For many Americans, arthritis pain can make it tough to get a good night’s sleep. To make it worse, the act of tossing and turning can aggravate arthritis symptoms and increase the level of joint pain.
Studies have shown that there tends to be a reciprocal relationship between poor sleep and pain. The less sleep people get, the more pain they tend to be in. That being said, if arthritis patients can improve their quality of sleep, they may be able to reduce their day-to-day pain.
Knowing how to get better quality sleep is the key to reducing arthritis pain and other related symptoms. The following are eight simple tips to help ensure a better night’s sleep.
Deal with pain before bedtime
If you try and go to bed in pain, it’s almost certain you will not get a good night’s sleep. Try to arrange your medication schedule so that it can help to provide relief around bedtime.
No stimulants before bed
Everyone knows that having a cup of coffee right before bed is not a good idea. But there are many hidden sources of caffeine that you could unknowingly be taking that are keeping you up at night. Always check labels before taking any over-the-counter pain relievers, sodas, and teas before consuming before bedtime.
While you can’t eliminate all stress from your life, you can try to de-stress before bedtime. Experts recommend trying to avoid stressful thoughts or activities before bedtime, including watching the news.
Try and get as much physical activity in during the day as possible. This will help to strengthen muscles and joints and help with getting better quality sleep. Research has also shown that exercise can be a great stress reliever.
Create a sleep space
Reserve your bedroom space for sleeping only. Make the bedroom as sleep conducive as possible by eliminating any TVs, radios, and cell phones, and put up heavy curtains to block out any external light.
Don’t stay in bed
Staying in bed too long or lying there when you can’t sleep can increase insomnia. While it may sound paradoxical, suggest only going to bed when you are sleepy enough to fall asleep.
Do not rely on sleep aids
For those with acute insomnia, sleep aids can be helpful. However, for those who have chronic insomnia, which is often those with arthritis, the first line of treatment should be better sleep hygiene.
Basic sleeping habits are sometimes called, “sleep hygiene.” When followed properly, these habits can have a dramatic effect on improving sleep quality and reducing the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.