How to elevate your hand while sleeping

How to elevate your hand while sleeping

The primary goal of rehabilitation following a wrist fracture is to help you regain functional use of the hand, wrist and upper extremity. Dr. Scott Wolfe, Orthopedic Surgeon, offers this advice for patients to follow after wrist surgery.

1. Elevate your hand to decrease swelling. Elevation is key to reducing swelling. Therefore, it is critical that an elevated position is maintained throughout the day and at night. Patients should NEVER keep their hand down by their side for a prolonged period of time. The hand needs to be above the level of the heart so that gravity can help move fluid back toward the heart. Use 2-3 pillows to support the arm in the lap when seated, and keep it above the heart level on a pillow or two during sleep. Patients may be instructed to use a sling for elevation, particularly when out in public. However, be aware that over-reliance on a sling may lead to unnecessary elbow and shoulder stiffness.

2. Begin mobilizing fingers as soon as possible to avoid stiffness.

3. Ice to reduce inflammation. Icing the wrist can help relieve pain and inflammation. The therapist will provide advice specific to the injury, but general guidelines are that ice or cold gel packs may be used 3-5 times a day for about ten minutes at a time. Cold gel packs can be found at most local drugstores.

4. Attend physical therapy with a Certified Hand Therapist. CHTs are physical or occupational therapists who have a specialized certification, making them the ideal therapist for any type of injury to the hand.

5. Follow your surgeon’s recommendations for full activity. Be patient, you’ll be back to full activity in due time, don’t rush it!

Conclusion: Restoring Strength and Function after a Fracture
After the first six weeks of therapy, once bone healing is determined to be firm and secure, rehabilitation will focus on the full restoration of strength and function. While types of wrist fractures and their surgical treatments vary, the core principles of fracture rehabilitation are consistent. Following these basic guidelines, a therapist will customize each treatment plan according to the patient’s specific needs.

How to elevate your hand while sleeping

When your hands are falling asleep (and the rest of you is awake), it can be due to either an insulin or a cardiovascular issue, or both. The cardiovascular issue (heart) should be checked by a qualified cardiologist, just to rule out any immediate serious problems. Usually the issue is from too much stress: emotional, physical, and/or nutritional. Your body will enter into a “sympathetic” overdrive state, similar to a constant fight-or-flight reaction. Resolving the stress will in turn resolve, or wake up the problem. The problem may also be from carbohydrate intolerance, also known as insulin resistance. Sometimes this causes only the hands to fall asleep while you’re already sleeping, if that makes any sense. Often times you may think that you have rolled over and cut off the circulation to your arm so your hand falls asleep, and although this is sometimes true, it is more often from a higher than normal insulin level and/or low blood sugar. Try cutting out the sugars, juices, soft drinks (including diet drinks), and reducing overall carbohydrate intake. Eliminate all hydrogenated fats too. Hormones, especially cortisol and norepinephrine from too much stress, can also be the problem.

Dr. Stephen Gangemi

I’m a board certified chiropractic physician and clinical nutritionist with a passion for true natural health care. I implement dietary & nutritional therapies, exercise & movement practices, and lifestyle changes along with manual therapy techniques to help the body heal and prevent illness and injuries.

Sleeping with your body elevated from the waist up can reduce symptoms of sleep apnea, heartburn and sinus congestion. Making this lifestyle change might also endear you to your partner — sleeping in an elevated position can reduce snoring. Back wedges, also called sleep wedges or bed wedges, create a firm, angled surface for you to sleep on. Just lie back on the wedge, with the tapered point positioned just above your hips.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Under the Mattress

A Mayo Clinic website article about heartburn and home remedies recommends elevating the head of your bed 1. If you can’t elevate the head of the bed frame itself, slide a sleeping wedge between your box spring and mattress. Place the long, straight side of the wedge flat on the bed. The short, straight side goes flush against the headboard or wall; this keeps the wedge from shifting. If you have a large mattress, you’ll need at least two wedges to fully support it.

