A recent study performed by the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing found that those affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis often experience very poor sleep quality which can translate to increased symptoms and poor life quality.
The study used a sleep questionnaire to identify problems in the subject’s sleep and of 162 people tested, it found that 61 percent experience “poor sleep” according to the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Thirty-three percent reported experiencing disturbing pain in their sleep at least three times a week.
Dr. Faith Luyster a research assistant professor for Pitt’s School of Nursing says a lot can be achieved if these subjects could sleep more peacefully.
“By improving their sleep it’s going to impact a lot of daytime symptoms and impairments that they have,” Dr. Luyster says. “In our study we found that poor sleep was associated with limitations and being able to do daily activities and social activities.”
The study identified two possible solutions to solving the poor sleep quality of the subjects tested. According to Dr. Luyster, behavior changes can lead to better sleep.
“Having a consistent bedtime and wake-time is important, avoiding caffeine, alcohol and vigorous exercise before they fall asleep, and creating as comfortable a sleeping environment that they can.”
Dr. Luyster also identified the importance of using the bed only for sleep and sex and avoiding watching TV or doing work in bed. Another solution offered by the study is the use of prescription medications to improve sleep.