Sleep is an interesting thing with Rheumatoid Arthritis. We are often caught between, "Oh god, I am so tired." and, "This pain is keeping me up." or the get to sleep, but we slept too long so now we wake up in great pain. We can't always win, but we are human and require sleep so there are a few things we can do to try and sleep better with this painful condition.
Here Are 8 Ways I Sleep With Painsomnia From Rheumatoid Arthritis:
1. Mattress Matters
I was recommended by an Occupational Therapist to get a medium firm mattress. Once I did my, my sleep became so much better. Mattresses too soft ends up painful. Use pillows for extra support, especially on inflammation joints that need elevation.
2. Daily Exercise
Don't exercise 4-5 hours before bed, it gets difficult to fall asleep. I sleep better when I am active and consistent with my daily exercising. The sauna which I do after my cardio or strength training at my local rec center helps relieve tension in my muscles and relaxes me. It was a challenge at first to build up my ability to do cardio and especially without napping after or making it in the morning hours, but over time it did become easier and my sleep got better. Here are some photos to prove my sleep got better when I got more active.
3. Soothing The Body and The Mind
Doing gentle relaxing yoga movements and mediation can help soothe the achy body and stirring mind.
Read More: Arthritis Friendly Yoga Videos by The Arthritis Foundation
4. A Little Boost
Melatonin, Aleeve night time, CBD oil, muscle relaxer, those are my go-to when I just can't sleep.
5. Know if it's side effects or symptom related
I couldn't sleep because I was experiencing extreme night-sweats. I've since learned this is common with both RA and Fibromyalgia plus cymbalta. I lowered my cymbalta dosage and it has reduced my night-sweats significantly. Skip the caffeine once it is late in the day.
6. Know Your Triggers
If I eat poorly I am more likely to get those pesky night-sweats, middle of the night diarrhea and stomach pains and overall painsomnia, my feet have more of a chance of flaring. Too much sugar and white flour are big culprits for me. Dehydration and stress can also trigger painsomna.
7. Hot Bath with lavender, chamomile, jasmine, rose or magnesium.
8. Remember To Rest And Not Feel Guilty About It
Daytime naps between 20-40 minutes are great, but rest longer if you need to. Too long can cause more fatigue but there are times when fatigue just takes over, those are the days you know your sleep cycle is wonky and if you know fatigue is going to be a problem, don't feel guilty if you have to cancel or reschedule, it's your disease that is flakey, not you. Overtime you will know what you can and can't handle and sometimes it pops up unexpectedly. You will also lean how to prepare for big events and perfect your schedule, listen to your body.