“Pain and a lack of sleep have a symbiotic relationship. According to Kevin Fontaine, PhD, assistant professor of rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University, “the worse people sleep, the more pain they have.” “People with arthritis can usually minimise their day-to-day discomfort if they can enhance the quality of their sleep.”
Experts on arthritis provide eight suggestions for better sleep.
1. Don’t Go to Bed With Joint Pain
It’s necessary to manage arthritis pain at all times, but it’s especially important before bedtime. “You’re practically certain to have difficulties sleeping if you go to bed in discomfort,” Fontaine explains. Try to time your prescription to give you the most relief around the time you want to go to bed. Avoid activities that induce arthritic pain flare-ups in the evening. “Some people with arthritis find that having a hot shower before bed or using an electric blanket to relieve joint discomfort helps them sleep better,” says Andrew Lui, PT, DPT, assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
2. Steer Clear of Stimulants Before Bedtime
It’s no surprise that drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages late in the day might make sleeping difficult. However, many individuals are unaware of additional caffeine sources, such as colas and several over-the-counter pain medicines. Make sure you’re not receiving any caffeine by reading the labels. Black tea also includes stimulants, which can keep some people awake when they should be sleeping. If you’re having difficulties sleeping, herbal teas are a better alternative in the evening. While alcohol may help some individuals fall asleep, too much can cause sleep disruption, leaving you wide awake and tossing in the middle of the night.
3. Deal With Everyday Stresses
Sleep can be disrupted by the normal stressors of ordinary life. Of course, you can’t get rid of them completely, but you can put them in their proper places. “Avoiding stressful activities or thoughts before bedtime is one way,” explains Fontaine. “If the news irritates you, don’t watch it.” Do not pay your bills. Don’t write a list of everything you have to do the next day.” Instead, make time in your schedule to do something soothing in the hour or two before night. Play some music. Get a book and read it. Work on a hobby that you enjoy, as long as it is relaxing. If you’re still worried, try using some relaxing techniques like meditation or progressive relaxation.
4. Exercise to Help Your Arthritis and Your Sleep
During the day, be as active as possible. This will help to strengthen your muscles and joints while also making you sleepy enough to sleep. Activity has also been proved to reduce stress, allowing for a more restful night’s sleep. When you have arthritis, being active isn’t always simple. Even yet, many people with arthritis can participate in sports like swimming, water aerobics, and gentle walking. “The conventional idea is to exercise first thing in the morning since exercise can be stimulating,” explains Fontaine. “However, some of our patients like doing a light exercise in the evening to tyre themselves out, such as taking a walk around the neighbourhood.” The finest piece of advise is to figure out what works best for you.”
5. Create a Sound Sleep Chamber
Make your bedroom your sleeping quarters. You’ll link getting beneath the covers with falling asleep in this manner. “Avoid watching television, reading, working on your computer, or engaging in other stimulating activities in bed,” advises Wilfred Pigeon, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Sleep and Neurophysiology Research Laboratory and author of Sleep Manual: Training Your Mind and Body to Achieve the Perfect Night’s Sleep. “Make the bedroom as sleep-friendly as possible. To block off distracting light, use heavy curtains or shades. If sound is a concern, use earplugs.”
What is the finest mattress to buy? Low back discomfort is frequently best treated with a medium-firm mattress, according to experts.“If you suffer from knee pain, “Place a pillow under or between your knees to relieve some of the pressure on your joints,” advises Kimberly Topp, PhD, professor and chair of the University of California, San Francisco’s department of physical therapy and rehabilitation services. “While sleeping, a little pillow beneath your neck can assist straighten your spine and prevent neck pain. Experiment to see what helps you feel at ease.”
6. Don’t Linger in Bed
It may seem counterintuitive, but lying in bed for too long might lead to bad sleep. Experts frequently limit the amount of time patients spend in bed to manage insomnia. “That way, when you do go to bed, you’ll be more likely to be sleepy enough to fall asleep,” Pigeon explains. “If you can’t sleep after lying in bed for more than 15 minutes, get out of bed and do something unstimulating until you’re weary enough to try sleeping again.” The reason is that you won’t link the bed with restlessness. This method will help you link the bed with sleeping rather than tossing and turning over time.
7. Use Sleeping Pills Sparingly
People with severe insomnia may benefit from sleep medicines. But, according to Pigeon, if you have chronic insomnia, which is common among persons with arthritis, the first line of treatment should be better sleep hygiene. “Medications are used to alleviate symptoms. He claims that “behavioural medicine can truly heal sleeplessness.” Indeed, according to several research, behavioural medicine may be more effective for many patients. “Sleep medicines can often help folks get over a bad period of insomnia,” Pigeon explains. “However, unless patients learn to practise healthier sleep habits, insomnia generally returns when they stop taking them.”
8. Put it All Together in Good Sleep Hygiene
“Sleep hygiene” refers to a set of basic guidelines for promoting excellent sleeping patterns. They can have a significant impact on sleep quality when used together. In a 2009 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, elderly osteoarthritis participants who participated in a sleep hygiene programme reported considerably improved sleep and reduced pain. Even a year after the training finished, the advantages were still evident.