If you have arthritis or other related conditions, you know that there are times when the pain "flares up" and makes it difficult to fall asleep. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep.
Elevate Your Legs
Simply elevating your legs will help to improve circulation and reduce pain. It can also help prevent the onset of leg cramps from occurring due to poor blood flow.
Make sure that you elevate your legs at least 6 inches higher than your heart - but not too high. Putting them too high may cause additional problems. You can even prop them up on pillows. This may not be as effective, but it will still help improve circulation and reduce pain.
Try Some Heat
Sitting in a hot bath or taking a warm shower before bedtime will help relax your muscles. It will be easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep - even when you have a flare-up.
Another option is to place a heating pad or hot water bottle on the most painful areas for 15 minutes right before you go to sleep. The heat will increase blood flow, relax your muscles and reduce pain.
Of course, you need to know that too much heat can irritate the skin, so check with your doctor before you try out this method.
Take Medications on Time
Make sure that you take your medications at the scheduled times. If you wait too long to take them, you are increasing the chances of a "flare-up."
Also, if you miss taking your medication by even an hour or two, it will cause more problems than if you had taken it as scheduled in the first place.
Calm Your Mind
It's a good idea to start winding down about an hour before you go to bed. It will be easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep when your mind is relaxed and not racing with different thoughts.
Meditate or Listen to Soothing Music
If your mind is busy with different thoughts when you go to bed, you are more likely to wake up during the middle of the night, and then it will be more difficult for you to fall back asleep.
Turn Things Down or Off
Turn down the lights and avoid any stimulating activities before sleep. This means no reading, watching TV, working on a computer, or watching movies right before bedtime. Electronics emit "blue light" which inhibits the production of melatonin - a chemical that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycles. Turn off the devices at least one hour before going to sleep.
In conclusion, Arthritis and related conditions such as Tendinitis, Bursitis, and Fibromyalgia can cause severe pain in the joints making it difficult or even impossible to fall asleep. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep.
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