Do you find yourself tossing and turning all night, hounded by the discomfort from arthritis? You are definitely not alone. Up to 80% of people with arthritis have trouble sleeping. With achy joints and inflammation, it is no wonder getting comfortable, dozing off, and staying asleep is a challenging task. However, Fred’s Beds, the leading mattress store in Cumming, knows that getting enough sleep is actually much more important than you think, especially for those with arthritis. It’s important to understand how sleep affects your arthritis pain, as well as how to address the resulting insomnia.
Most people consider their restless nights an unfortunate side effect of arthritis pain. But new research is finding that the relationship actually works both ways – poor sleep can make your joint pain worse, and even increase the likelihood that you may become disabled or depressed. According to Arthritis Research & Therapy, sleep problems are associated with decreased pain thresholds in women with rheumatoid arthritis at multiple body sites when pressure was applied.
So why does disrupted sleep affect pain? It could be because of deficits in the way the central nervous system processes pain. Findings suggest the central nervous system pathways, like the spinal cord and the brain, that regulate pain may be abnormal in people who are not sleeping well. This causes a vicious cycle of unrest due to pain and pain due to unrest.
Our new understanding of the sleep-pain relationship means that treating insomnia is a vital part of managing arthritis. Here are some of the best ways to remedy your disrupted sleep cycle:
It is always important to manage your arthritis pain, but it is especially crucial right before bedtime. Try to organize your medication schedule so that it provides peak relief and avoid doing activities that typically cause flare-ups around the time you want to get in bed.
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends and vacation, will help your body develop an internal alarm clock. Do not try to make up for lost sleep – it will only disrupt your sleep cycle more. You should try to get between six and eight hours of sleep every night. Also avoid naps, which further interrupt your natural cycle. A consistent routine will help you sleep longer and better.
Being as active as you can during the day will strengthen your muscles and joints, and it can make you tired enough to go right to sleep. Physical activity has also been shown to ease stress, which helps you get a restful sleep. While this advice is pretty simple, being active isn’t always easy when you’re suffering from arthritis. Try activities like swimming, water aerobics, or walking to gently exercise your joints and make your body eager for sleep.
Ease stiff or swollen joints with a heating pad for 15 to 20 minutes before bed. You could also take a soothing bath for the same effect. Remember to give yourself time to cool down afterward, though, because it’s difficult to sleep when you’re overheated.
Your bedroom should be reserved for sleep only. If you do that, your mind with associate your bed with sleep. This mental suggestion can go a long way in helping you establish regular sleeping patterns. You can also create a sleep-friendly environment by avoiding electronics like TVs, computers, or smartphones.
Your mattress also makes a big difference in your efforts to alleviate arthritis-induced insomnia. Knee pain can be helped with a pillow under or between your knees. A small pillow under your neck can help align your spine and avoid neck pain while you sleep. For lower back pain, experts suggest a medium-firm mattress.
At Fred’s Beds, we want to help you get the sleep you deserve. We have everything you need to get a comfortable night’s rest, so visit our mattress store in Cumming or give us a call at 770-205-2327 to get a high-quality mattress that fits your needs and budget.
We are open from 10 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday and 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays.