Waking in the morning with ease and getting a good night’s sleep when you have arthritis pain can be a real challenge. But there are ways pain can be managed. Find out what you can do to begin and end your day in a better way, and talk to your health care provider to find out what treatment options are right for you.
In the morning…
It’s common for patients with arthritis to feel stiffness and other painful discomfort upon awakening. Here’s what can help you greet the morning with less pain:
Start your day with a two-minute session of focused breathing. Be sure to sit in a comfortable chair that provides back support, relax, inhale for a count of four and then exhale for a count of six. Or join a gentle yoga class to help ease stress first thing in the day.
In the evening…
Do stretching and gentle bending exercises in the evening; this may help you feel less stiff in the morning. Be careful not to stretch any joint beyond your comfort zone.
A good night’s sleep is especially important for patients with arthritis. A UCLA study found that folks kept awake from 11 PM until 3 AM for only one night had higher levels of several chemicals that contribute to inflammation in the morning, compared to adults whose sleep was not interrupted.
Here’s what can help you get your zzzz’s:
Develop a regular sleep schedule and try to stick to it every day. This way your internal clock prepares itself to sleep through the night.4
Try soaking in a warm bath before bed to relax your joints and calm your mind.
Create a sleep sanctuary and associate use of your bedroom for sleep. Limit reading and watching television to rooms other than your bedroom. Remove the television and other electronic equipment, and make it as dark and quiet as possible.
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