Sleep and Arthritis

Do you want less Arthritis Pain? Let me show you how to do it

Lack of sleep and increased pain

“What I wouldn’t give for a good night’s sleep.” Wherever you may live in the world, I am certain you have heard someone say that. And, it turns out that this is a critically important part of dealing with Osteoarthritis. In fact, it is so important it may even impact the extent of your disability from OA.

The importance of sleep

Are you sleeping eight hours a night? Or, are you getting by on just six or seven hours of sleep? The fact is, even the experts are not sure how much sleep your body needs but one thing is clear. If you suffer from Osteoarthritis (OA) you had best get a “good” night’s sleep.

Although the experts cannot seem to agree on how much sleep you need if you suffer from OA, they do agree on this. If you are able to get a good night’s sleep, your joint pain will be less in the morning than it was when you went to sleep. That is a simple fact of life. On the other hand, if you do not get a good night’s sleep, your pain is going to increase.

Is the pain causing the lack of sleep? Or, is the lack of sleep causing the pain?

The clinical reviews indicate that as many as 75% of those who suffer with OA, do not get a good night’s rest. So, that begged the question to begin with. Was it the OA causing this? Or, was the lack of sleep causing the pain to increase?

Uniformly, those who were involved in reviewing victims of OA said this. “There is no doubt about it. The OA victim who does not sleep well has increased their pain.” So, what you have to do is learn how to approach sleep and put these things into motion. 

Over-thinking your pain

If you get into bed at night and begin thinking about your pain, you are going to make matters worse. That is guaranteed according to pain management physicians. The typical OA sufferer has usually suffered pain during the day and they are actually expecting to have more pain the next day. It is a huge problem so what are you going to do about it? If you continue to think negative thoughts about the pain, you are giving yourself a guarantee that it will be worse.

Of course, after a terrible night’s sleep, your pain the following day is going to be worse. Sleep is a healing mechanism and it is critical to get rest to continue with healing.

The psychologists involved in these studies

These individuals explain the issue this way. When you are sleep deprived your central nervous system is going to become even more sensitive to the pain you experience. Without rest, your body is going to “overreach” and find pain pathways increasing. Let’s look at one study to see how this works.

The subjects were all tested for their sensitivity to pain before entering the program. And, let’s add one more factor. All were healthy individuals. So, this becomes an excellent way of looking at the sleep deprivation issue.

One group was kept up beyond their normal bedtime. The other group was awakened every hour on the hour. However, both groups got the same amount of sleep in the study.  In every pain stimulus used, both groups had more pain as a result of their lack of proper sleep. The finding was that no matter which group had their sleep disrupted, they both became more pain sensitive as a result of poor rest.

The study concluded that for those with actual pain issues such as OA sufferers, their poor sleep patterns put them on a path to increased pain. And, there is another important issue with poor sleep that is critical to understand.

Lack of sleep increases depression and greater disability for OA sufferers

What is interesting here is that a lack of sleep in the beginning of the study brought about both increased depression in subjects and as well, increased disability. What is also interesting to observe here is that a full year went by before those two findings were made. This should give every one of you with OA a warning to do something about your sleep issues. This is a very disturbing finding.

Stop the pattern and get some rest

It is critically important for those with OA to get a good night’s sleep. And, if you are struggling to do so you need to consult with your doctor. Certainly, they have suggestions that can get this problem solved and help you ultimately to avoid the pain; depression; and, even increased disability that is inevitable if you continue down this road of “no sleep.” 

Here are some important things you can do

These are the points the experts claim will help you get some sleep.


  1. Try to get to sleep at the same time every day
  2. Shut down your television; computer; and, your phone an hour before bedtime
  3. Sleep in a dark room; lights will wake you up at night
  4. Try to sleep in a room that is cool
  5. If you are still awake 20-30 minutes after going to bed, get up and do something relaxing before going back to bed. In brief, calm yourself down.
  6. If you still can’t sleep, try a health food store. They have all-natural sleep aids that may help.
  7. Check online to see if any of your medications are causing you to not sleep (Insomnia)
  8. No caffeine or alcohol 5-6 hours before bedtime


  1. If all else fails, talk to your doctor. He may send you to therapy or prescribe something to help you sleep.

Trust me on this one. You can get past the tossing and turning.