How to Sleep Well With Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a painful condition that prevents a person from having a good night’s sleep. People with osteoarthritis are perpetually tired and exhausted due to lack of proper sleep. This can be overcome by taking proper precautions and following guidelines that will help a person with osteoarthritis to sleep comfortably and wake up feeling refreshed.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the joints in our body. Osteoarthritis attacks and weakens the cartilage between the bones present in the joints. Osteoarthritis weakens the cartilage and steadily wears it down and in some extreme cases, there is a total loss of cartilage.
Cartilage is a type of protein that serves as a cushion between the bones present in the joints. This cushion prevents the bones from rubbing against each other and also helps with the smooth movement of the joints. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the hands, hips, knees, feet and spine.
Sleeping well with Osteoarthritis
The mattress that you sleep on plays a very important role to help you sleep comfortably, without pain. The mattress should not be very soft or very hard. Choose a mattress that is firm and has a soft upper layer.
There are sleep accessories that help you have a good night’s sleep –
- Orthopedic mattresses are designed to support the joints, back, and overall body.
- Lumbar support pillow for the spine helps the spine to rest in its natural position.
- Cervical support pillow for the neck helps to support the neck in the correct position.
- Knee pillow is used between the legs, so as to raise your body to the proper level. This helps to keep your body in the correct position when you sleep on your side.
Consult with your doctor before you buy any sleep accessories.
How to sleep well with Osteoarthritis?
If your feet are affected by osteoarthritis, you might want to keep the weight of the blanket off your feet. There are blanket supports that can be attached to the end of the bed that holds the blanket suspended above your feet.
There are certain joints in the body that bear more weight (hips, feet, knees, spine). These joints can be easily affected by osteoarthritis. If you are overweight, try to lose some weight to take the excess strain off your joints. Losing weight will lessen pain in the joints and effectively helps you to get a good night’s sleep.
Taking pain medication before you go to bed, helps you have a good night’s sleep. Ask your doctor about this.
Stretching out your body slowly before going to sleep will help to relax the muscles attached to the joints. This helps to relieve pain and relaxes your body.
Do not do stretches in a hurry; this will increase the pain in your body. The best person to help you with the correct way of doing stretches or any form of exercise will be your physiotherapist.
Exercises for your joints
Remember to exercise your joints. Do not be without moving them; this will make the joints more stiff and rigid. Consult with your doctor and physiotherapist for the best exercises for your joints. These exercises will help to relieve pain.
Remember, exercises should be done exactly as your physiotherapist tells you to. If you do not follow the instructions, you will end up injuring your joints even more.
Points to remember to sleep well
- Do not drink coffee before you sleep
- Have a hot shower before going to bed; this helps to relieve body pain and also helps to relax the muscles
- Switch off your cell, if possible. Stop using your laptops/tablets/iPad half an hour before your sleep time
- Breathing exercises can help you fall asleep
- Talk to friends who have osteoarthritis, and they will share their experiences with you
- Do not think about any stressful issues when you go to bed
You can sleep well with Osteoarthritis when you know how.
© 2012 Nithya Venkat