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5 Tips To Sleep Better With Arthritis

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, offers five tips to help individuals with arthritis achieve restorative and peaceful sleep.

 

Arthritis is a broad term encompassing over 100 types of joint diseases. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling, which can make sleep elusive for those affected,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

 

“Poor sleep, in turn, can worsen arthritis symptoms, creating a vicious cycle that negatively affects one’s quality of life. However, there are strategies and lifestyle changes that can significantly improve sleep for people with arthritis.”

 

Affinity Health highlights five tips to sleep better with arthritis.

Optimise Your Sleep Environment

Ensuring a comfortable sleep environment is essential for everyone, but it’s particularly crucial for arthritis patients. Here are some tips to enhance your sleep setting:

 

  • Choose a comfortable mattress and pillows that properly support your body. Memory foam or adjustable mattresses can help distribute your body weight evenly, reducing pressure on painful joints.
  • Maintain a calm, dark, and quiet bedroom. Use blackout curtains and use white noise machines to mask disruptive sounds.
  • Keep the bedroom well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature. A slightly cooler room (around 18-21°C) is generally conducive to better sleep.

Pain Management

Managing pain is a central aspect of improving sleep for people with arthritis. Consult with your healthcare provider to explore pain relief options, which may include:

 

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications to manage inflammation and pain.
  • Physical therapy or exercises tailored to your condition to improve joint function and reduce discomfort.
  • Heat or cold therapy can be applied to painful joints before bedtime to alleviate pain and stiffness.

Evening Routine for Relaxation

Establishing a calming evening routine can signal your body that it’s time to wind down. Try incorporating the following relaxation techniques:

 

  • Gentle stretching exercises to alleviate tension and promote flexibility.
  • Warm baths or showers, particularly with Epsom salts, can help relax muscles and soothe joint pain.
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation can calm the mind and reduce anxiety that might interfere with sleep.

Mindful Sleep Positioning

Choosing the correct sleep position can make a significant difference in reducing pain and discomfort. While preferences vary, many people living with arthritis find relief by:

 

  • Sleeping on their back with a pillow under their knees to reduce pressure on the lower back and hips.
  • Placing a pillow between their knees when sleeping on their side to keep the spine aligned and relieve pressure on the hips and knees.
  • Not sleeping on your stomach, as this can strain the neck and spine.

Diet and Lifestyle Choices

The foods you consume and your daily lifestyle habits can influence arthritis symptoms and sleep quality:

 

  • Eat a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon or mackerel.
  • Caffeine and alcohol consumption should be limited, especially in the hours before bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day but reduce fluid intake closer to bedtime to avoid waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom.
  • Regular physical activity, such as gentle exercises or walking, can aid in the improvement of joint function and the reduction of pain. However, avoid strenuous exercise close to bedtime because it may stimulate your body and disrupt sleep.

 

In addition to these tips, individuals with arthritis must work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a personalised plan for managing their condition and improving sleep. Arthritis medications and treatments continue to advance, offering more effective options to manage pain and inflammation.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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