Did you know that on average, we, humans, spend about one-third of our lifetimes sleeping or attempting to snooze?
That means at least twenty years spent in bed, for most of us. Do we merely endure such a large chunk of our lives, or we attempt to find ways to make the most it?
The question of whether we enjoy lying down on our most important piece of furniture or not, simply cannot be neglected.
We must pay attention to the quality of our nightly sleep if we want to preserve our optimal wellness throughout our lifetimes.
From night-time to midday naps, sleep is crucial for our health, physical and mental restoration, as well as longevity.
As the Scientific American explains, our bodies undergo a tremendous amount of maintenance when we lie down: a boost in cellular activity helps to build muscles, detoxify, and strengthen the immune system, the bones, and joints.
Good sleep quality is essential for all of us; yet, those living with a chronic disease like arthritis have an even greater need to review their sleep-time environment carefully.
Spending hours on an old, uncomfortable bed mattress not only will lead to increased pain and stiffness, but it can also worsen your overall condition, as time goes on.
If you are an arthritis sufferer who wakes up sore and finds it difficult to get out of bed every morning, it is highly likely that you need to upgrade to a new, more supportive, and arthritis-friendly mattress.
This article is written to help you understand what arthritis actually is, to be able to pick the right one for your sleep habits and to ease your symptoms.
What Do I Need to Know About Arthritis?
According to MedicineNet, the word arthritis doesn’t simply refer to a single health problem; instead, it is used in reference to over 200 diseases affecting the joints, causing inflammation, and, consequently, the experience of pain and stiffness, with varying severity.
Unfortunately, arthritis-related symptoms tend to worsen with the passing of the time.
At least a hundred types of arthritis exist, affecting over 50 million adults total in the United States alone, with more than 3 million new cases diagnosed every single year.
While a widespread health problem, medical professionals still don’t fully understand how arthritis develops, but men, women, and children of all ages are all impacted by the disease.
What Are the Symptoms to Know Whether I Have Arthritis?
Depending on the type of arthritis experienced, a large variety of symptoms can be present; some of them affecting the individual permanently, while others periodically flare up, in relation to stress, lack of adequate rest, improper diet, contact with chemicals, or weather changes.
Arthritis symptoms can appear in one or more joints at the same time.
Some of the more common arthritis symptoms can include:
- tender, painful joint(s)
- redness of the joint(s)
- swollen joint(s) that are hot to the touch
- stiffness or locking of the joint(s)
- limping when walking
- loss of range of motions of the affected joint(s)
- overall weakness
- loss of small or large motor skills, over time
Certain types of arthritis are also known to cause generalized feelings of being unwell, lymph node swelling, fever, weight loss, and in extreme cases, organ damage.
Early diagnosis is helpful to slow down disease progression, but some symptoms are likely to remain or to recur somewhat regularly, even when receiving treatment.
What Are the Causes of Arthritis?
As you have seen, there are many types of arthritis; however, the most prevalent forms of the disease, according to Mayo Clinic are either caused by wear-and-tear or an autoimmune reaction. Let’s take a look at these common types of arthritis, below.
Osteoarthritis attacks the joint cartilage -the hard coating found on the end of your bones,- leading to a wear-and-tear type of damage as the protective layers are no longer intact, leading to bones grinding together at every move, causing pain and immobility.
Osteoarthritis is known to worsen over time, especially as a result of other infections or injuries.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is caused by an autoimmune reaction, when the body attacks the lining of the joints, perceiving this as a foreign invader.
As a result, this membrane can swell and tear, leading to the cartilages no longer being optimally protected, eventually becoming damaged.
These root causes of arthritis eventually bring on further health problems: movement becomes difficult, the pain takes a toll on your everyday life, and the sleep quality also suffers.
As a result, stress hormone production increases, causing weight gain, potential new injuries, and the overall weakening of your immune system.
It’s easy to see how your overall well-being can cascade down into perpetual feelings of sickness, as a result of suffering from arthritis, when your body is at a point where any stressors can ignite your physical problems, causing the rapid flare-ups of your symptoms. When homeostasis is missing, virtually anything can act as a trigger.
People living with arthritis often claim that various causes started their disease symptoms.
Rain, humidity, emotional trauma, artificial food additives or chronic cardio exercise are, however, not the actual causes; instead, these can act as additional stress-factors on the body, often instantly worsening your condition.
How Can Arthritis Be Diagnosed?
Diagnosing arthritis often can seem like a lengthy process. It involves many separate visits to different health practitioners, after experiencing a bout of concerning symptoms that perhaps don’t seem to go away or periodically return.
The journey usually begins at your primary care physician, who will likely refer you to a rheumatologist to obtain your medical and family history, as well as to carefully examine your joints and your lymph nodes, while looking for signs of inflammation.
Depending on their findings, the diagnostic process continues with laboratory and imaging tests.
Blood works can show whether inflammation is present, the levels of antibodies found, as well as giving an insight into your overall health status.
Imaging tests -typically X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI,- provide a visual insight into what’s happening with your joints, whether there is damage, cartilage erosion, or soft tissue tears.
