What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune condition affecting 690,000 people in the UK alone. It not only affects the joints, but can also impact on major organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys and eyes. Living with the condition not only causes physical pain and challenges but sufferers face scepticism from friends, family and co-workers as well as strangers who don’t understand what they are going through.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week - Get Involved
RA Awareness Week takes place this year on 19-25th June with a focus on invisible illness and what goes on ‘behind the smile’.
‘People who break their arm or experience an injury are obviously in bad shape, but we can see their injury and understand their limitations. For the millions of people living with an invisible illness such as Arthritis, explaining what’s wrong is another side effect of the condition.’ (National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society).
Each day of the week will focus on a different theme, from the general public perspective of invisible illness to tips and hacks for living with Rheumatoid Arthritis and advice on relationships and intimacy, so keep an eye out on Social Media and join in the discussions.
Sleep Better with Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep with Rheumatoid Arthritis, some small tweaks could make a big difference.
Make sure your bedroom environment promotes sleep:
- The temperature should be between 18-21 degrees. Too cold and you will struggle to fall asleep, too warm and you’ll be tossing and turning throughout the night.
- Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Avoid artificial lighting that stimulates the brain - try using candle light before you get in to bed to prepare yourself for sleep.
- Drown out peak sounds such as sirens or doors slamming by playing soothing music or white noise when going to sleep. Keep the bedroom quiet to promote sleep and rest.
Things to do before bed:
- A milky drink such as this Healing Turmeric Spiced Milk has anti-inflammatory properties and is a good alternative to milky coffee that’s full of caffeine that will keep you awake all night.
- Speaking of being awake all night - make sure your last caffeinated drink is taken before 2pm to give yourself time to process it before bed.
- If a milky drink isn’t your thing, sip on a herbal tea before bed - soothing Camomile will help you to relax ready for bed.
- Instead of watching Television or scrolling aimlessly through your phone, try reading a book before you go to bed. Avoid screens that emit blue light as they will keep you awake.
- Practice some breathing and relaxation exercises.
Things to avoid if you want to sleep well:
- Caffeine after 2pm
- Heavy late night meals
- Sugary or spicy foods late in the evening
- Afternoon naps
- Late night exercise
I hope these tips will help not just Arthritis sufferers, but anybody who struggles to sleep at night. How do you set yourself up for your best night’s sleep?