  • A Mayo Clinic website article about heartburn and home remedies recommends elevating the head of your bed 1.
  • If you can’t elevate the head of the bed frame itself, slide a sleeping wedge between your box spring and mattress.

Over the Mattress

How to Wear a Back Support While You Sleep

If you want to use your back wedge only occasionally or if you have a partner that’s not willing to sleep in an inclined bed, place the wedge on top of the mattress instead. As before, the short, flat side of the wedge goes flush against the headboard. If you feel like you might slide off the wedge, look for a wedge with a nonslip surface on both the long flat side and the long angled side. Some back wedges even come with a full-body nonslip mat to keep you from slipping around in bed.

  • If you want to use your back wedge only occasionally or if you have a partner that’s not willing to sleep in an inclined bed, place the wedge on top of the mattress instead.
  • If you feel like you might slide off the wedge, look for a wedge with a nonslip surface on both the long flat side and the long angled side.

Legs Elevated

You can also use a back wedge to elevate your legs as you sleep. Situate the short, flat side of the wedge facing away from you, then rest your legs on the ramp the wedge creates. Never place the wedge with its short end toward you, directly behind your knees; this can impede your leg circulation, defeating the purpose of elevating your legs in the first place.

What are the benefits of sleeping elevated? Whether you invest in an adjustable power base that lets you raise your head and feet at the touch of a button, or you go the DIY route with a few strategically placed pillows, many people experience better sleep right away when they sleep at an incline. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key health benefits and how this sleeping position might help you, too.

Overview: Benefits of Sleeping with Your Head Elevated

Sleeping elevated with your head raised, in particular, has been shown to have many health benefits, alleviating symptoms of many common issues and helping you get the great sleep that your body needs.

Benefits include reduced snoring and relief from other sleep apnea symptoms, migraine relief and post-nasal drip prevention, among others. Many people also get better sleep by elevating their legs simultaneously.

How to elevate your hand while sleeping

I. Reduces Mouth Breathing

II. Prevents Post-Nasal Drip

III. Curbs Snoring and Sleep Apnea

IV. Improves Blood Circulation

V. Relieves Shortness of Breath

VI. Eases COPD Symptoms

VII. Soothes Head Stuffiness

I. Reduces Mouth Breathing

If your mouth is dry upon waking, then most likely you are mouth breathing while asleep. Your mouth may naturally open as you’re sleeping because of nasal obstruction (like if you have a cold), nasal swelling, or even just out of habit.

Mouth breathing is associated with decreased lung function, which can in turn affect the quality of your sleep. It can also dry out your gums, increasing your chances of cavities, plaque and gum disease.

Sleeping on an incline can help, though; with your head raised, you’ll open up your airways, which makes breathing through your nose much easier.

II. Prevents Post-Nasal Drip

The body naturally creates about a quart of mucus each day. Most people won’t even notice it, but those with post-nasal drip certainly will as they deal with that familiar trickle down the back of the throat. Post-nasal drip can be detrimental to sleep because it causes you to wake up coughing and hacking as you try to clear the mucus in your throat.

Lying flat allows that mucus to gather in the back of the throat. Keeping the head elevated, on the other hand, can alleviate post-nasal drip because gravity won’t be pulling the mucus back.

III. Curbs Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring may be an indication of sleep apnea, a disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts as you sleep. Whether it’s actually sleep apnea or just simple snoring, your involuntary noises can cause sleep disturbances throughout the night for both you and your partner.

Sleeping elevated will help to curb snoring and promote better breathing. This helps take the pressure off your airway so it’s easier for you to breathe.

IV. Improves Blood Circulation

There’s a reason that hospitals use adjustable beds for patients with heart issues. Sleeping elevated, with both your head and feet raised in the zero-gravity position promotes blood flow to your heart and helps your circulatory system work more efficiently.

V. Relieves Shortness of Breath

Even if you don’t have a heart condition that affects your circulation, there may be times that you experience shortness of breath while lying down flat. This can be caused by a host of conditions, from medical to psychological. Raising the head of your bed can combat these issues, allowing for better breathing and less chance of being awakened by shortness of breath.

