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Advice from Dr. Arthritis: Arthritis and the Importance of Sleep

Advice from Dr. Arthritis: Arthritis and the Importance of Sleep

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According to studies, as many as 80% of arthritis sufferers experience some form of sleep disturbance. This can range from having trouble falling asleep, tossing and turning throughout the night, to actually waking up before you’ve managed to get any kind of rest at all. Ultimately, one too many nights of this can take a toll on your overall health—especially when you’re already dealing with chronic pain.

The relationship between sleep and arthritis is just as much about the pain keeping you up at night, as it is about not getting enough rest, leaving you more vulnerable to pain. Because fact is, lack of sleep makes pain worse. So if you want to take more active steps towards managing your pain, take note of these steps to make sure get a good night’s rest:

1. Talk to your doctor

A lot of arthritis sufferers fail to raise their sleep issues with their doctor thinking that it’s unrelated to their condition. Once you recognize that it is in fact important to get a full night of uninterrupted sleep, it’s important to start a dialogue with your doctor to see what’s preventing you from getting it. Is it because of too much pain? Do you take frequent trips to the bathroom? Is the stress causing you to toss and turn? Are you having difficulty breathing? All these can lead to you experiencing fatigue in the daytime. And addressing them could start with you opening to your doctor about it.

2. Maintain a regular schedule

As much as possible, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day—even during weekends. This will help your body maintain an internal clock.

3. Avoid long mid-afternoon naps

Napping in the middle of the day for more than 45 minutes can make it difficult for you to sleep in the evening. Try to keep yourself up during day time to ensure that you get a full night’s sleep.

4. Keep yourself active

If at all possible, try to maintain an active lifestyle. Those who get 150 minutes of moderate to intense activity daily are said to experience 65% less fatigue during daytime. Just make sure to do your exercise before the sun sets. Working out in the evening can work against you by stimulating brain activity, making it more difficult to sleep.

5. Keep your gadgets away

Power down your smartphone, keep your laptop away and resist the urge to use your tablet or Kindle while in bed. Frequent use of digital devices at night makes it difficult for your body to synchronize your internal body clock to the sun, because of the artificial light that your devices emit.

6. Manage your stress

Talking about your concerns as you try to deal with your condition is critical to avoiding sleepless nights due to stress. Try relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation to clear your mind and settle your thoughts.

Give these tips a try and see if it helps you enjoy a full night’s sleep. And as always, if you have any questions or want to know how aids such as compression garments can be used to manage your condition, leave us a message below.



Medically reviewed by Dr Adam Gunasekara. He is the Co-Founder of Doctor Arthritis. He graduated from The Imperial College London with an MBBS (MD) - The article was written by the Dr. Arthritis Editorial Team.

Our Team

1 Comment

  1. I like that you talked about how you must speak with your doctor if you have arthritis and you’re getting interrupted sleep. This is to find out what prevents you from getting a good sleep. My mother has been suffering from arthritis for over a month now. She has been constantly having trouble getting complete hours of sleep which causes her to have problems during the daytime. I will make sure to share your blog with her so she can visit a doctor as soon as possible for help.

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