How to Sleep with Arthritic Pain

Jun 05, 2017
Tagged with: How to Sleep with Arthritic Pain


If you have an arthritic condition then you are aware of the persistent aches and pains that often accompany it. Marked by joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, you may find one, or more, of your joints forcing you to pause on more than one occasion during the day. Unfortunately this discomfort takes no break day or night, and your evening rituals may be marred by this pain each evening, or even awake you during your sleep.

Sleep is a vital part of our overall health, and becoming sleep deprived truly is detrimental to both physical and mental functions. Poor decision making, a loss of focus, and an inability to react as quickly as you normally would can all lead to bad choices and is a leading cause of vehicular and industrial accidents. In the long run, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Since our body heals while we sleep each night, if you have arthritis sleep is an important part of managing both your physical reactions, as well as pain. Studies suggest that a lack of sleep inhibits certain parts of how your brain responds to pain, and when you have sleep debt, that pain may seem magnified and worse that what it really is. Unfortunately if arthritic pain is keeping you from a good night’s rest, this may seem like an impossible task.

How to Rest Easier

Fortunately there are a few steps you can take to help alleviate the worst of your symptoms. Managing your pain throughout the day, and getting into good habits prior to bedtime are ways to influence a better rest, but more than anything you should take some time to reevaluate your sleep comfort- especially if you wake often with aches and pains possibly not associated with an arthritic condition.

The first step to a more comfortable rest is your mattress. Old mattresses, or poor mattress surface choices, are a common problem that often result in poor sleep posture and manifest themselves as back and hip pain. This results in tossing and turning, and a general lack of deep, restorative sleep. If joint pain due to arthritis is also a daily problem, then it may be impossible to get any decent rest due to the added pressure poor mattress surfaces cause upon your joints.

Picking the Best Surface For Your Comfort

Your sleep position, combined with your unique body weight and shape, dictates the type of surface you should be considering. When arthritic joint pain becomes part of the equation, then you need to look towards a specific bedding solution that best fits your needs.

First, consider your natural sleep position. If you are a side sleeper then you will need a more plush mattress to give into the joint pressures of your hips and shoulders and help keep your spine aligned. These softer surfaces, such as pillow tops, memory, and latex foams, give beneath your pressure points and joints and distribute the weight to provide you with the soft comfort, and support you need.

Back and stomach sleepers need a more firm surface in order to provide support to the spine as well. In this case the mattress surface must be able to hold up the hips and shoulders to keep the spine aligned, but also provide enough contouring to distribute weight and cradle joints and pressure points.

Sleep Tips For Pain Relief

Although your sleep surface has to be as unique to you as you are, there are some favored mattress types that may better help alleviate pressure points and general arthritic pain associations.

Foam mattress construction and foam toppers often offer the contouring sore joints need for a better rest. Body pillows and placing a pillow between your knees at night if you are a side sleeper can help keep joints from putting pressure upon one another as well. Basically you want to provide joint cushioning as best you can without sacrificing support. A common mistake is purchasing too soft a mattress thinking it will soften joint pressure, but instead it pulls the body out of alignment while you sleep. Look for the proper support without sacrificing surface comfort.

Positioning aides such as wedge pillows for back, legs, and neck may also be useful as they can help keep your spine in alignment while providing a surface to relax against. Using these in conjunction with body pillows that help cradle the body to provide weight distribution can be rather effective.

Adjustable beds may also be a good option, especially if you struggle with any sort of movement issues due to joint stiffness and loss of motion. These can lower and lift certain parts of your body to make getting into, and out, of bed easier.

Manage Symptoms During the Day for a Better Rest

As mentioned daytime control of your pain, and good habits can both support a more restful sleep. Eating healthy and avoiding foods that may be inflammatory, such as caffeine and alcohol, as well as integrating a regular exercise routine into your daily habits can aide in pain management and joint movement. Massage, chiropractic manipulation, and acupuncture may also be helpful for pain relief and increased blood flow to promote healing and overall comfort.

Over the counter NSAIDS, or prescription medications can be provided by your doctor as well, but as with all medications, be sure to speak with a healthcare provider before taking anything. And as with anything that causes pain, attempt to avoid the known triggers that may cause arthritic flare ups.


Arthritis can be a condition that disrupts your rest to compound your symptoms of pain and stiffness. Despite being a treatable condition, most sufferers need to take constant care to avoid triggers that cause joint flare ups, and be proactive in their pain control.

When arthritis cuts into your sleep, the much needed rest you need to recharge and heal is unable to take place, so taking care to create a restful environment and sleep surface is a vital part of your overall health. Your first step to a better night’s rest is your sleeping surface, and taking the time to match the mattress with your particular needs goes a long way towards better comfort.


Author: Frank Apodaca

  • bobl07

    Thank you for these tips on sleeping. They seem to benefit anyone with or without pain issues.

  • Chikittsa Wellness

    Thank you for life changing tips ! This article is useful for not only arthritis patient but everyone who has sleeping problem .
    But there are some treatments like Physiotherapy, Acupressure, Acupuncture etc

    Chikittsa Wellness

  • Sylvia Brantley

    Thank You For Sharing Amazing blog…. Well Done

  • aimixmaquina

    Sleep is a vital part of our overall health, and becoming sleep deprived truly is detrimental to both physical and mental functions.

    Many thanks, A valuable post. Reference: