The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which affects more than 32 million Americans. It occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down and eventually breaks down completely.
This breakdown can lead to chronic pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints. Although it cannot be cured or prevented, there are many ways for people with osteoarthritis to sleep better at night to have a higher quality of life during the day. Here are four suggestions to try today.
Meditate Before Bed
Meditating at bedtime can be an excellent way to promote rest and help you relax into sleep. If you've never meditated before, start slow by taking a few minutes to sit in quiet meditation, concentrating on your breath while turning off the internal dialogue that ruminates on what happened during the day or what might happen tomorrow.
Then, as you get more comfortable with the practice, add other elements such as focusing on specific sounds like chirping birds or ocean waves crashing onto shore until your mind finally quiets.
Exercise During the Day
It would be best to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. That being said, staying active is vital for people living with osteoarthritis, especially since it can help strengthen muscles around affected joints and protect them from injury.
Try swimming, biking, or walking to get your heart rate up while also working the muscles throughout your body. You can even try water aerobics if you don't want to go into a public pool. In addition, many fitness centers offer "aqua" classes that are specifically tailored for people with arthritis who need low-impact workouts in the water.
Keep Your Skin Healthy
Many people with osteoarthritis need more moisture on their skin because it gets thinner and less flexible over time due to frequent inflammation, which causes redness and itching.
Make sure to use body washes and lotions specially formulated for dry skin, especially when getting ready for bed. You might also try adding moisture throughout the day by taking short, warm baths or showers that will help your skin retain more water.
Splurge on a Good Mattress
You'll have trouble sleeping if your mattress is uncomfortable, so it's worth the investment to buy one that's firm with plenty of padding to keep hips and shoulders from sinking too deeply into the mattress.
Memory foam mattresses may be perfect for people with stiff joints because they are designed to distribute weight evenly across an uneven surface without pressure points. Of course, it's important to regularly rotate your mattress, so every part remains evenly supported over time.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis, there are many ways to sleep better. By following the tips outlined above, you will be able to fall asleep faster and remain undisturbed throughout the night. You'll also wake up feeling more rested and ready to take on the day with a higher quality of life.
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