Persons who suffer from arthritis may suffer intense pain at night, disturbing their sleep cycle and causing fatigue and drowsiness the next day.
One recent study with 133 subjects found that more than half of the arthritic patients reported suffering from lower quality sleep, because of the intense symptoms of their condition at night. Other studies have indicated that arthritis sufferers may experience an intensification of pain at night, causing daytime fatigue and sleepiness.
Researchers have also tried to identify the reasons for the increased pain at night. One theory is that the body releases less cortisol at night which causes increased intensity of symptoms. Cortisol is a natural anti – inflammatory chemical which can control our response to pain. Cytokines may also migrate to already- inflamed arthritis tissue at night time, causing more pain.
Whatever the reasons for the pain, arthritis patients suffer a lower quality of sleep, and this causes a reduction in alertness the next day. This results in lower productivity, making it harder for the person to perform jobs that require increased mental alertness or more dangerous to perform jobs that involve operating hazardous machinery.
Some tips can help with improving sleep at night. Go to bed at the same time every day, avoid napping in the day time, and avoid exercise just before bed time. A balanced diet and avoiding alcohol can also help. Avoid watching television or scrolling through your social media feeds just before sleeping. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows as well as dark window shades to block light.