There are over 100 different types of arthritis, affecting as many as 50 million adults, however, the most common form is osteoarthritis (OA), otherwise known as degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs typically when the cartilage (essentially, cushioning) between your joints deteriorates, causing pain, inflammation, or stiffness. Osteoarthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation, affects 27 million Americans and is most common among individuals above 65 years of age. About 70% of people with OA have some kind of sleep disturbance. Troubles range from having problems falling or staying asleep to waking up earlier than desired. The pain and stiffness of arthritis are tolerable during the day but it may prevent you from getting good sleep at night. Poor sleep can cause pain to be worse, creating a frustrating cycle of pain and poor sleep. If pain from osteoarthritis is keeping you from falling asleep try following these tips…
Consider Your Mattress
If you have arthritis, your mattress should be supportive but not hard. A good mattress can make a big difference. If you do not want to invest in a new mattress think about investing in a mattress topper.
Use Pillows Strategically
If you have hip or knee arthritis you may benefit from a pillow between your knees. If you have shoulder arthritis you may benefit from using a wedge pillow and sleeping on your back.
Use Heat Therapy Before Bed
Fifteen to twenty minutes before bed use a heating pad on painful joints or take a warm bath for the same effect.
Rule Out Sleep Apnea
It is possible to have sleep apnea and not know it. If you snore or wake up feeling tired talk to your doctor about undergoing a sleep study. Sleep apnea causes interrupted sleep throughout the night and being overweight increases the risk of osteoarthritis.
Exercise and Stretch
If you are unsure of how to exercise consult your doctor. However regular exercise tends to decrease joint pain and helps maintain a joint range of motion. Avoid eating after 9 P.M. Two to Three hours before bedtime stop eating. Eating at night generally causes poor sleep. Eating at night before bed also causes gastrointestinal reflux which can worsen sleep quality.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene and Fitness
A wide variety of different techniques and sleep aids promote a normal, high-quality night’s sleep leading to full alertness and energy during the day. Just as one might practice good dental hygiene to keep teeth and gums in good shape, good sleep hygiene is designed to improve the quantity and quality of sleep. Good sleep suggestions…
- Limiting daytime naps to 30 minutes
- Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime
- Exercising to promote good quality sleep
- Steering clear of food that can be disruptive right before sleep
- Ensuring adequate exposure to natural light (Exposure to sunlight during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep/wake schedule)
- Establishing a regular relaxing bedtime routine
- Making sure that the sleep environment is pleasant
Meditation may help you sleep better. As a relaxation technique, it can quiet the mind and body while enhancing inner peace. When done before bedtime, meditation may help reduce insomnia and sleep troubles by promoting overall calmness. Many phone apps, online videos, and DVD’s offer recorded guided meditation.
Take a Nighttime Pain Reliever
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure your sleep aid does not interact with any other medications or supplements you take during the day. There are several types of over the counter and prescriptions specifically intended to release pain and help you sleep better.
Remember arthritis, chronic pain, and sleep problems are all treatable. If you are struggling with poor sleep because of arthritis pain, make an appointment to see your doctor and explore solutions.
For persistent joint pain that is interfering with your daily activities, see a Tristate rheumatologist to make the correct diagnosis and begin the proper treatment.
Contact Us (859-331-3100) For More Information to Request an Appointment
Tristate Arthritis and Rheumatology is first and largest Rheumatology practice in the Northern Kentucky area. Founded by Dr. Arthur Kunath in 1986, our rheumatology practice now consists of six doctors who are board certified in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology and a Physician Assistant. Patients see one doctor (except in emergencies), thereby assuring continuity of care and an individualized doctor-patient atmosphere giving the physician the ability to establish personalized and detailed relationships. Our doctors have received numerous awards, including being listed as “Top Doctors” in Cincinnati Magazine, receiving the Patient’s Choice Award, the Most Compassionate Doctor Award, and the American College of Rheumatology’s “My Doc Rocks” award.
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