Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About myRAteam

Improving Sleep with RA

Posted on November 11, 2019

When you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging. Physical pain, anxiety, and other symptoms of RA frequently keep myRAteam members up at night – and exhausted the next day.

Some 80 percent of people with RA report insomnia-related fatigue. “Since my RA diagnosis, I have lots of fatigue during the day and insomnia at night. It’s like my brain gets wired up at bedtime and I can't sleep,” said one member. “I’ve been awake for five days straight with no sleep in sight,” added another.

RA-related Sleep Disrupters
Members of myRAteam report increased symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other related conditions from lack of sleep, including:

Joint pain and inflammation: As many as two-thirds of people with chronic pain also have insomnia. “I wake up every three hours each night from pain in both knees,” said one member. Another shared, “I’ve been awake for 50+ hours now because of a current flare up.”

Sleep apnea: Members who’ve gotten tested and treated for sleep apnea - a condition which causes breathing to stop and start throughout the night - say their sleep has improved. “Since using a CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) mask, I [rarely] get up to use the restroom, and my quality of sleep is so much better.” Another member agreed: “CPAP really makes a difference!! After putting on the mask, I’m out-like-a-light in five minutes - and sleep all night.”

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): Several members of myRAteam have been diagnosed with this sleep disorder, which involves involuntary leg movements. “RLS causes terrible insomnia but I’ve finally found meds to help and my sleep has greatly improved,” a member shared. “I also started using essential oils with good effects.”

Medications: Some RA medications – such as Prednisone and Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine) - can contribute to insomnia. Members frequently talk about sleeplessness after taking these drugs – which help reduce RA-related inflammation. “I have a love/hate relationship with Prednisone. Nothing on earth can compare with it for wiping out pain from a flare, but the severe insomnia is unbearable,” said one member. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage medication-related insomnia.

RA Sleep Improvers
Members of myRAteam use wide range of alternative remedies and therapies to reduce pain and improve sleep. They include:

Natural and herbal supplements: Melatonin is frequently cited by members as an effective sleep improver. Herbal remedies known for their sedative qualities, such as chamomile, valerian root and passion flower, have also helped members get the rest they need. “I've been taking valerian root capsules - they smell and taste awful, so I swallow them fast.” Another shared, “Passionflower capsules work great for me; I noticed it also reduced my inflammation.” Consult with your doctor before taking any new herbs or supplements.

Meditation and relaxation: Mindfulness techniques are another tool members use to calm down before bedtime. “I recommend practicing meditation. Over time, you learn how to shut out thoughts that are keeping you awake and focus on the present moment,” said one member. Another meditating member shared a new sleep discovery: Floatation REST (restricted environmental stimulation therapy). Floatation REST involves floating in a specialized pool filled with Epsom-salt. A clinical trial is currently underway to evaluate the efficacy of this treatment. “I’ve slept great since starting to float,” a myRAteam member wrote.

Medical marijuana (where legal): Cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD), used alone or in combination with other remedies (as prescribed by doctors), have helped many members improve sleep with RA. “I keep a CBD vape next to my bed and use it whenever I wake up,” said one member. Another found success using “prescription cannabis at night and CBD during the day.” One man who takes hemp gummies said, “They didn’t relieve my pain but helped with anxiety and level of calm.”

Other approaches used by members to improve sleep include:

  • Over-the-counter antihistamines and pain relievers
  • Lavender aromatherapy oil or spray
  • Exercise
  • Smartphone sleep and meditation apps
  • Diet changes
  • Turning off cellphones and other computer devices three hours before bedtime

On myRAteam, the social network and online support group for those living with RA, members talk about a range of personal experiences including improving sleep with RA.

Here are some questions-and-answers about improving sleep with RA:

Can you relate? Have another topic you'd like to discuss or explore? Go to myRAteam today and start – or join - a conversation. You'll be surprised how many others share similar stories.

A myRAteam Member said:

Hi Rosemarie, any questions you have, just ask. This group is a great place for learning about RA and seeing what others are going through.
One day at a… read more

posted 5 days ago

hug

Recent articles

Getthetruthdrvisits carousel
Article written by Joan GrossmanTelehealth is an easy way to get many health services via a...

Get the Truth About Online Doctors' Visits

Article written by Joan GrossmanTelehealth is an easy way to get many health services via a...
Myphteam howtomakeonlinehealthwork v2 carousel
Article written by Laurie Berger Telemedicine is the use of two-way communication technology to...

Access Your Doctor Without Leaving Your Home

Article written by Laurie Berger Telemedicine is the use of two-way communication technology to...
I yunmai 617618 unsplash
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ariel Teitel"Mostly drink water these days. no sodas at all. I really...

Weight Gain and RA

Medically reviewed by Dr. Ariel Teitel"Mostly drink water these days. no sodas at all. I really...
Rheumatoid arthritis and itching
Article written by Laurie Berger Medically reviewed by Dr. Ariel TeitelAre you experiencing...

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Itching

Article written by Laurie Berger Medically reviewed by Dr. Ariel TeitelAre you experiencing...
Getting disability benefits with ra
Article written by Annie Keller Joint pain, mobility problems, and other symptoms of rheumatoid...

Getting Disability Benefits for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Article written by Annie Keller Joint pain, mobility problems, and other symptoms of rheumatoid...
Type3 hypersensitivity
Article written by Jessica Wolpert Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms — pain, redness, and tissue...

Understanding Type 3 Hypersensitivity

Article written by Jessica Wolpert Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms — pain, redness, and tissue...
Ravlupus
Article written by Theona Layne Both lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are inflammatory,...

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Lupus: What's the Difference?

Article written by Theona Layne Both lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are inflammatory,...
Ra and crp levels
Article written by Annie Keller A blood test for C-reactive protein (CRP) levels can help...

Rheumatoid Arthritis and CRP Levels: Your Guide

Article written by Annie Keller A blood test for C-reactive protein (CRP) levels can help...
Ra rash causes and treatments
Article written by Annie Keller While rheumatoid arthritis (RA) primarily affects the joints and...

Rheumatoid Arthritis Rashes: Causes and Treatment

Article written by Annie Keller While rheumatoid arthritis (RA) primarily affects the joints and...
Anti inflammatory diet for ra
Article written by Kimberly Mugler, RDN, LDN What Is an Anti-inflammatory Diet?An...

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Article written by Kimberly Mugler, RDN, LDN What Is an Anti-inflammatory Diet?An...
myRAteam My rheumatoid arthritis Team

Two Ways to Get Started with myRAteam

Become a Member

Connect with others who are living with rheumatoid arthritis. Get members only access to emotional support, advice, treatment insights, and more.

sign up

Become a Subscriber

Get the latest articles about rheumatoid arthritis sent to your inbox.

Not now, thanks

Privacy policy
myRAteam My rheumatoid arthritis Team

Thank you for signing up.

close