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How to Sleep Better With Osteoarthritis

Posted by Eileen Pelletier on January 14, 2016. 0 Comments

About 25% of adults with arthritis are said to suffer from sleep disturbance. Studies have shown that hip or knee osteoarthritis is associated with increased sleep problems -- either insomnia or insufficient sleep.

It seems logical that better pain control would help you sleep better. If your osteoarthritis pain is not well-managed, have a conversation with your doctor about other options for pain control besides what you are doing now.

There are also several simple ideas that can help you sleep better with osteoarthritis. These ideas have to do with your habits and environment.

Change Habits for Better Sleep

Keep regular sleep habits in terms of when you go to bed and when you wake up. Stick with your routine even on days off and vacation.

Don't deviate and disrupt your sleep pattern.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the late afternoon and beyond. If consumed too close to bedtime, caffeine products may keep you from falling asleep or sleeping soundly. Drinking alcohol around bedtime also can disturb sleep.

Try not to nap in the daytime. Napping may interfere with nighttime sleep. Realistically, some arthritis patients need a nap to get through the day. If you must, set an alarm to give you a limited nap.

Keep activities that work against rest and sleep out of the bed. Watching a scary movie on TV, using your laptop to work or play games, or reading thought-provoking materials while in bed likely will not promote sleep.

Avoid exercising within a few hours of bedtime. While exercising in the daytime can actually improve sleep, exercise that is too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep.

Get Comfortable

Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. The reasons for this recommendation are obvious. Light, noise, and feeling hot are all disruptive to sleep.

Get bedding and bed clothes that are silky and slippery. You will be unencumbered if you have bedding and pajamas that allow you to move easily in bed. Material that is restrictive will make you uncomfortable and may disrupt sleep.

Stack extra pillows where you need them. Always have extra pillows available. Adding a pillow under a sore joint can relieve pain and support the joint. Taking pressure off of the joint will help you sleep.

Have a light snack. A growling stomach is sure to keep you awake. Eat something light and have some milk.

Invite your pet to join you. Is there anything more comforting than laying with your beloved cat or dog? If you are a pet-lover, you know the answer. Being close to Fido or Felix may help you sleep better. However, you should know that many doctors recommend against this because nocturnal activity of cats and dogs may repetitively disturb your sleep without you even knowing it.

The Bottom Line

The goal is to stop any habits that disrupt sleep and promote habits that enhance sleep. Feeling relaxed and comfortable are essential to promoting better sleep.

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