Is Arthritis Disrupting Your Sleep?

Shutterstock © For Advice on arthritis causing sleep disruption

This is National Bed Month and it’s also World Sleep Day on March 18. And we wouldn’t rest easy without sharing some expert comment specifically dealing with pain from arthritis causing disturbed sleep. 

According to registered Osteopath, Bethany Elliott-Hutton, research states that many arthritis sufferers find that their symptoms are worse at night. Alongside this, the search term for “beat arthritis naturally” has increased in volume by 3,000% over the past 12 months. This shows there is a real need for advice. 

Symptoms Get Worse At Night

“Arthritis can affect any joint but most commonly affects the weight-bearing joints including the knees, hips, and spine,” Bethany says. 

“As a result of this, it is common that those suffering with arthritis find their symptoms get worse at night. This can lead to disrupted sleep which can result in a troublesome cycle of pain and poor sleep.  

“The time medication for arthritis is taken may be linked to why people suffer more pain from arthritis at night, as usually arthritis medications are taken first thing in the morning. So, by the evening, the medication may have worn off.  

“Secondly, it is thought that increases in arthritis pain at nighttime may be linked to our circadian rhythmsAt nighttime the body releases less of the anti-inflammatory chemical known as cortisol, therefore, leading to increased inflammatory-related pain during the night.  

“And thirdly, increased levels of pain at night may also be due to spending a long time in one sleeping position. This consequently puts increased pressure on the joints resulting in irritation and pain.” 

Bethany suggests the tips below to help deal with arthritis before bed and how to ease and reduce pain effectively: 

Improved Sleep Hygiene 

Practising good sleep hygiene habits may help you fall asleep faster and allow you to stay asleep for longer. These habits can include: 

Going to bed at the same time every night 
Avoid exercising four hours before bedtime
Avoid using phones/tablets/laptops a few hours before bed
Avoid daytime naps where possible.  

Check Your Mattress  

Having a supportive mattress can make a big difference in your comfort levels when suffering with arthritis. It is important to make sure that the mattress is not too firm, so it can reduce the contact pressure on the joints.   

Pillow Props 

Using pillows as support whilst sleeping can be really helpful in aiding a more comfortable night’s sleep. If you are suffering with arthritis of the hip then placing a pillow in between the knees when sleeping on your side can help ease the pressure on the hip.  

Timely Medication 

 You may want to work with your doctor to develop a plan for managing your arthritis pain during the night. You may wish to discuss altering the time you take medication.  

Credit to: Registered Osteopath Bethany Elliott-Hutton of 

Press here for more hints and tips on how to achieve a good night’s sleep


Yvonne McKenzie

Yvonne works on the Features team and admits to being nosy, so loves looking after the Between Friends letters and finding out all about our lovely readers. She also looks after our health copy and enjoys writing about inspiring people that help make the articles in the magazine so interesting.