Many arthritis sufferers find that their symptoms are worse at night. It could be that levels of the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol are naturally lower at night; plus, staying still in one position might cause joints to become stiff. Less distractions in the evening could also turn your attention inward on your joint pain, making your symptoms seem worse.
Avoid falling into the cycle of poor quality of sleep > workday fatigue > increased levels of pain.
Continue reading for 6 self-care tips to help!
1. Set your bedtime:
Be firm about your sleep schedule. Make a commitment to reducing your screen time or turning off your devices (phone, tv, and tablets) at least an hour before bedtime.
2. Avoid late exercise and meals:
After a strenuous workout the body needs time to recover; the stimulation from the workout can keep you from falling asleep. Same goes for eating late. Your body needs time to digest and sometimes eating and drinking too late can keep you up during the night.
3. Run a bath:
Try running a warm bath using Epsom salts and lavender to achieve a spa-like and restful mood before bed. Bonus: Epsom salts have been found to naturally relax your body’s muscles and therefore can ease muscle and joint-related tension.
4. Meditate or Read:
Practicing mindful meditation or reading before bed will re-direct your focus away from any subtle joint pain while easing your mind for sleep.
5. Wake up and make a pot of tea:
Green and white teas are rich in polyphenol, a compound that has antioxidant effects. Green tea is generally viewed as the most beneficial of all because its active ingredient is a polyphenol known as epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG has been shown to be as much as 100 times stronger in antioxidant activity than vitamins C and E. *Studies have shown it also helps preserve cartilage and bone, although there are no widespread controlled trials of it in people with arthritis.
Bonus: add in a bit of local honey for an added boost of antioxidant and antiviral properties. Avoid these types of teas at night because of the caffeine content.
6. Update your bedding:
Finally, replace an old pillow or mattress. Check with your Doctor for suggestions on the best brands for the type of joint pain you are experiencing. The investment on a new mattress can be a game changer in the quality of your sleep!
If you find that your joint pain is persistent and have been told you will need a joint replacement in the future, it’s important to know your options! Take the first step in joint preservation today and Find a Doctor in your area!