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How to Sleep Well With Osteoarthritis?

Updated on October 1, 2019
Vellur profile image

A Botany graduate, Nithya Venkat enjoys researching and writing about topics that interest her.

Severe arthritis of the joints in the hand
Severe arthritis of the joints in the hand | Source

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?

Blanket supports

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.

Weight Control

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.

Pain medication

Taking pain medication before you go to bed, helps you have a good night’s sleep. Ask your doctor about this.

Stretching Out

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.



Mayo Clinic

© 2012 Nithya Venkat


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    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 years ago from Dubai

      Jackie Lynnley, crumbling bones and painful joints make life a misery. Thank you for stopping by.

      BlissfulWriter thank you for this valuable piece of information. This will be very helpful.

      rajan jolly thank you for stopping by, thanks for the vote too.

      teaches12345 pillows help a great deal to ease the pain. Thank you for the vote and sharing too.

      crystaleyes am so happy that my hub will be of use to you, thanks for stopping by and the vote too.

      Gail Meyers, yes these points are to be kept in mind for a good night's sleep. Thank you for stopping by and the vote too.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 

      8 years ago from Johnson County, Kansas

      Thanks for this informative and well written hub. My Grandmother had this and these sound like great tips to keep in mind. Voted up and useful.

    • crystaleyes profile image


      8 years ago from Earth

      Very Informative hub, thanks, my mother is suffering from osteoarthritis, this is very useful indeed! voted up

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      I have a friend who uses pillows to support her during sleep for this reason. I am sure people who suffer from this will find it very helpful. Voted up and shared.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Wonderful info, Nithya. Voted up and useful.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      8 years ago

      New research is showing a link of gluten sensitivity to some form of osteoarthritis. We already know that there is a link between gluten and cases of rheumatoid arthritis. And we know that people with osteoporosis are told to check for gluten sensitivity. So anyone with these condition should do a blood antibody test to check for gluten sensitivity. A lot of the time eliminating gluten will improve conditions.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      8 years ago from the beautiful south

      My mom had this and I know this is very important info for those who suffer with this. Crumbling bones can make for many restless nights and waking in pain so all your advice is very good.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 years ago from Dubai

      Cathy Fidelibus thank you for stopping by.

      RhondaHumphreys1 I hope your pain has subsided to some extent, take care.

      billybuc am glad you do not have this, thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend.

      Eiddwen thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend too.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      8 years ago from Wales

      So interesting and useful to many Vellur.

      Thanks for sharing and enjoy your weekend.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thankfully I do not have this; great job presenting some very useful information.

      Have a wonderful weekend!


    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image

      Rhonda Humphreys 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      I have osteoarthritis in my knees and hips and you are correct it is very hard to sleep. I have tried many different things and nothing seems to help with the pain. Voted up.

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 

      8 years ago from NJ

      Very informative, I will pass it on.


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