Sometimes, the results of these tests are inconclusive, meaning that your doctor likely has to eliminate other diseases first to ensure that you are indeed affected by arthritis.
When your symptoms are obviously pointing towards arthritis, many physicians are known to disregard confusing diagnostic results and begin your treatment right away.
How Can My Arthritis Be Treated?
The Arthritis Foundation names several effective types of arthritis treatments, depending on the specific cause of the disease. These can be the following:
- medications: non-steroid or steroid anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressants, narcotics
- surgeries: hip, knee, elbow, or other joint replacements
- alternative methods: hydrotherapy, massage, or acupuncture
- lifestyle changes: weight loss, use of supplements, vitamins, minerals, and sleep support
In most cases, multiple approaches may be necessary to treat this condition. While your symptoms may go into remission, arthritis is often not possible to be healed completely; therefore, it is crucial to learn to listen to your body to avoid triggers and to support its proper workings.
Can Better Sleep Quality Improve My Arthritis?
As the website of Everyday Health suggests, arthritis is a condition that makes it very difficult to fall or stay asleep, due to the amount of pain experienced.
Tossing and turning all night, not being able to find a comfortable position only worsens the problem, causing stiff joints in the morning and elevated levels of stress.
Poor sleep quality can lead to a never-ending cycle of flare-ups and chronic pain.
Consequently, if you improve your night-time environment, it’s likely that you will sleep deeper, wake up more well-rested, and experience less joint immobility and soreness in the morning, as well.
We all know that a good sleep begins right where you spend one-third of your lifetime: your bed.
Having a comfortable and supportive mattress is non-negotiable for any of us, but it may become a life-and-death question to pick the right fit if you have a chronic disease, like arthritis.
In the next segment of this article, we will take a look at how to find the right mattress and what essential considerations you should keep in mind that will help to reduce or to completely eliminate the body pains associated with sleeping in an uncomfortable, non-arthritis-friendly bed.
How to Find the Right Mattress If I Have Arthritis?
Are you ready to start shopping for your new mattress that will improve your arthritis symptoms and sleep quality?
Before you begin, there are several things you should consider not to be stuck with regrets and stiff joints, down the road.
Chronic pain calls for extra effort when picking your single most important piece of furniture for years to come.
What Things Do I Need to Consider Before Buying My New Mattress?
It’s a no-brainer: an old, lumpy, soft, and uneven mattress offers no support, only pain in the morning; however, did you know that an overly firm mattress can also cause the worsening of your condition? Scientific findings should caution you to steer away from these.
The Harvard Medical School warns about excessively firm mattresses in the case of those who suffer from chronic pain: sleep quality rapidly decreases amongst those who follow the age-old orthopedic advice and opt for a firm mattress.
Currently, chiropractors also recommend softer surfaces and medium-firmness for people living with arthritis.
Before deciding on a mattress, know your arthritis triggers. If being overly warm bothers your joints, avoid mattresses that are known to overheat after a few hours of exposure to your body temperature.
On the other hand, if feeling cold makes you feel worse, superior breathability is not something you need to worry about.
Consider whether you are sharing your bed with your significant other and determine whether they move around a lot at night, by your side.
In such cases, it’s imperative to choose a mattress that minimizes motion impact and contours your body so that you can continue to rest undisturbed.
Keep in mind your favorite position of sleep: lying on your back may be ideal to support the S-curve of your spine to avoid back pain; you need a mattress that can cradle your body while offering maximum support to your joints, no matter which way you turn at night.
Certain mattresses are better for back- or side-sleepers; choose accordingly.
If you want to learn more about anatomically ideal sleep postures that cause the least amount of strain to your body and joints, take a look at this YouTube video, by Kevin Wade, the senior therapist of the St. John-Clark Pain Treatment Center:
Which Is the Best Mattress If I Have Arthritis?
As you have seen, in the case of chronic pain, a medium-firm mattress is your best bet, offering enough support, yet not causing too much pressure on your joints.
Here are our top five picks that we consider to be the best mattress options for arthritis on the market today.
1. The Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Mattress
A breathable, hypoallergenic memory foam mattress with orthopedic, pressure-relieving Flex-Support, keeping you cool and well-supported to relieve pain and stiffness; highly recommended for all sleep positions.
Snuggle-Pedic mattresses are made to keep you cool with a patented airflow transfer system that creates vertical ventilation, which dissipates your body heat a hundred times better than regular mattresses, creating a long-lasting mattress that won’t be damaged by sweat, as well as prevents you from overheating.
A pressure-relieving, body-conforming, orthopedic double-layer structure helps to prevent body aches, no matter what position you prefer to sleep while decreasing motion from your partner.
Its Snuggle-Flex comfort layer literally makes you feel as though you are floating; except, you also receive proper joint support, in the right places.
Comes with a hypoallergenic, breathable, stretchy, and extremely soft-to-the-touch bamboo cover. A bed-in-a-box design. Check the prices of the Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Mattress on Amazon.
