Sleep During a Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare

Cathy Health Guide May 16, 2011
  • Flares stink, no question about it.  A flare is about much more than pain.  It is about lack of sleep, stress, and fear.  When we are experiencing a flare we have to take good care of our bodies.  We have to!  This is non-negotiable.   One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to sleep.  Sleep?  That is the most difficult thing to do when flaring, I know.  So how can we be good to ourselves during a flare and get the sleep we need? 

    • Sleep when you can. If I am in a flare and getting little sleep at night, I take naps when I can.
    • Rest. Even if you can't sleep, try to find a few moments out of your day to just rest your body in a quiet place. This might even mean sitting in your car for five minutes during your lunch break just letting your mind and body have a chance to rejuvenate without the worries of life.
    • Don't worry about the future. I know when you are in a flare a million awful thoughts of what the future will look like go through the mind. Get rid of them. Focus on the pain as a temporary existence.
    • Take a warm bath before getting into bed. As you bathe, relax your body and mind as much as possible.
    • Pillows. I have lots of pillows in my bed that I use to boost up a knee or support hips that are flaring.
    • Be inventive. When my shoulder is flaring, I can't lay in bed. It hurts too much. Instead, I sleep in our family room propped up on the couch. It isn't the best sleep, but some sleep is better than none.
    • Let others take care of you. Your main goal during a flare is to sleep, nothing else. Your body needs that time to repair itself. Take it.
    • Get plenty of fresh air during the daytime. Fresh air opens up our minds and lets us release the stress in our lives. A flare is stressful. When the stress is reduced, the sleep comes easier.

    I believe sleep is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves during a flare and even when we are not.  The items listed above help me when I am in a flare to get the best sleep possible.  What do you do to encourage sleep during a flare?

     

    For additional reading on sleep, check out these links:

    http://blisstree.com/feel/pillow-talk-a-guest-post-by-christina-lasich-md-on-easing-aches-and-pains-115/

    http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/c/23153/94644/beds-happen

    http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/c/27148/121222/good-posture