Arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, is a common disease among older adults. That is probably not going to help sufferers feel better. Arthritis hurts and learning how you can manage that pain, especially at night, can bring pain relief.
Poor Sleep and Arthritis Related
The Arthritis Foundation says that more than 70 percent of people with osteoarthritis have a problem sleeping well. That lack of good rest can lead to general depression. The thing is, pain and insomnia “feed off one another,” according to the foundation. Pain keeps you awake at night, and poor sleep can make you more aware of your pain. The concept has to do with something called pain centralization. That means the nerves that relay the pain become over-sensitized and amplify it as well.
The depression part of the equation also stems from amplification of sorts. Lying awake at night, or waking frequently, can cause sufferers to panic over the pain and their ability to manage it. People can be left feeling hopeless and pessimistic about life in general. That is called pain catastrophizing. Both pain centralization and pain catastrophizing are directly related to poor sleep.
Arthritis and the Right Mattress
Not all mattresses are good for people with arthritis. Here are a few things to consider when buying a mattress when you have arthritis.
Of course, it is important for your spine to stay in alignment so that there is not too much pressure on joints, but mattresses should also be soft enough to cushion those aching knees, backs, hips, and shoulders.
Your Sleep Position
The position in which you sleep makes a difference as well. People who sleep on their sides need a softer mattress, while those who sleep on their backs need the support of one that’s firmer. Memory foam or latex mattresses provide that extra cushioning, while coil mattresses or hybrids give more firm support.
Larger people may need the support of a coil mattress or a hybrid.
If you are someone who often gets too warm at night, though, a foam mattress may not be good because it can trap heat. A copper-infused foam mattress or one with pocket coils may be better.
Foam mattresses will compress over time, especially if you sleep in the same position much of the time. If your choice is a foam mattress, it should be one that is durable and will retain its ability to conform to your shape.
Whatever type you decide upon, it is important to choose the best rated mattress, because a mattress is not a small expenditure, and should be a wise investment.
Other Pain Management Methods to Try
In addition to the perfect mattress for you, there are some other things that can help you get a good night’s sleep, even with arthritis. Of course, you can always try pain medication. The timing of your meds is important. If they wear off too soon, they will leave you tossing in pain. Other pain management can help too. First, about twenty minutes before retiring try a heating pad or an ice pack. Ice can help reduce the inflammation of arthritis, and heat soothes the pain.
You can try positioning pillows to reduce the pressure on your joints, put them between your knees if you sleep on your side or under them if you sleep on your back.
Satin sheets or pajamas can reduce friction and help you turn over more easily. Taking a hot bath before bedtime can soak sore muscles and joints and help you relax and get to sleep quicker. During the day, you might try exercise, especially water exercise, and stress reduction.
Then, after a full day, you can come home ready to get needed rest. Your pain management routine and the perfect mattress will position you for a good night’s sleep, and your arthritic joints will thank you.