If you have arthritis, there’s a high chance you have trouble sleeping at night. Studies show that individuals with arthritis suffer from sleep disturbance as moderate to severe joint pain can prevent you from getting comfortable and staying asleep.
Lack of quality sleep has harmful effects on your overall health. It increases your risk of developing depression, anxiety, and other chronic diseases. Sleep deprivation may also launch a vicious cycle that makes arthritis pain worse at night and keeps you from getting enough shuteye.
If arthritis is interfering with your sleep, here are some useful tips to help you take back control.
Talk to Your Doctor About Proper Arthritis Management
The goal of arthritis treatment is to control symptoms, minimize joint damage, and improve joint function and quality of life. By assessing your condition, your doctor can create a treatment plan that works best for you. An effective treatment plan can alleviate your pain and help you have restful sleep.
Your doctor may recommend one or a combination of the following treatment options:
- Arthritis medication comes in different forms such as painkillers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, counterirritants, and joint injections.
- Physical Therapy. Therapy can reduce stiffness and pain, as well as improve your range of motion.
- Joint Immobilization. Your doctor can also recommend wearing a splint or brace to avoid unnecessary movement for pain and swelling while at rest.
- Surgery is an option for advanced arthritis and when conservative methods no longer work to alleviate symptoms.
Maintain a Sleep Schedule and Adjust Your Sleep Environment
Your provider will also recommend lifestyle changes to help you sleep better. If you have trouble settling in at night, consider setting a sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time daily reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Stick to this schedule as much as possible, even on weekends.
Keep your bedroom quiet and cool, and make it a no-screen zone since the lights from your phone make it harder to fall asleep. You can add darkening shades to make your room more conducive for rest. You may also do calming activities before bedtime, like reading a book, listening to music, drinking a glass of milk, or taking a bath.
In addition to pain from your joints, don’t take too many daytime naps since it might keep you awake at night. If you want to catch up on sleep during the afternoon, set your alarm for half an hour, and avoid napping late in the day.
Getting enough physical activity remains one of the most effective ways to relieve arthritis pain and improve the quality of your sleep. Because of your arthritis, however, you have to limit yourself to low-impact exercises. Consult your doctor about activities that do not put significant pressure on your joints like walking, cycling, water aerobics, and dancing.
If you haven’t been active for a while, you can begin walking 3–5 minutes twice a day. Once your body has adjusted, you may increase your activities and duration. However, modify your exercise plan if you experience any pain or stiffness. Don’t forget to warm-up and cool down.
Maintaining an active lifestyle will help bring you pain relief, brighten your mood, and enhance the quality of your sleep and your life in the long run.
Learn How to Manage Stress
If you’re the type who finds it hard to relax, arthritis pain can make going to sleep more challenging. You can try starting a journal and writing down your thoughts. Call a family member or friend to unload your worries.
Consider enrolling in meditation or yoga classes to soothe your mind. You can also explore cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of psychotherapy where you learn how to identify and modify thought patterns to respond to stress better.
Arthritis Doctor in Tucson, Arizona
Individuals with arthritis are more likely to develop excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, or experience short sleep duration than those without arthritis. Although there is no known cure for arthritis, it is possible to manage the disease and control its symptoms with a doctor who’s invested in every point of your care.
Dr. Robert Lending is a board-certified internal medicine specialist who can craft a personalized treatment plan to help you live and sleep better with arthritis. Dr. Lending is committed to delivering customized healthcare through his concierge practice. He takes the time to listen to your situation, so you can actively participate in your treatment. He will make sure to customize his approach to meet your unique needs.