Tips For Osteoarthritis Patients Struggling with Insomnia
We know that osteoarthritis and insomnia are connected. If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, we’ve got some tips to help you reclaim peaceful nights without sleep aids or medications.
It is challenging enough to deal with the pain of osteoarthritic joints as you go about your activities during the day; when night falls, you want the comfort of a refreshing night’s sleep. People with hip and knee osteoarthritis experience insomnia more often than their peers with healthy joints, but there are steps you can take to sleep better and wake ready for a new day.
Osteoarthritis and insomnia are intimately related, and studies suggest that poor sleep may be the trigger to joint pain, rather than the consequence of joint pain. This is hopeful news, because sleep issues are easier to treat than joint pain.
Researchers hypothesize that osteoarthritis sufferers may indulge habits not conducive to sleep, like an irregular sleep schedule, daytime napping, eating heavily or watching TV before bed, or cultivating a noisy, uncomfortable bedroom. If you can reform behaviors that result in poor sleep, you may be able to rest more soundly and modify your joint pain.
There are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep, short of using sleep medications and experiencing the side effects that come with them. Try some of the following behavior changes instead:
- Avoid heavy meals right before bed.
- Stay away from caffeinated or alcoholic beverages in the few hours before you retire.
- Keep your television set out of your bedroom.
- Maintain a sleeping environment that is comfortably cool, quiet, and dark.
- Go to bed only when you feel tired and sleepy.
With a few adjustments in your evening habits, you may find yourself enjoying more restful nights, and relief from the discomfort of osteoarthritic joints.
Dr. Choi helps chronic pain sufferers understand the link between stress and back pain.
Ask the Expert: Regenerative Medicine Video Series
Hand specialist Dr. Blake Hildahl explains how symptoms aid diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome.