Sleep is more than just rest – it’s your body’s ultimate repair session, boosting immunity and revitalizing you from head to toe. And for people living with arthritis and chronic pain, there is a vicious cycle in which pain causes stress, prevents good sleep and leads to more discomfort.

Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to reclaim peaceful nights and set yourself up for sleep success. Here are six tips to help you catch more Zs:

Limit screen time
Exposure to blue light from electronic devices tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime and delays the production of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. Unplug at least one hour before bed to reclaim your natural sleep rhythm.

Improve your environment
With age comes an increased sensitivity to noise, light and movements, causing disruptions in your sleep cycle. Invest in a supportive mattress and pillows, try ear plugs or eye masks, and avoid sleeping with pets to create your optimal sleep sanctuary.

Get moving
Exercise is a key component of good sleep, boosting adenosine activity in the brain which supports your sleep drive, and releasing endorphins which boosts your mood. Exercising for 20 to 30 minutes four times a week can help you sleep well at night and feel good all day.

Watch what you drink
Avoid caffeinated beverages or snacks after 4 p.m., as caffeine can keep you stimulated and awake past your bedtime. And while alcohol is a depressant that technically relaxes you, consuming it will disrupt and reduce the quality of your sleep. If you’re thirsty towards bedtime, limit yourself to light sips of water to avoid multiple visits to the washroom throughout the night.

Plan your routine
Establishing a structured bedtime routine with a checklist of to-do’s can help you get into bed on time. However, if you end up going to bed late, try to wake up at the same time in the morning. It’s better to feel tired for one day than to alter your regular sleep schedule.

Mind the meds
Some medications used to treat arthritis pain are stimulants, so it’s preferable to take them in the morning rather than before bed. Follow your pharmacist’s recommendations on when to take prescribed drugs for best results.

Find more wellness tips from Arthritis Society Canada at