Nov 7, 2019

Seven Important Sleep Tips for Arthritis Sufferers

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Darkness is settling in sooner, plants are shedding their leaves, and animals are prepping for the cold. It’s obvious that nature is telling us it is time to slow down, and if you suffer from arthritis, you must listen. Fall is here, so that means it’s time to settle in sooner and get plenty of rest. As most arthritis sufferers know, the pain and achiness make sleeping soundly and comfortably very difficult. Unfortunately, poor sleep habits can exacerbate your symptoms, which creates a vicious cycle of pain and lack of sleep. Because of this cycle, arthritis patients must get adequate sleep. If pain and stiffness are keeping you from falling asleep and staying asleep, try following these six tips.

Keep a consistent schedule.

Follow good and regular habits every night to promote quality sleep. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, avoid caffeine and large meals before bed, establish a night routine that lets your body know its bedtime. Implementing a consistent routine will help your body develop an internal clock which will help you sleep longer and better.

Get moving.

Studies show that people who are active sleep better and more deeply. Your joints are meant to move so keep them mobile. Whether that means walking or yoga, be sure to stay active and stretch properly. However, ensure you are doing any vigorous activity before sunset, as getting your heart rate up too close to bedtime can prevent proper sleep.

Avoid technology.

Using technological devices before bed confuses your body’s internal clock, suppresses the release of melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Research shows this is due to the artificial blue light that’s emitted by these devices. The more electronic devices that a person uses in the evening, the harder it is to fall asleep or stay asleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, using technology increases your alertness at a time when you should be getting sleepy, they delay the onset of REM sleep, reduce the total amount of REM sleep, and compromise alertness the next morning. Over time, these effects can add up to a chronic deficiency in sleep.

Keep a sleep journal.

Keep track of your bedtime habits for a few weeks. Include what time you went to bed and woke up, any power naps, and how tired you felt throughout the day. Pay close attention to how much caffeine or alcohol you drank, if you took any medications if you exercised or any stressful events that occurred during the day.

Make your bed a sanctuary.

Make your bedroom a sanctuary for only sleep. Keep the environment quiet, dark and at a comfortable but cool temperature. Invest in a supportive mattress and cozy sheets. Get creative with your pillows, use them wherever needed to make your body feel the most comfortable. Preform lots of research to find the best pillow and mattress for you.

Use heat therapy in the evening.

Ease joint pain before bed by using a heating pad or soaking in a warm bath. Not only is this relaxing, but it soothes achy joints and muscles. During this time indulge yourself, use this as a reward for a healthy workout and make it a part of your nightly routine.

Talk to your doctor.

It seems simple, but people with arthritis get used to not sleeping and often forget to speak up. If you are struggling with sleep, consult the experts at Carolina Arthritis today! We have seven knowledgeable physicians who are all here to help and improve your quality of life.

Arthritis and sleep problems do not have to be just a part of life that you must deal with, they are manageable. There is no reason to be in constant pain and struggle with inadequate sleep. Make an appointment with Carolina Arthritis Associates and together let’s explore solutions that help you rest a little easier!