How do you sleep better with Arthritis when it hurts so badly?
A good night’s rest is important for many of our bodily functions including the regeneration of damaged tissues and reducing inflammation. Just like how arthritis causes pain and stiffness during the day, it can continue even at night leading to interrupted sleep. Improper sleep can cause pain to aggravate, creating a damaging cycle of pain and poor sleep.
Here are a few tips to sleep better with arthritis:
- Use heat therapy before bed. Using heating pads at the affected joints 15 – 20 minutes before sleep. A warm soothing bath can also help in the same way, but remember to let your body cool down, it is hard to sleep when the body is overheated.
- Explore medicinal solutions. Insomnia and sleep problems may be the result of a medication you are taking to treat arthritis or another condition. Talk with your doctor about switching medications or adjusting the timing of when you take them.
- Take a nighttime pain reliever. There are several pain relievers or painkillers that are specific for nighttime use. These can not only help relieve your pain but also help you sleep better.
- Consider your mattress. For those with arthritis, a good mattress is important as it represents a large part of their comfort and support as they sleep. The mattress should be supportive but not too hard, if it is difficult to invest in a new mattress, consider a mattress topper.
- Use pillows strategically. Where and what type of pillows you use at night is important. If you have neck (cervical) arthritis, use a standard pillow that’s firm but not too high. For hip or knee arthritis, you may benefit from a wedge pillow next to you or a small pillow between your knees.
- Rule out sleep apnea. People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for both osteoarthritis and a sleep condition called sleep apnea, which causes them to stop breathing and abruptly wake up several times a night. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, talk with your doctor about undergoing a sleep study.
- Exercise and stretch. Your joints are meant to move—the more you keep them immobile, the stiffer and more painful they’ll become. Stay as active as you can and do stretches intended to maintain strength and range of motion in your arthritis-affected joint.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Follow habits that promote good sleep, such as:
- Going to bed at the same time every night
- Establishing a night routine to prepare your mind and body for sleep
- Banning phones, TVs, and other electronics from the bedroom
- Avoiding large meals and caffeine before bed
- Manage your diet. Arthritis patients have recounted that their diet played a major part in lessening their inflammation and pain. Some foods increase inflammation while other foods reduce it. We’ve made a list of 5 Foods to Avoid with Arthritis and 5 Common Foods to reduce arthritis inflammation for you. Check those out too!
Remember: arthritis, chronic pain, and sleep problems are all treatable and you can sleep better with arthritis if you follow these tips.