How to Sleep Better If You Have Arthritis
Any type of arthritis, whether it’s osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, or psoriatic arthritis (PsA), may make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep if symptoms are disruptive enough. It’s estimated that as many as 80 percent of people living with some form of arthritis have trouble getting a sufficient amount of Zs. Even if your symptoms are normally controlled by medication and other treatments, sleep deprivation can make things worse. If this is what you’re dealing with, here’s what you can do to sleep better.
Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
Get to bed and get up around the same time each night to establish a natural sleep rhythm or pattern. This may also keep you from lying awake and thinking about your pain as you try to fall asleep. Avoid naps as well, since this could also make it more difficult to get sufficient rest at night.
Avoid Habits That Could Affect Your Sleep
If you’re living with minor arthritis pain, you’re more likely to be distracted by it if you’re having trouble nodding off. Improve your ability to get to sleep by avoiding caffeine later in the day, not having large meals before your normal bedtime, and not watching TV while in bed. It’s also advised that bedrooms be as conducive to optimal sleep as possible, which means a cool, comfortable temperature and quiet environment.
Get Daily Exercise
Most types of arthritis pain can be managed to some extent with regular exercise based on what your doctor or orthopedist recommends. The regular stimulation of muscles can strengthen the soft tissues that provide support to joints, which may mean fewer aches and pains when you’re trying to sleep. Just avoid exercising too close to bedtime.
Keep a Sleep Journal
Keep track of your symptoms and how they affect your sleep habits with a sleep journal. Note any instances when you are woken up with pain and whether or not you did anything during the day that may have aggravated affected joints or your spine, if you have spine-based arthritis. These details can make it easier to identify patterns or habits that may be affecting your sleep.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the quality of your mattress. If a mattress is like a rock, it can make pain worse. However, one that’s not supportive enough can place too much pressure on some joints. Ideally, you want to choose a mattress that conforms to your body’s shape. Firm may work well for certain types of arthritis, but avoid anything that’s too hard. If a new bed isn’t in the budget, mattress toppers may help.