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Get a good night's sleep to help ease fatigue

Because poor sleep can cause fatigue, it’s important that you get a good night's rest. Try the following tips to improve your sleep:

  • Aim to wind down in the hour before you go to bed – a warm bath might help you relax and reduce discomfort from tired muscles.
  • It’s useful to make a note early in the evening of things you’ve achieved during the day and what you need to do the following day. This can help prevent you worrying about things in the night. It may also be useful to keep a pen and notepad next to the bed so you can jot things down if you think you may not remember them in the morning. 
  • Reduce the amount of caffeine you drink (from tea, coffee or cola) and avoid alcohol after early evening.
  • If you have pain, take a simple painkiller like paracetamol before you go to bed. Try to organise it so that you could take another dose if the pain wakes you in the night. Ask your doctor about steroid injections if a particular joint is causing discomfort, or speak to a hand therapist about wearing splints to support your joints in the night.
  • Look at your sleep environment – is the room too hot, light or noisy? Are your mattress, pillow and duvet/blankets comfortable?
  • Try to remove as many disturbances as possible (such as a ticking clock) to help you to settle down to sleep more easily. Removing clocks from the bedroom can also reduce the temptation of checking the time if you wake up during the night. 

There’s no recommended number of hours sleep – some people need 8–9 hours and others only 5–6 hours. Sleeping too much can also cause fatigue. Keep an activity chart to see if you have a regular sleep pattern. Late nights followed by late mornings, or taking a nap in the day, can upset the body’s natural day/night hormonal and sleep patterns. Try to develop a regular bedtime and waking time and avoid lie-ins. It may take several weeks to get into this routine, but it’ll help as it restores the body’s natural sleep cycle.

Download a sample activity chart (PDF 128 KB) to monitor your sleep pattern.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.