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Arthritis and Sleep Disorders

Did you know that solely in the US, almost 55 million adults suffer from arthritis – a condition characterized by joint inflammation that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling? The most common arthritis types include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and gout.

Logically, the pain caused by arthritis can have a huge influence on sleep and make it challenging for a person to get a good night’s sleep. And, unfortunately, the poorer the sleep quality is the more severe pain people experience. On the other hand, if arthritis patients manage to improve their sleep, their pain will also be reduced. There’s obviously a strong connection between arthritis and sleep.

So, let’s have a look at how can different types of arthritis affect sleep and what can you do to improve your condition.

How Can Different Types of Arthritis Affect Sleep?

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sleep

According to a RA study, 57% of the participants – mostly women – said that they are having sleep issues, severe pain, and common functional disability. Another report showed that RA patients with sleep issues usually tend to have low pain thresholds. As a result, sleep deprivation in these people influences the way the brain manages pain and makes the entire condition even more painful.

What’s more, sleep issues in RA patients can lead to disease flare-ups, i.e. periods of high pain levels and symptom activity. People suffering from RA are also more likely to struggle with depression and performing daily activities.

Osteoarthritis and Sleep

Statistics show that 30% of people suffering from knee OA have difficulties falling asleep, 80% have issues staying asleep, while 75% report sleep as a general problem. Also, there’s a connection between sleep issues in OA patients with depression and functional disability. Researchers have also found out that these two health issues feed off of one another, meaning that pain impedes sleep and poor sleep makes you vulnerable to pain.

Psoriatic Arthritis and Sleep

Poor quality sleep is also reported by 68% of PsA patients in a recent study. The study also noted that these patients also have poor life quality and experience daytime fatigue. And, even though psoriatic arthritis isn’t a direct cause of poor sleep, the symptoms of the condition including pain and skin issues lead to sleep disorders. But, that’s not all! There’s also a strong relationship between PsA and sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome which are common sleep disorders.

Gout and Sleep

Another study aiming to assess sleep issues in people suffering from gout found out that 23% of the participants are also diagnosed with a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea was the most commonly diagnosed disorder, reported by 17% of the study participants. Plus, 86% reported snoring and 45% reported snorting, gasping, or breathing interruption while sleeping. Another finding is that sleep apnea patients are at double risk of developing gout.

What Can You Do to Improve your Condition?

Luckily, there are certain things arthritis patients can do to improve their symptoms and sleep. Here are some of them:

Good Sleep Hygiene

Practicing good sleep hygiene is one of the key factors for having a good night’s sleep. This means that you should avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine drinks several hours before bedtime, follow a strict sleep/wake schedule, and making your bedroom sleep-friendly.

Sleep Medications

Another thing you could try to improve your sleep and alleviate arthritis pain is taking sleep medications. Based on your symptoms, overall health condition, and other factors, your doctor may prescribe some of the following: Ambien (Zolpidem), Rozerem (Ramelteon), Restoril (Temazepam), Sonata (Zaleplon), or Halcion (Triazolam).

Natural Supplements

Last but not least, several natural supplements may help you have a good night’s rest such as melatonin and valerian root. Melatonin is actually a pineal gland hormone that can also be found as a synthetic version. Valerian roots or stems can be dried and prepared as teas or put into tablets or capsules.

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