Not only can sleeping while you’re in pain be extraordinarily difficult, but now studies show that it also affects your partner’s sleep as well! Researchers found that that poorly controlled Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) often resulted in sleep disturbances, making poor quality sleep the norm.
The new research, published in December’s Journal of Rheumatology, is presented by The Skeletal Biology and Engineering Research Center and KU Leuven Department of Development and Regeneration, and Rheumatology at the University Hospitals of Leuven in Belgium, who looked at sleep problems exhibited with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
The study included 305 people with Rheumatoid Arthritis who had been living with RA for a mean time of 12 years; the average age of a participant was 57 years old. To analyze how disease activity impacted RA patient sleep patterns, researchers used a number of patient-reported measurement tools to assess insomnia (classified as the inability to fall or stay asleep), daytime sleepiness and overall sleep quality.
Overall, the patients scored high on ratings of sleep difficulty, poor sleep, pain, and fatigue. Researchers also found that patients with higher disease activity simultaneously had higher insomnia scores, and reported overall decreased sleep quality. Emotional, mental and general health, and vitality, also influenced the sleep quality of patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The findings indicate that more research should be done to explore the correlations concerning Rheumatoid Arthritis, sleep quality, as well as daytime sleepiness. In the meantime, be sure to speak with your doctor about how RA can affect your sleep at night, and work diligently to get those 7-9 hours of needed rest per night!