VI. Eases COPD Symptoms

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) actually refers to a group of diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. People with COPD experience breathing-related problems, especially as they sleep. Essentially, those with COPD may have unhealthy or enlarged lungs, which then flatten their diaphragm, making it more difficult to breathe. Other symptoms like a chronic cough, chest pain, and frequent nighttime urination can also affect sleep. Many patients also have an overlap of COPD and sleep apnea.

VII. Soothes Head Stuffiness

Anyone who has experienced a simple cold or any respiratory ailment understands the uncomfortable sleep that lying flat delivers. This usually happens because your sinus passages can’t drain properly in this position, which results in extra sinus and head pressure.

By sleeping elevated, the mucus will be able to drain more easily, allowing you to sleep more peacefully.

How to Elevate Your Head While Sleeping

Now that you know the benefits of sleeping with your head elevated, what’s the easiest way to get into position? There are a few ways to elevate the head of your bed:

  • Insert a foam wedge between your mattress and foundation or box spring
  • Stack several pillows directly underneath your upper torso and head
  • Use an adjustable bed base

The easiest option, of course, is going with the adjustable base. Designed to work with any mattress type, an adjustable base allows you to quickly and easily adjust your head and your feet elevation, helping you to ease chronic pain as well as relax in style.

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How to elevate your hand while sleeping

Should you elevate your head while sleeping?

I was very curious about the answer to this question since now I sleep every night in a Viviere hammock, and my head is slightly elevated. I personally find it very comfortable (and I don’t even use a pillow).

However, I still wanted to find out if this was a good thing or a bad thing. So I did some research, and here’s what I found out:

What About Beds that Incline?

Some people believe in the benefits of sleeping with the head elevated that they raise the head of the bed with a few bricks or cinder blocks. It actually has a name: Inclined Bed Therapy (or IBT), and according to, this style of sleeping offers numerous advantages:

  • Decompression of the skeletal system
  • Decreased arthritic pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Clearer skin
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased hydration
  • Less stress on the heart
  • Removal of toxins in the body and more.

Although all of these health benefits sound wonderful (especially for a small and inexpensive lifestyle change), I was skeptical. Who wouldn’t be? So I researched some more.

What Do Medical Resources Think?

  • The University of Maryland Medical Center even states that “Sleeping in an upright position may improve oxygen levels in overweight people with sleep apnea” as well as elevating the head of the bed. that elevating your head while sleeping can help reduce swelling and puffiness around the eyes.
  • For those with sinus congestion, Dr Satish Govindaraj, MD recommends sleeping with your head elevated so that your head is above your heart. This prevents mucus build up in the sinuses which can then disrupt sleep.

Notes specifically for people who sleep on their backs:

According to, people who sleep on their backs often suffer from snoring because of the flat back position. In addition to possibly causing a ruckus, snoring can prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep – even if you don’t wake up. I’m guessing that any back sleeper can benefit from improved breathing at night.

But wait, there’s more great news for us black sleepers… 😉

This sleeping position is known to also cause sleep apnea or bring about lower back pain. Ouch! reports that the body is unable to retain proper posture while sleeping on a flat surface. Therefore, muscle and joint tension tends to increase.

Another reason to adjust your sleeping position and avoid a flat bed is to improve circulation by evenly distributing pressure throughout your body. People often accomplish this by elevating their head, feet or both – whether by using an adjustable bed, wedge pillow or some other device.

Are There Benefits to Sleeping Without a Pillow?

How to elevate your hand while sleeping

This was another question I had, since I stopped sleeping with a pillow once I started sleeping in a hammock. There’s no need for one, due to the fact that my head is comfortably elevated while I sleep anyway. Here’s what I discovered:

    suggests thinner pillows for people who sleep on their backs. Why? To prevent your head from being thrown too far forward.
  • The University of Utah Health Care states that pillows should be used to support the natural curvature of the neck. However, too much elevation can cause strain the muscles in the back, shoulders and neck because it can take your neck, chest and hips out of alignment.

