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Self Care Week tips for a good nights sleep

Getting a good nights sleep can be difficult with axial SpA (AS)

It can be hard to get comfortable at night when you have axial SpA (AS) and you may find you wake up in the second half of the night with pain.

Tips for managing night time pain

  • Do ensure your mattress and pillow are comfortable. A firm mattress with a soft topper can help. 
  • Do some gentle stretching and have a warm bath or shower. Try taking a hot water bottle or wheat bag to bed with you,
  • Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about your medication and when you take it. You may find taking a longer-acting anti-inflammatory medication an hour or two before bed could help

Good sleep hygiene can help you get off to sleep more easily

  • Only go to bed when you feel tired but get up at the same time every day, including weekends, in order to reset your body clock. Do not be tempted to stay longer in bed to ‘catch up’ with sleep
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Make sure that your sleeping environment is comfortable, not too hot, cold, noisy or light.
  • Avoid naps through the day if you can
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol after lunchtime and eating heavy meals late at night
  • Try not to use ‘blue light’ devices such as mobile phones and laptops for at least an hour before going to bed and avoid TV in the bedroom

You may find the 15-minute rule helpful. If you are not asleep within 15 minutes of getting into bed, or within 15 minutes of waking during the night…

  • Get out of bed and go somewhere else until you are sleepy
  • Do something unstimulating
  • Return to bed only when sleepy

Waking in the night

You may find that your axial SpA (AS) wakes you during the second half of the night especially if you are experiencing a flare of your symptoms. 

Try getting up and moving around. Put the kettle on and while you wait for it to boil, do some simple stretches. You don’t even need to make a drink but movement during those few moments can help. 

You could try taking a heat pack or hot water bottle back to bed with you to help soothe your muscles. 

Physiotherapist Emily Clarke has shared her top tips on sleeping well with axial SpA (AS) in this video.


For more tips on managing axial SpA (AS) see our My AS, My Life resources.