Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Good Night's Sleep

Sleep has been on my mind a lot lately. When I was first hit with RA, I couldn't believe how uncomfortable bed was for me. Bed! It had always been such a refuge, a comfort for me. I loooooovvvvve to sleep! Always have. Am a total nap person. When I was little, my mum had to switch me out of afternoon kindergarten class into the morning one because a nap on a ittle teeny-tiny mat just wasn't going to cut it.

With RA, all of a sudden, I was dreading going to bed in many ways. I was so stiff and sore, I just couldn't get comfortable.

I've figured out how to make it better, though (as much as humanly possible, because let's face it, there's only so much you can do). Here are my top tips (if you have any suggestions, please do comment on what's worked for you; I'd love to hear!).

1. Get a down duvet. It's superlight and easy to maneuver when you're at your weakest (when I feel crap, I don't put a cover on mine to keep the weight to a minimum – I can barely lift my arms then and, believe it or not, even light, fluffy feathers are too much added weight). Plus, it's superwarm, and I flip the ends under my feet to cushion them when they're feeling sore.

2. Get proper pillows for proper support. I sleep on my stomach (although not when I'm going through a bad spell), so I have little accent-style pillows that I use as shoulder props. I have a down pillow for my head (it's still firm enough for when I sleep on my side), and two pillows that I use to support my hips when I'm on my side.

3. Invest in a great mattress, if you can possibly afford it. I have an Essentia all-natural, eco-friendly latex mattress. It's memory foam and has been superbly comfortable during this whole RA thing. I got it just last year and thank god I've had it during this crazy time. I wouldn't have been anywhere near as comfortable without it. I have the Beausommet model and probably would have chosen a model that was one step softer if I'd known what was headed my way. I wrote a post about it on my Natural Chic blog when I got the mattress; check it out here.

4. Keep essentials handy. I have everything I need on my bedside table: water, medications, eye drops, lip balm, cell phone and other stuff. Plus I put the absolutely crucial items on a small decorative round tray (see above) that's right at the edge by my bed; the tray rotates easily and puts everything even closer to me when I need it. I live on my own, so there's no calling someone to get something for me!

5. Sleep in the buff. No, I'm not kidding! It makes it so much easier to turn around without getting caught up on clothing or bedding, and when you're sore and stiff, anything that facilitates movement is a good, good thing!

P.S. Right now, I'm no longer super stiff and sore all over, so bed is more comfy once again, and that's wonderful. Nonetheless, I'm tired, tired, tired. We're in production at work (what we call it when we're finalizing pages on an issue), and that's always a busy, stressful time. Deadlines galore and some people who don't seem to get the concept...what is it with that??

But tomorrow night, my crazy French friend is coming for dinner and to oversee my second round of injections (her dad's a doctor so she even offered to do them for me!), so that's something to look forward to!


  1. Great idea for bed while dealing with the pain of RA, Laurie. When I was first diagnosed I lived in Germany and liked the way Germans did their beds -- just a bottom sheet on the mattress, and a duvet on top. Not only was the feather duvet light and warm, it also didn't press down on my feet like tucked-in sheets and blankets would have, done the American way. You might give that a try when your feet hurt.

    Having everything right at hand is wise and practical. It's hard enough finding a comfortable way to sleep when you're in a flare without having to get up and down for things forgotten.

    As to deadlines, and the way some people don't get the concept, even in publishing? Go figure. I'm glad to hear, in a sad sort of way, that it happens to others, not just in my own experience. It's truly one of those inexplicable things ...

    Best to you. Hope you're feeling good -- sounds like you've got the "way" down. :o)

  2. My mum is German, and that's exactly the way I do my bed – so much easier!

    Re the deadlines, I guess we can take consolation in the fact that it's the same the world over – or not! Haha!

    Cheers, L

    P.S. As you can see from the time I'm posting this comment, I'm having trouble sleeping tonight. Not due to any aches and pains really, just who knows what, and I'm on a roll this week. Sigh :(

  3. OH yes - I can relate to this one! My top tip is to have something very sleep inducing on an iPod (other MP3 players are available!) next to the bed! Works for me every time... well, almost every time!

  4. Hey Pollyanna!

    I, too, have music handy – tucked onto my night table shelf is a radio that's always tuned to a classical radio station. When I wake up in the middle of the night – which invariably happens – on goes the radio!

  5. That is probably the worst thing ever- when you're uncomfortable from RA and the one thing you want to do is get in bed except that you can't sleep because you're uncomfortable. No fun! Great tips- I also have electric and microwaveable heating pads on hand. If I'm really uncomfortable, I'll use one of those and the heat helps me relax and go to sleep a little easier. Good luck on your deadlines! I hope you get some good sleep!

  6. It is the worst thing, especially when you love being all comfy and cosy in bed the way that I do. I have some microwaveable heating bags, too, and one of them smells like lavender, which is awesome. I wrote about them on my Natural Chic blog, and you can get them at http://www.mettevangso.com/front_page.html They're not inexpensive, but the scent is lovely and relaxing.

    Thanks re the deadlines and sleep!

    :) L

  7. Hello Laurie...Im wondering if your Beausommet mattress is working out for you - do you still wish you had got the softer version?

    I have severe low back pain (from Spina Bifida) and m debating on whether I should go for the firmer or softer option.


  8. Hi there!

    I'm fine with what I have, but I should say that I'm doing well, so I'm sure that makes a difference. I wonder if your doctor might be able to advise what might be best? Hope all goes well and you feel better!

    :) L