In Summary…

Although I can’t say whether or not you should sleep with your head elevated, with or without a pillow or even use a hammock as a bed, I found all of this information very interesting. I figured at least it could help others figure out ways that they could improve their sleep and maybe even their health.

Hope this helps you!

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Keri Peterson, MD, is board-certified in internal medicine and operates a private practice, Age Well, in New York City.

There’s a good chance you’ve not thought about what position is best for you to sleep. There’s also a good chance that, because of insomnia, pain, or other reasons, you will one day need to ask. Body position can have an important impact on sleep, especially if it affects breathing.

So what are the best and worst sleep positions? How should you sleep to relieve back or neck pain? This article goes through some of the most common sleep positions and why they may (or may not) be a good choice for your own health needs.

On Your Back

How to elevate your hand while sleeping

ColorBlindImages / Getty Images

When a person is lying flat on his or her back, it's called the supine position for sleeping. The legs are usually stretched out in a neutral pose.

Arms may lie flat by the sides of the body. They may be bent with the hands across the chest or stomach. Arms also may be raised above the shoulders with the hands by the face, above or behind the head, or out to the sides.

If you can breathe well during sleep, this may be the best sleep position. The body gets good support from the mattress. With a supportive pillow or cushion placed at the knees, this may reduce pressure on the back and any muscle or joint pain.

With the feet raised above the heart, this may relieve edema (swelling) of the feet and ankles, and reduce the impact of congestive heart failure. This is also the preferred sleeping position for infants to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Those who have trouble breathing when they sleep may find that lying on the back makes this worse. It also may cause any snoring to be louder.

Nose blockages and mouth breathing may allow the lower jaw and tongue to more easily shift back and obstruct the airway. This may lead to sleep apnea, pauses in breathing while sleeping.

Many health issues can be made worse because of sleep apnea in this position. They include:

    (nocturia) (bruxism) (GERD)

Left Side

How to elevate your hand while sleeping

Adam Kuylenstierna / EyeEm / Getty Images

The person sleeps with the head and torso lying on the left side, also known as the lateral position. The arm may be under the body, or perhaps slightly forward or stretched out, with some pressure at the left shoulder.

The legs may be stacked, with the left leg below. In the curled-up fetal position, the legs are bent and the knees are drawn toward the upper body.

Most people sleeping in this position avoid the problems of supine sleep, and their breathing might be better. It's a good choice for limiting the effects of snoring and sleep apnea.

If a right shoulder or hip is causing pain, this position may feel better. Sleeping on the side can also make "spooning" (lying closely side by side) with a bed partner easier.

A person who is pregnant may place a pillow under their stomach or between their knees, and find this position eases back pain and any pressure on the bladder.

The left lateral position is not for everyone. When sleeping on the left, the organs in the chest can shift with gravity. The lungs may weigh heavily on the heart.

This increased pressure may affect heart function, adding to the heart strain in heart failure. This may, in turn, mean that the kidneys increase output, causing more trips to get up and urinate during the night.

Pressure on the nerves in the left arm or leg may cause other problems. Sleeping in this position may contribute to shoulder, lower back, and hip pain in the long term.

You may be unaware of poor circulation in your hand while you are sleeping, unless you know the symptoms of the condition. There is tingling and numbness sensation in your hands and the fingers, which makes you to wake up in the middle of the night, causing disturbance in your sleep. This is the primary symptom of poor circulation in your arms and fingers.

Although common, poor circulation should not be ignored as there are various reasons which may be as trivial as poor posture while lying down to more serious such as a heart disease.

Causes Of Numbness In Hands At Night

The common causes of poor blood circulation in hands while sleeping are;

    The first thing that you have to do is examine the pillow and the bed on which you lie down. Probably it might be partially responsible for poor circulation in your arms and hands.

