As women over 50, our bodies go through many changes that can disrupt our sleep. Menopause brings fluctuating hormones, hot flashes, and night sweats, which can all contribute to insomnia.
In addition, medications used to treat chronic illnesses such as diabetes or arthritis have side effects like disrupted sleep patterns.
Fatigue is a common symptom of many health conditions- such as heart disease – that are more common in older adults.
And for some of us, it’s our battle with gout. Gout is a common ailment that can affect your sleep quality but the good news is that there are ways to manage it.
Gout can really throw a wrench into your day-to-day life, but it doesn’t have to take over completely. With the right tips and tricks for improving your nighttime routine, you can learn how to sleep with gout pain.
What is Gout, Anyway?
To understand how to sleep better when living with gout, let’s talk about what gout is.
Gout is a form of arthritis that typically attacks the big toe but can develop in other joints as well. It’s an extremely painful condition caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body, resulting in inflammation and redness.
Uric acid is a compound that our bodies produce as part of the normal breakdown of proteins. When we eat certain foods containing red meat, poultry, seafood, and certain vegetables, our bodies create uric acid. Normally, this substance is filtered out by the kidneys and passed out of our bodies in urine.
However, when too much uric acid accumulates in our systems, it can start to build up (often called hyperuricemia) and sometimes form crystals that collect around joints and cause pain and swelling such as gout.
Gout flare-ups can be unpredictable and can last several days at a time. Thankfully, there are ways you can manage these episodes and help yourself get some restorative sleep.
Let’s look at some of those ways now. After all, getting enough restful sleep is so important when living with an ongoing condition like gout. What are some things we should know about how this affects our sleeping?
How Can Gout Affect Sleep?
Getting enough shut-eye should be high on your list of priorities when it comes to managing a medical condition, and that’s especially true for gout sufferers.
Not only can the symptoms make sleeping difficult, but research also shows gout flare-ups are more than twice as likely to occur at night or early in the morning, meaning you could wake up feeling miserable if measures aren’t taken! So don’t delay – take steps to treat your condition, and improve your sleep (as well as your quality of life).
Limit the Attacks
You can take control of flare-ups by making a few changes to your diet. Say goodbye to red meats, seafood, and organ meats like liver – these contain purine which has been linked with more frequent attacks.
Purine is a natural chemical found in certain foods that can cause your body to produce high levels of uric acid. Uric acid builds up in your joints and can form crystals, which leads to unpleasant symptoms of gout attacks such as redness, swelling, and pain.
Instead, try incorporating more low-purine options into your meals such as vegetables, tofu, and lentils – this could reduce the risk of sleep disruption due to flare-ups.
And, eating a low-purine diet doesn’t have to be boring. There are many delicious options that you can choose from, such as leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits and berries, nuts, legumes, whole grains (not oats), fatty fish like salmon and trout, and some dairy products.
You can even enjoy coffee, because even though coffee is acidic, it’s a different type from uric acid. As another plus, drinking coffee can reduce your uric acid levels.
Eat lean or plant-based proteins such as tofu or soy instead of steak. In addition to these foods, you should also make sure to include plenty of plain water throughout the day – this helps flush out uric acid more easily.
Incorporating a variety of low-purine options into your meals will nourish your body with the essential vitamins and minerals it needs while helping you manage gout symptoms more effectively.
Manage the Pain
Managing pain can make all the difference in how you live your life. You don’t have to suffer alone – there are a few simple tricks that might help ease discomfort, particularly at night:
• Ice it! Applying ice for 30 minutes should reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from any flare-ups
• Take advantage of medications prescribed by your doctor – following their advice will lessen regular irritation over time.
• Extra pillows or blankets come in handy – elevating the joint helps relieve pressure & keep swelling down
How to Sleep with Gout Pain
For better sleep health, it’s time to upgrade your nighttime routine and work towards improving your overall sleep health as a gout sufferer.
- Set aside time for yourself before bed by doing something to relax and wind down like reading a book or listening to calming music.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol, as well as other stimulants, in the afternoon and evening.
- Keep your bedroom dark, cool and quiet to help create an environment that is conducive to sleep.
These small changes will help ensure restful nights so that getting some shut-eye (and staying asleep) is easier than ever!
Plus better general sleep hygiene means waking up feeling more refreshed each morning.
Conclusion: How to Sleep with Gout Pain
Gout can make getting a good night’s sleep difficult, but with the right lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments, it doesn’t have to be this way.
By incorporating low-purine foods into your meals, managing pain through ice or medication when needed, and improving your nighttime routine with relaxing activities like reading before bedtime – you can help reduce flare-ups while also promoting better overall sleep health.
With these tips in mind, gout sufferers may find that they can get more restful nights of sleep regularly.