If you live with chronic pain, you know how difficult it is to just get through the day. By the time you make it to the end of the day, all you want is to lie down and get a good night’s rest. Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done – especially if you suffer from arthritis.
Arthritis affects over 54 million adults in the United States and it is a common cause of chronic pain. Many who suffer from arthritis also experience a related condition called painsomnia.
Painsomnia is simply insomnia caused by pain. Though it may not be a clinical term, painsomnia is recognized by many doctors and experts as a real condition. When you suffer from chronic pain, it can be difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Poor sleep may then make you feel tired the next day and could even make you more sensitive to pain.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about getting a better night’s sleep with arthritis, including recommendations for the best mattress for arthritis pain.
6 Simple Ways to Sleep Better with Arthritis
Arthritis pain can keep you up at night, preventing you from getting the rest your body needs. When your joints are stiff and sore, it can be difficult to find a position comfortable enough for sleep and even if you do manage to fall asleep, your pain could wake you up throughout the night. In fact, your pain could be heightened at night because cortisol levels tend to decrease at night as part of your circadian rhythm – the natural 24-hour cycle your body goes through each day.
Cortisol is a hormone that helps control inflammation and its production normally slows in the evening then ramps up between midnight and morning. People with certain types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, don’t produce enough cortisol at night to suppress nighttime inflammation which can lead to worsening pain and stiffness in the morning.
If your arthritis pain is keeping you from sleeping, here are 6 tricks to try:
- Try heat therapy before bed. If joint pain keeps you up at night, try using a heating pad on the affected joints for 15 to 20 minutes before going to bed. The relief may not last all night, but it could be enough to let you fall asleep.
- Use your pillows wisely. It’s important to choose a pillow that keeps your neck and spine in proper alignment. Depending how you sleep, you may need extra pillows as well. If you sleep on your side, for example, you may want to place one between your knees.
- Exercise on a daily basis. Regular exercise is incredibly important for managing arthritis and improving your mobility. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day 3 to 5 times a week and stick to low-impact exercises like walking, biking, or swimming.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Turning your bedroom into a haven for sleep could help you fall asleep more easily in spite of arthritis pain. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet by using blackout curtains if you need to. You may also want to start a calming bedtime routine.
- Invest in a heated blanket. A heated blanket or mattress pad could help ease some of your joint pain while you’re in bed. Keeping your joints warm may keep them from stiffening up overnight, so you may wake up with less pain in the morning.
- Get checked for sleep apnea. As a final resort, you may want to talk to your doctor about your sleep troubles because you could have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by periodic pauses in breathing during sleep and it can rob you of a good night’s sleep.
In addition to trying some of these methods, there’s one more option you might consider: changing your mattress. Sleeping on an old or unsupportive mattress can put unwanted pressure on your joints and can kick your spine out of alignment. Read on to learn more about whether changing your mattress could be the key to getting a better night’s sleep with arthritis pain.
Could Changing Your Mattress Help?
Take a moment to think about your mattress. How long have you had it? Do you feel supported and comfortable at night? If you can’t answer these questions, it’s probably time for a new one.
A good mattress makes all the difference when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, but it can also help mitigate arthritis pain. Remember, you spend roughly one-third of your life sleeping so it’s important to have a mattress that supports your weight and keeps your spine in proper alignment. If you have arthritis, it should also help cushion your joints to reduce pain and stiffness.
When it comes to shopping for the best mattress for arthritis, it’s all about support. Most experts recommend a medium-firm to firm mattress for people with back pain, and the same idea applies to joint pain. You want a mattress firm enough to support your body weight, but it should have enough give to take the pressure off your joints.
Memory foam mattresses are a popular choice for arthritis sufferers because they contour to the shape of your body, relieving pressure where needed. Latex is similar to memory foam, but it has a little less give – this can be a benefit if you don’t want to feel like you’re sleeping “in” your mattress rather than “on” it. Modern innerspring mattresses and hybrid mattresses can be a good choice as well, as long as the top layer offers enough pressure relief.
The Top 7 Mattresses for Arthritis Pain
Though there are many different types of arthritis, they tend to cause similar symptoms: joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and soreness. Symptoms like these can make it difficult to fall asleep but the right mattress can help relieve pressure on the joints and help you get comfortable.
Here’s a quick overview of the top 7 mattresses for arthritis pain:
The Saatva Classic is a luxury hybrid innerspring mattress that retails for $1,499 at the Queen size. This mattress comes in an 11.5 or 14.5-inch height and three levels of firmness (Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, or Firm). It is designed for optimal spine support and helps relieve back and joint pain. This mattress is built on a tempered support coil base topped with layers of memory foam and individually pocketed coils.
The Amerisleep AS3 mattress stands 12 inches high and has a medium level of firmness. It is an all-foam mattress tailored to adapt to most body types and sleeping styles and it comes with a 100-night sleep trial. This mattress also comes in a hybrid model made with memory foam and coils, though both feature plant-based Bio-Pur foam which wicks away body heat to help you sleep cooler at night.
The DreamCloud is a luxury hybrid mattress that features a dreamy mix of memory foam and innerspring coils to give you the feeling of sleeping on a cloud. This mattress retails for $1,598 at the Queen size and features five layers. Over an essential layer of base foam sits the support layer of individually wrapped coils, topped with layers of memory foam and a quilted cashmere cover.
This hybrid mattress features a mixture of copper-infused memory foam and coil springs to cushion your joints while supporting your spine. What makes this mattress truly unique is the fact that it is double-sided – you can choose from a firm (7/10) or soft feel (4/10) just by flipping the mattress. Enjoy free shipping and a 120-night sleep trial with this mattress.
The Caspar Original mattress comes in an all-foam and hybrid model, both of which are designed to give you a cool and comfortable night of sleep. This mattress features zoned support which ergonomically aligns your spine to take the pressure off your joints. You’ll also enjoy layers of AirScape foam which help circulate air overnight to keep you cool.
The WinkBed mattress is engineered for better sleep. This mattress features a luxury hybrid design including individually pocketed coils, the Extra-Edge support system, a Euro pillow top with gel-infused memory foam, and a Tencel cooling cover. This mattress comes with a generous 120-night sleep trial and a full replacement lifetime warranty for your peace of mind.
An all-foam mattress, the Bear Pro retails for $1,295 at the Queen size. This mattress features five layers of premium memory foam including both gel memory foam and copper-infused foam. The Bear Pro is built on a foundation of high-density support foam to cradle your body in comfort while the upper foam layers contour to provide optimal pressure point relief.
Suffering from arthritis pain doesn’t have to rule your life and it shouldn’t keep you from sleeping. Talk to your doctor about treatment options and consider whether it may be time to upgrade your mattress. If you’re ready to get a new mattress, take what you’ve learned here or choose one of the models we’ve recommended above. Best of luck!