October 13, 2021 5 min read

Should You Wear a Hand Brace for Sleeping?

Waking up with wrist pain, or worse, not being able to sleep becauseof wrist pain is a nightmare no one wants to deal with. If you’re wondering how you can sleep more comfortably at night with wrist pain, a hand brace can alleviate your pain and in turn, give you a better night’s rest. Wearing a wrist brace for sleeping can help stabilize your wrist and prevent it from becoming irritated throughout the night. However, wrist braces aren’t designed for long-term treatment.

In this post, we’ll consider the question, “should you wear a hand brace for sleeping?”, discuss the benefits, and explain how to properly wear a hand brace at night. Read on for an in-depth overview of the subject, or use the links below to navigate throughout the article.

What Does a Hand Brace do?

A hand brace is a device designed to help stabilize the wrist in a neutral position, preventing it from bending or becoming irritated. Hand braces, also called wristbands, can be worn any time of day but may be especially effective when worn at night. According to InformedHealth.org, moving your hand regularly throughout the day is important to keep the muscles and joints functioning normally. This is why it is often recommended that hand braces be worn while you’re sleeping.

Hand brace infographic

Why do people wear hand braces at night?

Wearing a hand brace for sleeping is especially effective because we tend to move our bodies around a lot while we sleep. During this period of rest (and movement) your wrists may end up in uncomfortable positions, bending and becoming strained throughout the night. For some, this can exacerbate carpal tunnel symptoms and result in poor sleep.

A wrist brace can promote alignment and prevent wrist movement throughout the night, alleviating symptoms and ideally, improving sleep quality. If you have carpal tunnel or notice that wrist pain is disturbing your sleep, you may benefit from wearing a hand brace for sleeping.

carpal tunnel

Why does carpal tunnel worsen at night?

Carpal tunnel is a condition that affects the functionality of the wrist and hand. It is caused by extensive pressure placed on the median nerve. The risk factors for carpal tunnel may vary based on biological factors as well as obesity, medications, and workplace circumstances. For example, working at a keyboard or conducting repetitive motions on an assembly line may irritate the median nerve, resulting in carpal tunnel.

Although carpal tunnel can become irritated throughout the day, it is often triggered at night when you’re sleeping. When you sleep, you may toss and turn, bending your wrist in the process, and in turn, place your wrists in uncomfortable positions that worsen your carpal tunnel. This is why wearing a wristband for sleeping can be an effective treatment method.

Hand brace features

A hand brace is one way you can alleviate the pain and pressure caused by carpal tunnel and other types of wrist pain. Before we discuss the features of a hand brace, let’s distinguish the purpose of a hand brace from another type of wrist-worn medical device: a splint. Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, the two devices serve slightly different purposes:

  • Splint:Completely immobilizes a specific joint.
  • Brace: Minimizes the motion of a joint, while also supporting it through that movement.

With this in mind, you can choose the appropriate device for your wrist pain. Here are a few additional guidelines to help you find the right hand brace:

  1. Look for a cloth brace instead of a plastic one — plastic braces are typically used for sprains and breaks and are too rigid for regular use.
  2. Choose a brace that is comfortable enough for you to sleep with for an extended period.
  3. Look for a brace that keeps your wrist and hand in a comfortable, neutral position.
  4. A brace that is too tight around the wrist or hand can restrict blood flow and fluid drainage.
  5. For carpal tunnel, find a brace, not a splint. Splints completely immobilize your wrist, which can counteract carpal tunnel healing as movement helps promote drainage in the affected area.
  6. Because you’ll be wearing it every night, it’s a good idea to find a brace that is washable and has a breathable fabric that is resistant to odor buildup.

Hand brace benefits

Hand brace benefits

Wearing a hand brace at night can help alleviate pain from carpal tunnel and as a result, improve the quality of sleep. According to WebMD and the University of Michigan Health, hand braces may offer the following benefits to wearers:

  • Reduction in pain and pressure on the median nerve
  • Allows the wrist to rest from carpal tunnel triggers
  • Prevents wrist from bending while you sleep

 

While hand braces may offer substantial relief from wrist pain, they aren’t designed for long-term treatment. In order to make progress toward total treatment, individuals must make workplace changes and consider the drawbacks of wearing a splint long-term.

How to sleep with a hand brace

How to Sleep Properly With a Hand Brace

Wearing a wrist brace at night can be an effective way to deal with your carpal tunnel symptoms, but it may require you to change your sleeping posture in order to sleep comfortably. Below, we’ll offer up some tips to help you learn to sleep properly with a hand brace.

Don’t put pressure on your hand

When you sleep with a hand brace, it’s important not to put pressure on your hand as this can strain the median nerve and increase pain. Depending on how you naturally sleep, this may be easier said than done. If you sleep on your side, for example, you will need to avoid sleeping on the side of the affected hand in order to minimize pain.

One way you can do this is to use a specialized pillow that helps keep pressure off of your arm. Our shoulder pain relief pillow allows your downside arm to rest within the designated arm pocket, preventing pressure on the shoulder as well as the hand and wrist.

Make sure the hand is in a comfortable position

In addition to keeping pressure off of your hand, it’s also important to keep your hand in a comfortable position. Your wrist brace will help you keep your wrist in a neutral posture, but keep an eye on it to ensure it’s still in place as you rest and work throughout the day.

Consult your doctor if you’re still experiencing pain while sleeping with a hand brace

Most importantly, if your wrist pain does not improve while sleeping with a hand brace, talk to your doctor. Further treatment of carpal tunnel may involve:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Steroid injection
  • Endoscopic surgery
  • Open surgery

Wrist in pain

Wrapping Up

Whether you suffer from carpal tunnel or pain from a past injury, you may find that wearing a hand brace for sleeping offers you relief. A hand brace works by stabilizing the joints in the affected area while simultaneously supporting it during movement. When you sleep with a hand brace on, you can keep your wrist from bending into positions that exacerbate your pain.



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