Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and insomnia linked to depressive symptoms, fatigue, and disability. The findings of the study suggest that addressing sleep issues in rheumatoid arthritis patients may improve depressive symptoms, fatigue, and disability.
The study was a cross-sectional examination of the relationship between sleep quality and rheumatoid arthritis, involving 162 rheumatoid arthritis patients.
The participants completed the following questionnaires: Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Beck Depression Inventory-II, Medical Outcomes Study Short Form – 36, and the Health Assessment Questionnaire. The results provided input on their sleep quality, depression, fatigue, and functional disability and pain severity, respectively. Patients also provided sociodemographic information and their medical history.
Lead author Dr. Faith S. Luyster said, “The primary finding of our study is that poor sleep quality is associated with greater functional disability among patients with RA, and this relationship may be explained by pain severity and fatigue. These results highlight the importance of addressing sleep complaints among patients with RA. By treating sleep problems, either pharmacologically or behaviorally, symptoms and activity limitations associated with RA may be reduced.”
“Not sleeping well at night can contribute to greater pain sensitivity and fatigue during the day which in turn can limit a patient’s ability to engage in activities of daily living and discretionary activities,” Luyster added.
Rheumatoid arthritis patients may benefit greatly from improved sleep quality, particularly in the areas of mental health and physical capability.
Tips to improve your sleep quality with rheumatoid arthritis
Poor sleep for anyone – regardless of the health condition – can take a negative toll on the body and mind. For rheumatoid arthritis patients specifically, poor sleep quality can affect their mental health along with physical abilities. Therefore, improving one’s quality of sleep can help relieve symptoms and improve health outcomes. Here are some tips to help boost sleep quality for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Consider changes to your pain medication – always consult your doctor before increasing or decreasing medication dosages.
- Avoid using heavy duvets or comforters as they can put added pressure on already painful joints.
- Rheumatoid arthritis patients are twice as likely to develop depression compared to individuals without RA, so it’s important to reduce stress and seek immediate help with any mental health issues.
- Stick to a sleep schedule as much as possible.
- Partake in regular physical activity.
- Ensure your bedroom is set up to promote sleep – cool temperature, darkness, fresh air.
- Use your bed only for sleeping, so that your mind knows when you’re in it you should be sleeping.
- Avoid using technology in the bed.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol in the evening.
- Avoid exercise too close to bedtime.
- Partake in relaxation techniques prior to bed, like taking a warm bath, meditating, etc.
By implementing these tips, you can have greater success at improving your sleep quality. If you are still having sleep issues, you may want to speak with your doctor, as there could be an underlying cause for your poor sleep that needs to be addressed.