- 100% Made in the US
- 20-year warranty
- 4-months in-home sleep trial
- Certi-Pur-US certified Eco-Friendly
- Hypoallergenic and dustmite-resistant
- Bamboo removable mattress cover system included
- supportive enough for heavier individuals
- lack of extra edge support could be problematic for couples using the entire surface of the bed
- dual layer design, which may not be supportive enough in case of severe or widespread joint discomfort
- only one type of firmness available
2. Muse Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress
A gel-infused, heat-resistant memory foam mattress, relieving all your pressure points for a restful night of sleep, which also requires no turning or rotation.
Muse mattresses are made with cooling, phase-change, fully removable fabric cover, which, combined with a temperature-regulating gel-top layer give you a true heat- and pain-relief.
Available in 3 different firmness options (soft, medium, or firm.) Regular rotation is not required; this mattress requires minimal maintenance, as opposed to many others.
A 12-inch, 3-layer design helps to relieve the burden from all your pressure points, giving excellent contouring to your body, while the high-density support layer lifts your body and prevents sinking and joint misalignment, all the way to the edges. Comes with a breathable, removable cover. Check the prices of Muse Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress on Amazon.
- 100% Made in the US
- 120-days, in-home free trial
- Certi-Pur certified, free of toxic chemicals
- 3-layer design offering extra support for joints
- 3 different types of firmness offered
- removable cover included
- excellent edge support
- mattress remains in top-shape without rotating it regularly
- as opposed to other products on our lists, this offers only a 10-year warranty
3. Icon Sleep 15-Inch Aloe Vera Gel Memory Foam Mattress
A cooling Aloe vera gel memory foam mattress with excellent airflow for preserving -or restoring- your natural spinal alignment.
A 15-inch, ultra-supportive, 4-layer, all natural, Aloe vera gel-infused memory foam mattress that offers a cooling and soothing sensation for your achy joints, while promoting healthy blood circulation to prevent swelling and stiffness.
Medium firmness Utopia mattress, with pressure-relieving, highly resilient memory foam support and base layers.
Specifically designed spinal zone with added support to fully support your back. Comes with a pre-installed, removable mattress cover. Check the prices of Icon Sleep 15-Inch Aloe Vera Gel Memory Foam Mattress on Amazon.
- 2 free, standard-sized pillows included
- 20-year factory warranty
- Certipur-US certified, free of harmful chemicals
- non-slip mattress cover included
- does not offer a free sleep trial in your home
- not made in the US
- only comes in King and Queen sizes
- only one type of firmness offered
- regular rotation is required
4. Nectar Gel Memory Foam Mattress
A breathable, cooling gel memory foam mattress that molds to your body shape to offer gentle protection for your achy joints.
Nectar mattresses, with a plush-like feel and ultra-breathability, come with an innovative cooling system and a tencel-infused quilted cover that offers comfort and softness.
A high-density foundation provides thorough support, yet gentle contouring around your body to protect your joints.
With excellent motion-transfer control and bounce-prevention, this is another great option for those sleeping with a partner.
Quickly molds to your body to offer constant protection for your joints. Check the prices of bestseller Nectar Gel Memory Foam Mattress on Amazon.
- “Forever Warranty” – as long as you own the mattress
- 180-night in-home sleep trial
- Certipur-US certified, free of toxic chemicals
- 2 free premium Nectar pillows, $150 value, included
- gentle, yet reinforced support, even around the edges of the bed
- bedbug-resistant, cooling cover
- works with all types of bed frames
- only one type of firmness available
5. Sweetnight Mattress-In-A-Box Hybrid Mattress
a hypoallergenic, plush pillow-top hybrid mattress with gel memory foam to cool you off, with motion-reduction, conveniently compressed and rolled for ease of shipping and setup.
A 12-inch plush, hybrid, pillowtop mattress-in-a-box, with a gel memory foam layer that cools you at night and cushions your joints from sudden movements and bouncing.
Sweetnight mattresses are made with individually wrapped coils that move independently, providing targeted support for every body part, preventing pain and stiffness.
Hypoallergenic Euro-pillowtop for softness; considerable support underneath that resists sagging and reinforced all the way to the edges. Check the prices of bestseller Sweetnight Mattress-In-A-Box Hybrid Mattress on Amazon.
- Certipur-US certified, free of toxins
- 1 free surprise gift when purchased
- individually wrapped coils offer the most flexible, yet supportive sleep experience
- only comes in two sizes: King and Queen
- only one level of firmness available
- not made in the US
- only 10 years warranty offered
- no in-home sleep trial offered
Final Conclusions; Which Mattress Is the Best for Arthritis?
When suffering from arthritis-related aches, pains, and stiffness, having a comfortable and highly supportive mattress is non-negotiable to minimize or eliminate your physical symptoms, as well as the worsening of your joint’s overall condition.
Science supports the opinion that a medium-firm, body-conforming mattress is your best bet.
No matter which of the above five options you may pick from our list, you can rest assured that your night or midday sleep will be a truly rejuvenating experience, regularly restoring your optimal well-being, for many years to come.