Symptoms of poor circulation in hands during sleep

  • Tingling sensation from the arms to the tip of the finger.
  • Numbness in the arm.
  • Cold fingers.
  • Fingers turn pale and blue as there is lack of circulation in the hand and finger.

Home Remedies For Poor Circulation In Hands While Sleeping

  • Exercise increases the blood circulation all across the body, besides it also burns the excess of calories and effectively reduces weight.
  • Cayenne pepper is an important home remedy to improve the blood flow and strengthen the heart. It is useful when there is poor circulation in hands at night.
  • Massage is useful alternative therapy in treating poor circulation in hands.
  • Herbs such a Ginko Biloba and certain vitamins are known to relax the blood vessels and improve the circulation.

Ginger and garlic is natural blood purifier. Both improve blood circulation therefore you should incorporate ginger and garlic in your daily food. Ginger tea with a teaspoon of honey will improves blood circulation and reduces the recurrence of poor circulation in hands while sleeping.

Chances are you’ve woken up at night with tingly or numb arms or legs. If this happens often, it can be really annoying, and probably robbing you of much-needed sleep. To help your blood flow better while you sleep, let’s look at some reasons this could be happening sand tips on how to improve circulation through the night.

How to Improve Circulation in No Time

Some medical conditions cause poor circulation, including diabetes, heart problems, arterial issues and obesity. If you have any of these conditions and are having trouble sleeping at night, talk to your doctor for suggestions on improving your sleep. Below are some additional reasons you may be experiencing numbness, tingling, throbbing or muscle cramps at night as a result of circulation problems.

Sleeping on the Right Side

If you sleep on the right side, your blood has a harder time flowing to where it needs to go. This is because when your heart pumps blood out, the blood gets circulated and then flows back to your heart on the right side of your body. Sleeping on the right side puts pressure against these blood vessels, which limits circulation. Tip: Try sleeping on your left side to help the blood flow to your heart more efficiently.

Sleeping on Your Arm

To figure out how to improve circulation at night, it’s important to think about how you sleep. Even if you’re on your left side as suggested above, putting your arm under your head all night crushes your shoulder and your arm, especially if you sleep on a firm mattress. Your heavy head on your arm all night puts pressure on your blood vessels, limiting their ability to flow. Tip: Try lying in a different position or purchasing a more contouring mattress.

The Wrong Pillow

If your head, neck, and body aren’t properly aligned at night, your blood can’t flow as freely. A very thick pillow can cause a cause strain in your neck while a flat, thin pillow doesn’t offer enough support to hold your head in a neutral position. Tip: Consider buying a memory foam pillow that cradles your head and keeps your spine aligned.

Better Sleep Starts Here


During pregnancy, the heart already works harder to pump blood for two, and when as the baby grows, he or she starts to push organs upward. Sleeping on the right side could affect the flow of blood to your heart as well as your baby’s. Tip: Lay on your left side for the best blood flow for you and your baby.


If you want to know how to improve circulation, just keep filling up your cup with water. You’re less likely to have numbness, tingling or cramps at night if you drink eight glasses of fluids throughout the day. Tip: Keep track of your water intake. Staying hydrated increases blood flow in the body and flushes away impurities that can cause blood clots.

Too Much Fatty Food

Foods high in fat build plaque in your arteries, and that can cause clotting in your blood vessels reducing the right amount of blood flow. Tip: Replace fatty foods with fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to improve circulation.

Lack of Movement Throughout the Day

The more you move, the better your heart pumps and the better the veins move blood through your body. Tip: Regular exercise increases blood flow and releases endorphins that help you sleep better, so aim for at least 30 minutes of activity per day.

Help Improve Circulation With the Right Mattress and Pillow

If you’ve done all you can to prevent waking up with numbness or muscle cramps, your next best step may be replacing your mattress or pillow. A bed that relieves pressure is better for blood flow and allows you to sleep in your preferred sleeping position, while a supportive but contouring pillow can keep your spine in alignment to improve circulation. Shop our collection of Sleep Natural™ mattresses and pillows, and get the sleep you need.