Woman sleeping for joint pain relief

There is a very strong connection between sleep and pain, as pain can prevent individuals from sleeping well, but good sleep can ultimately provide joint pain relief too.

There are many benefits of good sleep, and one of them is less painful joints for arthritis sufferers.

Without good sleep on a regular basis, people with arthritis are more likely to have increased pain and inflammation throughout the day and even be more prone to depression and disability.

This article will explore the importance of sleep, how sleep can provide joint pain relief, and how much sleep arthritis sufferers should be getting each night.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is as essential as getting physical activity, and this is more than just a time for the body to rest or become dormant. When the body is asleep, the brain is still active and forming ideas and memories.1 Without adequate sleep, the mind cannot focus or respond quickly, and the body doesn’t have the energy to carry out daily tasks. Individuals are more prone to developing diseases when they don’t get enough sleep because the immune system can’t fight them off.2 Meanwhile, existing diseases tend to worsen when the body doesn’t get the sleep it needs.

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Benefits of Good Sleep

In addition to providing joint pain relief and reducing inflammation in the body, there are many other benefits of good sleep as well.3 Research studies have shown that sleep helps improve memory, spark creativity, sharpen attention, lower stress, and maintain a healthy weight.2,4 The importance of sleep also relates to preventing depression, avoiding accidents, and repairing injuries.

The Connection between Sleep and Pain

When a person’s sleep schedule is disrupted, the brain and spinal cord may process pain sensations abnormally. Also, studies have shown increases in inflammation in people who are sleep deprived.5 During sleep, bodily growth hormones are released to repair small muscle tears that have occurred throughout the day.1,2 Without enough sleep, these repairs may not be feasible and additional pain may result.

How Much Sleep Should Arthritis Sufferers Get?

It is recommended that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night and that those hours fall around the same time each night.1 This is a good guideline for arthritis sufferers as well. To facilitate better sleep, schedule in some time to wind down before bed by limiting caffeine and screen time in the evening. Taking a hot shower or bath before bed can soothe sore joints and ease the body into a restful state.

Arthritis sufferers who have sore knees can place a pillow between them while sleeping on one side.6 A firm mattress is the best for neck and back pain to provide extra support. It is also recommended to sleep on one side with the knees pulled up slightly to the chest to reduce spinal pressure. People who suffer from hand and wrist arthritis pain may benefit from propping up the painful body part while sleeping or using a night splint for support. Topical relief creams, like JointFlex, can help with joint pain at night for a more restful nights sleep.

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REFERENCES FOR THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP FOR JOINT PAIN RELIEF

1. Why do we need sleep? National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/why-do-we-need-sleep.
2. Importance of sleep: Six reasons not to scrimp on sleep. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/importance_of_sleep_and_health.
3. Sleep and pain. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/chronic-pain/sleep-factors.php.
4. Simon, H. B. (2012 February 15). Sleep helps learning, memory. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/sleep-helps-learning-memory-201202154265.
5. Mullington, J. M., Simpson, N. S., Meier-Ewert, H. K., & Haack, M. (2010 October). Sleep loss and inflammation. Best Practices & Research: Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 24, 775-784. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3548567/.
6. DeVries, C. (2017 March 10). Nine ways you can sleep better with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Health. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from https://www.arthritis-health.com/blog/9-ways-you-can-sleep-better-osteoarthritis.

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