Millions of Americans experience occasional joint discomfort. This can not only interfere with daily activities, but it can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.

The trouble with this is that getting proper sleep can support your joint health and daily movements. But, how do you get sleep, when occasional joint discomfort won’t let you?

There are a few simple lifestyle changes you can make can help promote joint health and, more specifically, promote a good night’s sleep.

a woman holding a cup

How Sleep Fits Into the Picture

We have all experienced waking up after a bad night of sleep. You are groggy, achy, not thinking clearly, and reaching for that coffee mug. Yes, the caffeine helps temporarily, but you will end up with an afternoon crash. It would be much easier to just get a good night's sleep.

A lack of sleep not only makes us crabby in the morning, but over time, it can increase typical oxidative stress in the body. Whether the problem is broken sleep or an inability to fall asleep, the results are the same. 

Sleep is necessary for our bodies to recover and rest from the day’s activities. To get the best sleep, you should avoid late-night visits to the fridge, as well as to the internet. Electronic stimulation makes it more difficult for your brain to shut down for the night.

Make sure you sleep in a cool and comfortable room and allow some downtime before bed. If you need help, you can always try a melatonin supplement to help you develop a regular circadian rhythm.

a person holding a cat

Sleep and Your Joints

Occasional joint stiffness and discomfort can significantly interfere with your life. It can become impossible to perform even the most routine tasks. What’s more, you may not feel so great at night, and sleep may elude you. 

This appears to be a two-way street. Joint discomfort can cause you to lose sleep, but a lack of sleep can make occasional stiffness worse. This unhealthy cycle can, in turn, lead to additional health problems and reduced quality of life. 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to get a better night’s sleep, despite occasional discomfort. Once you can get your sleep on track, your body will rest, repair, and be ready for anything you want to do the next day.

1. Elevate your extremities to help you get comfortable. You want to position yourself to support circulation, ensuring still joint areas get decreased blood flow.

2. Avoid any distractions before bed. Turn off phones and television to allow your brain to wind down. The best before bedtime activities are reading or meditation. 

3. Take a nice bath or shower. Not only can you relax from after your busy day, but hydrotherapy does wonders for your joints. The hot water helps soothe and relax you, getting you ready for a restful sleep.

4. Heating pads and blankets also provide comfort. Be sure to unplug before going to sleep.


5. Avoid caffeinated beverages and foods late in the afternoon and evening. Switch to herbal teas later in the day. Remember that your body takes time to expel the caffeine, so anything after midday will likely interfere with your sleep.

6. Ice can help occasional swelling. Be sure to use a towel and don’t leave ice on your bare skin. You can also use a bag of frozen vegetables like peas.

7. Check your mattress to be sure it supports you correctly. Depending on your preferred sleep position, you need to ensure you get the support you need while you sleep to avoid additional strain on your joints.

a woman holding a tablet

8. Create the right environment. You want to be in a cool, dry, and dark room. Burning essential oils can help to create the right relaxing atmosphere. Use a dehumidifier if you have trouble sleeping. 

The Bottom Line

The right sleeping environment will help you sleep and help reduce typical joint discomfort. The more rest you get, the better your body will function the next day to support healthy joints. By making some lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeine after midday or shutting down the tablet and your phone an hour before bed, you'll be taking care of your joints, and they will take care of you.