Nearly a quarter of American adults have arthritis that’s been diagnosed by a doctor. Symptoms often include joint pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion. Since arthritis affects the joints, it’s easy to understand why movement can be affected. But, what a lot of people don’t know is that arthritis can affect your sleep, too.
At Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation in Pembroke Pines, Florida, David Berkower, DO, helps his patients relieve the symptoms of arthritis, improving not only their movement and activity, but their sleep health, too. In this post, learn how arthritis could be affecting your sleep and what you can do about it.
Arthritis and sleep
Even though you don’t move as much during sleep as you do during your waking hours, arthritis can still take a toll, making it difficult to get restorative, refreshing sleep. In fact, as many as 80% of people with arthritis have symptoms that interfere with their sleep, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
What’s more, not getting enough sleep can make your arthritis symptoms worse, and it can make it harder to cope with the pain, too. Over time, that can lead to increased risks for depression and anxiety, along with greater pain and disability.
The relationship between sleep and arthritis symptoms is still being explored, but researchers think several factors are probably at play. Holding your body still during sleep may lead to increased muscle strain and stiffness, while sleep positions may put pressure on joints that aren’t subjected to that type of strain when you’re up and about.
Your body doesn’t release as many anti-inflammatory chemicals during the night, while other chemicals released during sleep can increase inflammation. And finally, sleep is also a time when we tend to mull over the stresses of the day, another factor that can lead to an increase in pain.
Catch those Zzzs
If your arthritis symptoms are interfering with your sleep, the first thing you should do is schedule an evaluation with Dr. Berkower. After evaluating your joints and symptoms, he can prescribe a treatment optimized for you specifically that may include oral medications, topical gels, joint injections, or physical therapy. In addition, you can try these simple DIY solutions.
Improve your sleep habits
Make sure your room is designed for rest and relaxation. Keep the temperature cool, use dim lights, and turn off all electronics an hour prior to sleep. Set a regular bedtime and stick to it. And finally, invest in a good bed and comfortable bedding.
Take a warm bath
A warm bath can help relax tense muscles that could be making your symptoms worse. Plus, it may help you relax mentally, too.
Rethink your pillows
If your neck gets sore, try a flatter pillow or consider swapping out your pillow for a neck roll or even a rolled up towel. For sore legs, arms, or back, use a few extra pillows to add some support that can take some of the pressure off your aching joints.
Get plenty of exercise
Exercise is great for arthritis, as long as you don’t overdo it. Plus, it can help you sleep better at night. Bonus: Regular exercise can even help you drop extra pounds that could be adding strain to your knees, hips, back, and feet. Opt for low-impact activities, such as walking or swimming.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Consuming caffeine and alcohol can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can also lower the quality of your sleep. Avoid consuming both in the evening.
Wear loose pajamas
Forget about fashion when it comes to pajamas. Instead, opt for comfy, cozy, and loose. Pajamas that don’t bind also won’t restrict your movements at night, which can help reduce discomfort around sore, arthritic joints.
Arthritis solutions that work
Arthritis affects different people in different ways, and having a custom treatment plan is essential for finally finding relief. To learn how we can design an arthritis treatment plan just for you, call 954-430-9972 or book an appointment online with Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation today.