand in front of you, palm up. Use your other hand to push your fingers down, and hold this stretch for up to 15 seconds.
- Perform gentle exercises to improve blood flow and relieve the pain. Hold your affected arm in front of you, palm down. Bend your wrist until all your fingers are pointing towards the ceiling, and hold this position for 5 seconds before relaxing your wrist. You can also shake your hand until it doesn’t feel numb anymore.
- Apply some ice to your wrist to reduce inflammation and irritation. Wrap an ice pack or some ice cubes in a moist washcloth, and apply it to your affected wrist for up to 10 minutes.
2. Lay on your back and avoid bending your wrist
Sleeping on your side is not a good idea when you have carpal tunnel syndrome, as this position can put a lot of pressure on your affected wrist and increase your pain.
Simply bending your wrist while you sleep will increase your pain by compressing your median nerve.
The solution is to lay flat on your back and avoid bending your wrist and arm. If sleeping on your back is difficult, try getting a pillow designed specifically for back sleepers to elevate your head comfortably.
You could also sleep with a small pillow under your knees. It will help keep your spine aligned and should prevent you from rolling over to your side.
3. Support your arm with a pillow
It’s important to avoid sleeping with your affected arm under your pillow or your body. Instead, try sleeping with your arm supported by a pillow placed by your side. Elevating your arm will help reduce swelling and inflammation, which will help relieve your pain.
If both your arms are affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, try sleeping on your back with both of your arms supported by a pillow. This position should prevent you from rolling over, which would be helpful if you are used to sleeping on your side.
Sleeping on your side is not recommended when you have carpal tunnel syndrome. However, if you cannot sleep comfortably on your back, sleep on your side, with a pillow in front of you and your arm on it.
Of course, you have to sleep on the right side for your affected arm to be on top, and this will not work if both your arms are affected.
4. Wear a brace designed for nighttime use
Since bending your wrist will exacerbate your pain, you must keep your wrist in a neutral position.
Wearing a brace during the night will restrict your arm movement and force your wrist to stay straight. If you are used too often to wearing a brace during the day, you can simply try wearing your brace at night to see if your pain will decrease.
Remember that your wrist brace should be tight enough to keep your wrist straight but not so tight that it will be uncomfortable or numb your wrist and hand.
5. Wear a glove to keep your hand and wrist warm
Finally, you could sleep more comfortably with carpal tunnel syndrome if you wear a glove on your affected hand and wrist.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy or expensive glove: any comfortable glove will do, as long as it covers your hand and wrist. It will keep your hand and wrist warm, and this warmth will help your body heal your damaged median nerve. Over time, the condition could go away on its own if you are lucky.
Remember that although icing your wrist before going to bed will provide relief by reducing inflammation, keeping your wrist warm while you sleep will help improve blood flow and reduce pain.