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The connection between poor sleep and sore joints

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? This unsolvable riddle has been a popular turn of phrase for decades, but it’s not exactly relatable to the average New Yorker or even those who grew up on a farm. What might seem like more of a common conundrum is the pervasive question of which came first: the joint pain or the poor sleep? And sadly, it’s one that many individuals have to deal with answering.

As many people who suffer from chronic knee and hip aches will tell you, poor sleep and sore joints are closely connected. And it’s not an issue you should take lightly. After all, feeling groggy can impact your daily activities, including work, driving, and exercise. As noted by Cleveland Clinic, “Research shows that between 50 and 90 percent of people with chronic joint pain don’t sleep well. And, that sleep deprivation can lead to other health issues, including low energy, mood disorders and eating problems.”

What’s behind this predicament? The answer is scientific. When you are active during the day, your joints stay lubricated, which minimizes friction. When you rest, the opposite occurs, and this can cause pain. If your pain is bad enough that it is waking you up or keeping you up at night, surgery might be a great option for finding relief. This might mean a partial or total hip or knee replacement. In the meantime, there are some other things you can do to rest comfortably. Here are a few examples.

Choose your position wisely

Instead of laying directly on your back when you rest at night, try switching to a side position. This can help take the strain off of your lower joints. If one side is more painful than the other, don’t push yourself to do anything that brings you discomfort. If it helps, you can grab on to a partner or a pillow to help you settle in.

Invest in the right equipment

If you have had your mattress for several years, it might be worth investing in a new one to offer better support. A firm mattress can help deflect joint pain, and topping it with a foam pad can help you evenly distribute your weight so you are not placing too much pressure on your hips or knees. Read reviews online and talk to store sales support before making your final decision.

Pick the right helpers

You should never have to depend on medication to get yourself to sleep, but in certain circumstances using sleep aids can prove beneficial. On particularly rough nights, it’s acceptable to take over-the-counter pain medications or supplements meant specifically for sleep, like melatonin. Some people rely on alcohol to make them drowsy each evening. Unfortunately, this can actually disrupt your sleep cycle in the middle of the night. Instead, try winding down with non-caffeinated tea and moderate exercise.

Posted in: Joint Replacement

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