1 / 10 Small Steps to Ease RA Symptoms
About 1.5 million American adults are living with rheumatoid arthritis, a form of arthritis that causes joint pain, inflammation, and swelling. In addition to taking medication, there are numerous ways to live well with rheumatoid arthritis and its varied complications. In fact, making small lifestyle improvements — how much you sleep, eat, and exercise, for example — can go a long way toward easing your symptoms and improving your physical and mental health.
2 / 10 Sleep Well
People living with rheumatoid arthritis may have trouble sleeping due to their pain and stiffness, says Carol Ziminski, MD, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University. Although being in pain can be tiring, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition and “you can’t be sleepy the rest of your life,” she says. Studies have also found that lack of sleep can actually worsen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Sleep medications may help, but it’s wise to first give self-help methods a chance. Try to go to bed at the same time every day and avoid reading or watching television in bed, Dr. Ziminski suggests. Avoid all stimulating activities, including exercising and consuming caffeine, in the evening.
Stretching, massages, and daily rituals can help you overcome any sleep obstacles brought on by rheumatoid arthritis.