Sleeping with Osteoarthritis

Is Osteoarthritis Keeping You Awake at Night?

Sleeping with OsteoarthritisMany people who suffer from osteoarthritis don’t sleep well due to discomfort. If you have osteoarthritis, you may experience occasional or chronic insomnia. Fortunately, there are actions you can take, starting today, that may help you to get a better night’s sleep.

By using natural strategies you are likely to fall asleep quicker, stay asleep longer, and awake feeling more comfortable and refreshed.

Evaluate Your Habits

The first step to solving your insomnia is to determine what is causing it. You already know that you cannot sleep due to joint pain. But do you know if you have habits or circumstances that are making the pain worse?


For example, are you overdoing activities during the daytime and trying to accomplish as much as you were able to 20 years ago? It is important to be realistic about your imitations. Pushing through pain is not helpful when you have OA — it only leads to more joint damage, pain, and immobility. Give yourself permission to modify your goals and expectations.

Caffeine Consumption

It is important to examine other possible causes of insomnia. For example, do you drink coffee, black or green teas or sodas late in the day? Do you drink excessive amounts of caffeinated beverages early in the day? How much chocolate do you consume? Try limiting your intake of caffeine, especially after four in the afternoon, and see if that helps you to sleep better.


Is Your Room Sleep-Friendly?

Is your bedroom conducive to sleep? Do you pull the shades to darken the room? As you pull the shades or draw the curtains each evening, consciously remind yourself that you are also pulling the curtains on the worries and cares of the day. Mentally tell yourself that it is now time to rest. If you live in a noisy environment, purchase a white noise machine or fan to drown out disturbing sounds.

Nighttime Routines

What do you do before bedtime? Do you lay in bed and watch television or work at a computer? These activities can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Better alternatives include taking a hot bath or soothing shower, having sex, reading a book, or sharing a massage with your partner. These activities will soothe your sore joints, help you to relax physically and mentally, and promote a restful sleep for you.


Are you dealing with stress osteoarthritis causes effectively? If you are tense about living with pain and limitations of having a chronic condition or other stressors all day long, you will not sleep well at night.

What relieves your stress? Do you need to engage in a gentle but healthy exercise program? Yoga, walking and swimming tone your entire body without placing too much stress on your joints. They raise levels of stress and pain-relieving endorphins that allow you to rest better at night.

Bed Problems

It is vitally important that you sleep on a comfortable mattress. Several types of beds are available. See which ones fit your budget and provide you with the highest degree of comfort.

Buy the best bedding that you can afford. Many people are able to sleep better when they use extra pillows for positioning. Try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees. If you have upper extremity discomfort, elevate your arms on pillows. It may also help to wear comfortable sleepwear. Purchase sleepwear made of cotton, flannel or silk so that your skin will be able to “breathe.”

Next Page: Natural Sleep Aids and When to Seek Professional Help

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