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Getting a good night's sleep

Items on a bedside tableGetting a good night’s sleep is important for your physical and emotional well-being.

If you have arthritis, symptoms such as pain may disrupt your sleep.

Poor or disturbed sleep night after night may make you feel more achy, tired and in a low mood. It can cause increased muscle tension and can be linked with muscle pain.

Healthcare professionals will usually suggest you think about ‘sleep hygiene’ – things that you can do to improve your sleep pattern.

How can I improve my sleep pattern?

Get into a relaxing and familiar routine – try to get up and go to bed at roughly the same time every day. Ideally, go to bed when you’re sleepy.

Be active throughout the day so you're tired when you go to bed. Exercise regularly, but not within three hours of going to bed.

Eat sensibly so you don’t feel hungry during the night, but avoid eating and drinking large amounts just before bedtime.

Improve your bedroom

A tidy bedroom and clean, fresh-smelling sheets will make you feel more relaxed. Making your bed can be hard at times, but a made bed with no wrinkles will help add to the relaxed environment.

Your bed shouldn't be too hard or too soft. Use a suitable number of pillows – your neck and back should be in a straight line when you're lying on your side.

The darker the room, the better chance you have of getting to sleep, so it would help if you have thick, dark curtains.

Scented cushions or candles can also make your room smell nice.

Keep warm

Use a hot-water bottle or microwave wheat bags to warm your sheets. A warm bath before you go to bed can help ease stiff or painful joints.

Relax

Do any chores early in the evening if you can, so you have time to relax before going to bed. Pack your bag and get anything you'll need ready for the next day. A to-do list for the next day can be helpful.

Share any worries with someone you can trust and write them down. Don’t bottle them up. You might like to try some relaxation techniques, such as meditation.

If you do have nights when you can't get much sleep, don't be critical of yourself.

What can affect my sleep?

Some activities can overstimulate your brain and make getting to sleep difficult, including:

  • playing games
  • working and checking emails
  • using social media.

Watching TV, particularly scary or exciting programmes, can also be overstimulating. Try to avoid having a TV in your bedroom or turning it on if you can't sleep.

Try to not listen to loud music before going to bed. Maybe find some soft/relaxing/chilled music instead?

It's best not to eat just before you go to bed. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, cola, energy drinks) from late afternoon. If you're really struggling to get to sleep you might want to cut these drinks out earlier in the day.

You should also avoid smoking before bedtime or during the night. Of course, it’s strongly advisable not to smoke at all.

Try not to sleep during the day because this can make it difficult to sleep at night.

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