Dr. Arthritis Shares: Top Tips To Manage Painsomnia

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Painsomnia—a person’s inability to sleep due to pain.

If you have arthritis, then sadly, you’re all too familiar with this condition. In fact, according to statistics, almost 80 percent of arthritis sufferers have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep—and it’s a problem that’s common among across the different types of arthritis.

Even more worrying is the fact that painsomnia leads to a scary and overwhelming vicious cycle. All day you’re tired from trying to manage the symptoms of your arthritis. You go home, exhausted from the pain, but you still can’t sleep at night. The next day, you start your day even more exhausted, with added feelings of anxiety on whether this is how it’s going to be from here on out—and you end up going through the whole thing again.

Painsomnia is a real and unfortunately, inevitable part of our diagnosis. So we asked members of this community what they do to manage it. Here are some top tips you can try below—

1. Try using a thin pillow or a neck roll to keep your neck straight during sleep

For most neck arthritis sufferers, it helps to keep their neck straight at night. Using the thinnest pillow possible helps provide that needed support without putting your neck in a weird angle. We recommend using the kind sold for backpackers or rolling up a small towel that you can position at the base of your neck.

2. Turn the thermostat down

Cold typically causes arthritis symptoms to flare up, but a lot of arthritis sufferers recommend turning the thermostat down during bedtime. While heat is known for keeping joints more limber and minimizing pain, sleeping in a warm room often makes you restless and you simply end up tossing and turning. On really bad flare days, try keeping the temperature down but using a heated mattress or blanket to soothe your aching joints and prevent it locking during the night.

3. Take a warm, hot bath

A good soak in the tub can help you relax and loosen up painful joints, which makes it an ideal pre-bedtime ritual. If your schedule permits, by all means, make the most out of it and treat yourself to a long, hot bath. Allow your body to soak up all that heat for as long as possible.

4. Wear your compression gloves or sleeves overnight

People normally use their compression gear during daytime, when they have to do activities that will require additional support. For some however, sleeping in compression sleeves or gloves help minimize the throbbing during the night. Go one size larger than your usual size though. Since you’re using it overnight, you don’t want to feel too constricted but still want to receive some level of compression.

5. Try melatonin supplements

Melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle is available in pill form. The herbal supplement can bought over the counter at your local pharmacy and could help you sleep faster. As with any new medication that you intend to take, be sure however to first consult a trusted physician about it.

Any more tips that you think are worth sharing to manage painsomnia? Leave a message in our comment section below.

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